Monday, December 12, 2011

The best Christmas Music is old?

Decorations of red
On a green Christmas tree
Won't be the same
If you're not here with me
- Blue Christmas by Elvis
My current commuting lecture series is the History of Rock & Roll (Part 1) and it was just discussing the first song recorded by Elvis on 5 July 1954, That's All Right (Mama), as I arrived at the office. Before that it looked at the Mississippi Delta Blues and the Rhythm & Blues of New Orleans, Chicago and Memphis. I find it frustrating that the lecture CDs do not sample the songs discussed so I'm very appreciative that the old Blues songs can be found on YouTube, e.g. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, and Lloyd Price.

This has made me aware that I'm not all familiar with the early Rock music of the 1950's. On the other hand I love the crooners and pop singers of the 50's: Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, as well as country's Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins.

So imagine my surprise, as I'm contemplating the 50's, to see the chart below from comic xkcd. Why is it that the 1950's were such an amazing time for Christmas songs?

Bottom Line

I tried finding new Christmas songs but nothing impressed me. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" became a hit in 1989 but uses a melody from 1964's "My Heart Belongs to Only You". Too many of the new songs are about boy-girl love affairs (or lack thereof) like "Last Christmas" (I gave you my heart) from 1982.

"Mary, Did You Know" (1992) is certainly religious and a nice song but does not "feel" like a Christmas song to me.

And what's up with Christmas blues? "Elf's Lament" (2004), "Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues" (2003)

I'm in the generation after the Baby Boomers so why do I love their music so much?

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