Home > Thoughts > A #ChristmasSongOfTheDay Part One

A #ChristmasSongOfTheDay Part One

You may have noticed that my blog’s tagline includes the phrase ‘with occasional music,’ and you may also have noticed that I have made the odd post or several on this theme. I think I’m now in the fourth year – or maybe the fifth, time flies – of posting a Christmas song on Twitter and Facebook every day in December, leading up to two on Christmas Day itself. This year, for the first time, I’m sharing them with my newish Facebook page for this blog (obligatory plug – please feel free to hit the ‘like’ button on the widget thingy to the right), as well as Twitter, of course. Last year, I began posting them here too, in several chunks rather than daily, and as it went tolerably well I thought I’d do it again. You may have seen last year’s posts: if so, I’m relying on your memory being poor, as a number of these songs have featured before! So, welcome to Part One of 2018’s imaginatively titled #ChristmasSongOfTheDay.

One of the things I try to avoid with my choices is falling back on the usual suspects. There are many very good Christmas songs which have done little or nothing on the pop charts, and those are probably more to my musical tastes anyway. So, if you’re looking for Slade, Mud, Wham etc kindly move along now – nothing for you to see here! Having said that, I do make a few honourable exceptions, and the song I’ve started with each year is one of those. This has been one of my favourites since it was a massive hit in 1970, and was written as a message against the rampant commercialisation of Christmas. Nearly fifty years later that message is just as relevant, if not more so:

For December Sundays I try to choose something reflective, maybe a little more serious than some of my other choices which, as you will see, can be a little raucous! This year, my first Sunday choice was this one, with a beautiful video to accompany it:

I’ve loved Jackson Browne’s music ever since I first heard it, around the time I went to university – 1972. You may know of him as the co-writer of the song from which my blog takes his name, and I rate him very highly as a singer-songwriter. I was lucky enough to see him play live in 2010, at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and he didn’t disappoint. And yes, he did play Take It Easy!

Another longstanding favourite of mine is John Mellencamp (aka John Cougar, Johnny Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp). This was my choice for Day 3: it is a live concert performance of a Christmas pop classic and, whilst other versions have been chart hits, this one wasn’t – although it does appear on a benefit album, A Very Special Christmas, which was released to support Special Olympics International Inc. This performance is typically boisterous and features a cameo by his then three year old daughter Teddi, who rather steals the show at the end.  The ‘proud Dad’ look on his face is lovely and, thirty or so years on, I hope she is as proud of this as he clearly is:

Continuing in rowdy mode into Day 4 I chose a song and video which encapsulate all the joys of a family Christmas. Or maybe not. You may not be familiar with the Dropkick Murphys but do watch this – the song is great, and the video is a hoot:

Something a little calmer for Day 5? OK, here you go – well, to begin with, anyway. Walk Off The Earth have made their career on the back of a whole raft of very creative videos, both cover versions and their own songs. If you like this, and haven’t come across them before, you can find loads more to watch on YouTube. Again, this is a Christmas pop standard which has featured in the charts, notably in the ‘duet’ by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. WOTE’s take on it is a little different:

The final song in this selection is the one I posted earlier today. Anyone with an interest in rock/folk/pop music will be aware of the Nobel Prize winner Mr Robert Zimmerman. But you may not be familiar with the album of Christmas songs he released in 2009: Christmas In The Heart. This is one of the tracks on that album, and shows a side of him you probably won’t have seen before:

That’s all for today, folks. There are so many songs to choose from, and I’m already afraid that I’m going to have to leave out some of my favourites. Oh well, there’s always next year. I’ll be back on Wednesday with songs 7 to 12 and I hope to see you again then. Do please let me know in the comments if there are any songs you would like me to include. I’m always open to suggestions: but be warned, I can always ignore them, unless they are very good, of course!

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  1. December 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    My vote goes to John Mellencamp—I’ve listened to him for years and (mostly) love everything he’s done. He is still doing shows, I understand, and is still fresh and creative!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Likewise, I have everything he’s ever recorded! And he just got engaged to Meg Ryan after years of on-off romance – I wonder if that means we’ll get a happy album next up 😊

      Like

  2. December 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Great selection of songs here. I hadn’t seen the Bob Dylan one before. Love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      That’s a new one to many, even fans of his. That album seemed to pass a lot of people by, which is a pity. Glad you enjoyed the selection, hope you’ll return and enjoy further episodes (today’s Facebook page and Twitter post is another little unknown gem!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 7, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Ah, Greg Lake. I used to have a crush on him back in the 1970s as he stood barefoot on his Persian rug…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Glad to have brought back such happy memories for you 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

    That’s an interesting choice of Christmas songs, Clive. I only know one of them – I Believe In Father Christmas. In fact, that song inspired me to write a short story which went on to appear in my first collection of short stories. Music can be powerful for me in that not only does it bring back memories, but can also inspire my creative cogs. Another Christmas song which inspired me to write a short story is the version of Silent Night by Sinéad O’ Connor. It’s a haunting version of the carol which, for me, is one of my Christmas favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Thanks Hugh. I guess Greg Lake’s song has a special meaning for you. Music is important in my life too, but I’d never claim to be creative – some of us have it, some don’t! I try to shy away from obvious commercial selections as those I choose are more to my musical taste anyway. Fitting them all in is the problem: I now have nearly a hundred songs in my YouTube playlist and could easily add many more. Sinead is amongst them and has featured in my selections twice. It’s a beautiful version and I can see why it would inspire you. Thanks for reading and commenting, and I hope you enjoy the songs – not sure the Dropkick Murphys could inspire a story though. Now there’s a challenge 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 7, 2018 at 11:09 am

        The family in the video for that song remind a little of the family from The National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. But then what would Christmas be without all the mayhem, Clive? I guess Hollywood already beat me to getting some inspiration from that video (or is it the other way around?) It’s s checky Christmas song which I’ve never heard before, so thanks for introducing it to us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • December 7, 2018 at 11:58 am

        I think you could well be right – it’s a mixture of National Lampoon and the wonderful Irish (or in their case Irish-American) sense of humour. They’re a bit of an acquired taste, but I like them! Glad you enjoyed it, and many thanks for following – I know that isn’t a choice you make lightly 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. December 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I love Christmas songs! Fun post and nice songs Clive

    Liked by 1 person

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