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Thursday, 6 December 2012

5 Christmas Songs I Like:

As a follow-up to my little rant earlier this week and again in an effort to raise awareness for Combat Radio's Breakfast with Santa charity event, what follows are a short list of songs that I actually look forward to hearing during the holidays.

Feel free to leave suggestions for your own favorites in the comments field below. Once again, my picks are being presented totally at random with YouTube links included.

5 Christmas Songs I Like:

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon: Originally released in 1971 and often interpreted as Vietnam-era protest song, it’s simple wish for peace has become a modern Christmas classic. It also serves as a loving reminder of the extent of John Lennon’s talent as songwriter - an artist who was taken from us senselessly and far too soon.

All I Want for Christmas Is You by: Mariah Carey: One of the fun Christmas traditions that my wife and two of her closest friends started was to get together for an annual screening of “Love Actually”. Mariah Carey’s song is featured prominently in the film and signals just how much fun the holidays can be.

As a footnote, Love Actually is also one of only a handful of “chick flicks” that you don’t have to strap me to a chair to get me to watch. The writing is crisp and fast paced. Bill Nighy’s performance alone is worth the cost of admission.

Same Old Lang Syne by: Dan Fogelberg: Fogelberg’s believable first-person yarn about a guy who bumps into an old flame in a grocery store has long been a favorite song of mine. To many, it sounds superficial or even corny and ironically appears on several of the “worst lists” that I’ve researched. That being said, the well placed emotional sucker punch in the last verse gets me every time.

Do They Know Its Christmas by: Band Aid: In 1984-85 some of the biggest names in the music business in the US, Canada, and the UK got together to form “super choirs” and record tracks in a humanitarian effort to raise relief funds for the famine in Ethiopia that killed over 400,000 people. Spearheaded by Irish musician Bob Geldof, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was the UK’s entry that boasted Bono, Sting, Phil Collins and many others.

Though I’m far from the first person to do so, it was interesting to notice the cultural differences just in the names of the three main songs that came about as a result of this effort (all of which were beautiful).

The United Kingdom asked the rhetorical question “Do they know it’s Christmas?”

Canada offered the observation that “Tears are not enough”. (Eh?)

The United States stepped forward and asserted “We are the world”.

Holly Jolly Christmas by: Burl Ives:
Having been raised in an Irish Catholic home, my musical diet during the holidays always contained large portions of Bing Crosby’s albums. As such, it is somewhat natural that I’d eventually gravitate towards something else myself (rebel that I am) and even tag His Eminence Cardinal Crosby on my “worst list”.

For me, Burl Ives will always be “the other old man of Christmas music” – Holly Jolly Christmas being one of his signature pieces. In addition to looking like Santa himself, he also narrated the Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer special that we all catch ourselves watching every year. Even if you set aside the Christmas stuff, his music in general is naturally upbeat and like a handful of other older artists (ex: Louis Prima) almost never fails to put a smile on my face.

Shameless Promo (Take 2): Combat Radio’s Breakfast with Santa

On December 8, Ethan Dettenmaier and his buddies at Combat Radio will be running a breakfast event to benefit under-privileged kids for the second year in a row and are reaching out to the indie community for support. Please contribute if you can or share the following link through your own social media channels: Donate to Breakfast with Santa.


  1. Casey, I love the first one by John Lennon (of course) and Band Aid's song. Not sure I've heard Mariah's, and I do like Dan Fogelberg so must give that a listen.

    Burl Ives --- now that's just sentimental...

    Thanks for the list ;)

    1. Eden - If you haven't seen "Love Actually" yet, I highly recommend it too. The Fogelberg selection is actually one of his biggest songs so, you may have heard it without knowing it. As to Burl Ives - mea culpa - it was sentimental - but, that's what the holidays are for :)


  2. Excellent choices, Casey. One which would have made my list (if I had a list) is "Merry Christmas, Baby" as done by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi9kvO2zL2E

    1. WOW! Another one that I'd never heard but, you're right - that is a great one! Definitely would have made the top 5. Thanks, Claude.

  3. Love the selection! I actually just left my lover a voicemail message with me singing Mariah's version of "All I Want for Christmas". Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne" is a timeless song I could listen to any day.

    You forgot a very important one though....

    "Last Christmas" by Wham! Come on, you can't deny it

    1. Thanks for the comment, C.A. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have added Bruce Springsteen's "Merry Christmas, Baby" to the list - great track :)