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The 10 Best Christmas Recordings Ever

Photo: What other season brings Bowie and Bing together?


(SNN) Recently, a fellow Sage edified us all with what he considered to be the top 15 performances of a Christmas song or carol in a piece entitled “You'll Love/Hate Cork's Favorite Christmas Tunes”.

I enjoyed the piece but couldn't help but notice his selections were, with a couple of notable exceptions, largely un-notable.

I chalk up his questionable choices to his unfortunate upbringing, his many years in a warm climate and the fact that being as famous as he is, obviously affected his judgment.

I decided to rectify this problem by issuing a much better list to correct the false impression my colleague may have left you; that Sage contributors' appear to harbour little taste in Christmas music. I went with just ten selections as I am more discerning than... ahem... others.

Here, then are my 10 selections in no particular order, much like the rest of my life is. Just click the pics to hear the songs.

 

David Bowie and Bing Crosby, “Little Drummer Boy”

Two music icons from different generations team up to deliver beautiful harmonies in this timeless Christmas song. Bowie and Der Bingle provide such smooth and mellow vocals, they gave us a Christmas gift we cherish annually. I remember watching this Bing Christmas special when I was young.

 

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, “I'll Be Home With Bells On”

Another duo of upper echelon performers collaborating to great yuletide effect. This zippy choice features Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers from a Christmas album with a couple of huge ditties. My favourite is the Dolly-written “I'll Be Home With Bells On” which is a real toe-tapper ( good for water on the knee.)

 

Boney M, “Mary's Boy Child”

No list of the best in holiday musical fare is complete without a selection from Boney M. The European vocal quartet, also known for throbbing late 70s dance music, such as Rah! Rah! Rasputin and Daddy Cool, have a way with yuletide tunes that is second to none. Their music, with interesting arrangements, lovely harmonies and excellent song choices, somehow transcends the throng of other Christmas album artists. One of their very best is this one, “ Mary's Boy Child”. Sorry, Nat. There's better.

 

Greg Lake, “I Believe in Father Christmas”

Are you kidding me? Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake and Palmer wrote a Christmas song? Well, he did and it does sound very ELP-ish which makes it great if you're an art-rock fan. The message may be a bit un-Christmassy but there is much good to say about art exploring all aspects of every facet of the human condition.

 

Gordon Lightfoot, “Circle of Steel”

Since Cork scooped me on the Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah Maclachlan dichotomy of “Song for a Winter's Night” (I love both versions, too, and can't pick between them), I will put forth another Lightfoot classic. This one, too, explores a darker element of Christmas than Kenny and Dolly would ever dare, but it's still a great song.

 

Yogi Yorgensson, “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas”

I went with a relic novelty recording because it is fun, light-hearted and doesn't feature dogs barking or Grandma being in a serious accident with a herbivore. Yorgesson did get some airplay from this one but it wasn't the breakthrough song to become a headliner in Vegas like he was hoping for.

 

Cindy Lou Who, “Welcome Christmas”

When all the Who's in Whoville link hands and sing their favourite Christmas song, there isn't a dry eye in the house, particularly if you cut onions while you watch. If my kids had their Christmas gifts ripped off, they wouldn't be singing with quite the same joy. It is still a foundational piece of the pantheon of Christmas music.

 

Johnny Mathis, “We Need a Little Christmas”

Johnny's silky voice was ideally suited to singing seasonal tunes and he excelled in it but the one I have to go with as a personal favourite is this bouncy selection. It is such a bright, lively fun piece which captures the impatience for the big event perfectly. After all, we all need a little Christmas right this very minute.

 

The Charlie Brown Gang (feat. Vince Guaraldi Trio), "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

Again, Cork managed to mention another goodie in “Christmas Time is Here” but missed the tune that brings the “Charlie Brown's Christmas” show home. Gets me right here, every time. That specific song is as much a part of my Christmas as Alistair Sim as Scrooge, dancing that polka at his nephew Fred's house.

 

Leroy Anderson, “Sleigh Ride”

Sure, the Ronettes had a huge hit with a vocal version of this song that was most tempting to include but this version is the original; arranged by the guy that wrote it, and for a Canadian band to record, too. This is one of the largest selling instrumental Christmas songs of all time.

If you disagree with these picks, lets hear about yours! Drop us at line and share your ten best. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cindy Lou Who Photo: Some Rights Reserved by Rojer Flickr photostream, The Sage nor this article endorsed. The original image can also be found here.

DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
 
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