I’ve noticed that my innate tendency towards order (I’m a Virgoan, you know) has meant that – albeit unconsciously – I’ve begun loosely theming my selections. It wasn’t intentional and I’ll try not to keep doing it. Well, after today, anyway: from these two titles it would appear that the theme of the day is ‘rock.’
Today’s two songs are both regular Christmas favourites, one of which has a recently released video and the other being a band’s unique take on the song. Looking back through my notes (I told you I was organised!) I was a little surprised to see that I had never featured this first one before. Time to put that right, I think:
That video was released in October on Chuck’s YouTube channel, and I think it’s great – a good accompaniment to his Christmas classic. The song has always been associated with him, as he was the first to record it – in 1958 – but it was actually written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie. Marks also wrote Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, but any suggestion that he had a fixation with animals sporting antlers is entirely a figment of your imagination, not mine. Chuck Berry’s version wasn’t a massive hit at the time, peaking at #69 in the US and #36 here in the UK, but has since sold more than a million copies so it hasn’t done too badly. There have been loads of cover versions: even the Grateful Dead have had a go at it, and someone recently put together a compilation version of the Orange Numpty apparently doing it. I thought about sharing that but it is so grotesque that I’ll leave it to you to find on YouTube – particularly good for you if you are need of a penance.
My second one for today is also instantly recognisable. I make no apologies for featuring this band for a second time, either – their videos deserve to be seen:
The song was originally recorded by Jimmy Helms in 1957. I would tell you of its chart placing but, given Billboard’s predilection for having a chart for almost anything, let’s just say that it’s complicated. But I think it performed pretty well. There have been many cover versions, including one by Max Bygraves which reached #7 in the UK in 1959. My apologies to the world. I didn’t even try to find that version, you’ll be glad to know. WOTE’s version is rather lovely, and shows their harmonies to good effect. It’s nice to see the original band again, and the much-missed Beard Guy making his usual crucial contribution. It only lasts for about a minute and a half, but if you watch to the end you’ll also see a trailer for one of their own songs, with a video which I think owes a debt to O Brother Where Art Thou.
That’s your lot for today, folks, apart from my image for today, which offers a lesson – for those who need it – about how to build up your crowd size: