I’m a big Sarah McLachlan fan, have been for a long time. She’s not only a gifted musician, but she does a lot of good. True, Happy XMas (War is Over) was originally by John Lennon, but I think Sarah brings a her usual magic to the song, and the children’s choir is the perfect touch.
But because it’s the season of giving, here’s John & Yoko’s version as well.
The word classic is used fairly loosely by many, myself included. But How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas first aired in 1966, so You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, has delighted generations of children. If that isn’t a classic, what is? And no, we’re not going to talk about the Jim Carrey movie…ever.
Not all Christmas songs are light and happy, some have a message to them. Father Christmas by The Kinks is reminder that not every tree has presents under it, and not every table is laden with more food than can be eaten. As the song says “Remember the kids who have nothing, when you’re drinking down your wine.”
A good way to remember those kids is to donate toys. Toys for Tots is a great place, and their donation boxes are everywhere. Many local police departments also accept donations that they take to battered women’s shelters, or you can contact a shelter in your area to see if they accept toys directly. Children’s hospitals and churches are also great places. The fact is, a lot of kids won’t get much this year, if anything. If you can, there’s no feeling like donating a toy you know will make a kid smile.
What says Christmas like Ska music? Okay, maybe a lot of things, but this song is still pretty cool. Oi To The World was originally by The Vandals, but this cover by No Doubt is just fun.
For the punk fans, here’s the original version.
This is another classic from my youth, back when MTV showed music videos. Yes, the video is corny, but so much fun. When Christmas in Hollis plays at Christmas parties, everyone old enough to know the song sings along. Run DMC were so cool, they were able to impart that cool to everyone who heard this song. Or so we all thought. Hey, I won’t say anything if you don’t.
Yeah, it’s Saturday! If you’re old enough to remember the 80’s, this song, or rather this version of it, will be very familiar. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) was a huge hit for U2, and it also found it’s way into many, many holiday movies. Some of you might not be aware this song was actually a cover, originally by Darlene Love, which you can read about here. Of course David Letterman fans know this as she performs it every year on his show.
And here is the original version, which is also spectacular
So with with the holiday season upon us, I think a nice way to celebrate the spirit of the season is to share. For me, music is a big inspiration and an absolute necessity as I write. It’s true, we’re all being inundated everywhere we go with Christmas tunes, but I want to share some you might not hear at the mall. So stop in everyday for a new song. Maybe you’ll find something you like and add it to your holiday playlist, or maybe you’ll smile at a memory one of the songs brings up. Either way, I hope you enjoy them.
Today’s selection, “Mr. Heatmiser”, is from The Year Without a Santa Claus, an old Rankin Bass stop motion TV special from my childhood. This version is done, quite well I think, by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
And for the traditionalists, here’s the original.