Somehow, giving the December theme for M4 and making a graphic for it puts me in the holiday spirit. What about you?
I know a lot of people object to the abbreviation “Xmas” for Christmas, believing it takes Jesus Christ, the Redeemer Whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, out of the name of the holiday. The Greek letter chi (pronounced “kye” or “key”) looks exactly like the letter x, particularly the uppercase form, and was often used as an abbreviation for Χριστός (Christos), “the Anointed One.” You’ll frequently see the chi-rho (the Greek letters chi and rho superimposed, the first two letters of Christos in Greek) in Christian churches, particularly Catholic ones, as a monogram for Jesus. So the X is really a chi.
Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s move on to this week’s tunes, shall we?
- Amos Milburn, “Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby” Amos was a piano player and singer and an early bluesman from Dallas. This is one of two songs that he wrote for the Yuletide season. The other is coming up shortly. This one was released in 1949 on the Aladdin label.
- Amos Milburn, “Christmas (Comes but Once a Year)” Milburn’s other Christmas contribution. It was released in 1960 as the B side to…
- Charles Brown, “Please Come Home For Christmas” Charles Brown was another Southern piano player and bluesman who was a friend of Milburn’s. This first reached the Hot 100 in 1961 and was on the chart every year since, reaching #1 in 1972. It’s a popular cover song for rock and blues acts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up in a Battle of the Bands later this month. (To other BotB’ers: Dibs!)
- The Temptations, “Silent Night” Franz Gruber’s 1818 hymn is given the Motown treatment by The Temptations, all of whom sang it in church when they were younger. The result is magic.
- Nat King Cole, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” My favorite version of this Christmas classic, written by Mel Tormé, who was Jewish. (And a Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends.)
- Frank Sinatra, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for the 1944 movie Meet Me In St. Louis, in which it was sung by Judy Garland. Frank’s version might be better-known, and it’s just as touching when he does it.
- Andy Williams, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” For years, the Christmas season featured a TV special hosted by Andy Williams. Christmas specials and Andy Williams might no longer be with us, but this song is, and it’s not Christmas for me until I hear this song.
- Bing Crosby, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Written by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent, it was recorded by Bing in 1943 in honor of all the servicemen who were fighting World War II, and has since become a Christmas standard.
- Eartha Kitt, “Santa Baby” Eartha Kitt was more popular in Europe than in the US, and that’s a lousy shame, because she was tremendous. This was written in 1953 by Joan Javits (daughter of Senator Jacob) and Philip Springer, and though it’s been done by many others, no one can do it better than Eartha.
- Wham!, “Last Christmas” This song was born in 1984, when George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were visiting George’s parents. After dinner, George disappeared for about hour (per The Blogger’s Best Friend™), and when he reappeared, he was all excited, because he had written this song. This has been on the chart each Christmas since 1985, reaching #2 in 1985 and last year.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 3, 2018.