Friday, 23 December 2016

My Top 15 Favourite Christmas Songs

Nowadays I tend to prefer older songs, traditional carols or songs that aren't played so much because there are so many that get overplayed to the point where you get sick of listening to them! To hear the songs click the title link or the play button on the video.

This is a pop classic that I haven't got tired of listening to- I love it so much! I like both versions of the song but I think I prefer the original version the best. Maybe it's because I'm more familiar with it, but it was a big moment in music history and managed to raise so much money for such a good cause.

Performed by Bono, Adam Clayton, Paul Collins, Sting, Duran Duran, Boomtown Rats, 
Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Kool & the Gang, Culture Club, George Michael, Heaven 17, Paul Weller, Paul Young and Marilyn.

                                           Do They Know It's Christmas Band Aid 2014
Performed by One Direction, Ed Sheeran,  Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Paloma Faith, Emeli SandĂ©, Elbow (Guy Garvey), Dan Smith (Bastille), Angelique Kidjo, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Bono, Seal, Ellie Goulding, Sinead O’Connor and Olly Murs.


  2.  Carol of The Bells
 I just love this song but I have no idea how people sing it without getting out of breath! The rounds give this song depth and it's gorgeous to listen to. I've included the traditional version and a more modern version by Pentatonix.

                                                3. Let it Snow Frank Sinatra
To me, Christmas means Frank Sinatra and I'll always love the original song more than any cover. It's such a jolly song. It was written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945 in California during a heat wave as they tried to imagine being somewhere cooler!


Such a haunting rendition, it's so beautiful.   

This is a recent love- I wasn't aware of this carol despite it cropping up in films, TV shows and ads. I love the melody.


This used to be my number one favourite Christmas song and I still like it a lot. It was first sung by Judy Garland in the film Meet Me in St Louis. The actual scene is quite depressing as the family are hiding from the Nazis. However I like this song because it's not played so often and so it feels more special. 

                                                 7.  Holy Jolly Christmas Michael Buble
I'm not a big Michael Buble fan but he does do Christmas covers well. I love this song because I can imagine being in a department store in New York, Christmas shopping in the 1950's while it's snowing outside. (Though I'm aware that Burt Ives released the original is in the 60's not the '50's.)

I think listening to this song is one of my earliest memories. It made the UK Top 10 Chart for 4 weeks in April 1985. I  remember being given a cassette tape of this and listening to it over Christmas as a child. It I loved it but I remember being really surprised that some parts were sung by a boy. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed this after reading in the New York Times about a Cambodian boy who was forced to murder his mutilated sister or be executed himself. He had also just learnt that the journalist who had interviewed him a few weeks earlier had died during the IRA conflict. He used writing music as a way to cope with and express his grief. Webber dedicated it to his father who passed away in 1982.  I also remember watching Charlotte Church singing this on TV as well. 


                                        9. Walking in the Air- Aled Jones
Released in 1982 this remains a Christmas classic: it conveys the magic and excitement of Christmas. The song is beautiful and the animation is still spellbinding to watch. I remember being really proud of myself when I was able to play this on my recorder as a kid! The full animation is available here.

                                         10.  Rockin Around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee
I love this song it's upbeat and I can imagine being at a 1950's Christmas cocktail party! It has a 50's rock n roll vibe. Unbelievably Brenda Lee was just 13 when she recorded the song in 1958 in the U.S! The single returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Boxing Day 2015, eventually reaching No. 30 in January 2016 two weeks later.

                                              11. Driving Home for Christmas Chris Rea
This is just such a chilled out Christmas song. It was inspired by the time when Chris's wife was driving him home from London to Middlesbrough in her Austin Mini (because it was cheaper to drive than travel by train.) They were stuck in heavy traffic when he said "Driving Home for Christmas" is a "car version of a carol." The song was used in Christmas adverts for Iceland supermarket in 1997, 1998 and in 2011 covered by Stacey Solomon.

Silent was one of my favourite carols as a kid. Although I never watched the 2004 X Factor, I heard G4 on the radio in 2006 singing this song and it sounds so beautiful.

                                              13.  RUN-DMC - Christmas In Hollis
Another song that I've only recently heard, probably because it never entered the UK charts and I never realised that it was used in both the 2014 Argos ad and Nissan's 2015 Christmas ad. Originally it was included on A very Merry Christmas Album by various artists in 1987. The track samples Clarence Carter's 1968 holiday song "Back Door Santa," as well as "Frosty the Snowman", "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World." It reached number 78 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2000, 13 years after it was first released. The title refers to Hollis, the neighbourhood in Queens where the members of Run-D.M.C. grew up. The song has featured in the films Die Hard (where driver listens to it in the limo), The Night Before and Less than Zero and many TV shows. I like it because it's fun.

                                           14. Christmas Time To Me Jordin Sparks
 I watched this film last Christmas without seeing the original film 'The Best Man' but that didn't matter as I still enjoyed the film. The running time is about 2 hours and afterwards you really feel like you know the characters inside out. The film has sad, poignant moments and also fun scenes such as when the men put on a dance show. The only American Idol I've watched was the one with Jordin Sparks and her voice is incredible. This is a fun, upbeat pop song that sounds similar to Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas.'

15. Jingle Bell Rock Glee
This is the only version of the song that I like- you gotta love Glee.

                        What are your favourite Christmas Songs? Please let me know.

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