Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Week 1!

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.

The chi-rho. Source: The Free Dictionary.

Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s move on to this week’s tunes, shall we?

  1. 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.
  2. Amos Milburn, “Christmas (Comes but Once a Year)” Milburn’s other Christmas contribution. It was released in 1960 as the B side to…
  3. 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!)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

30 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Week 1!

  1. What an interesting fact. In fact, it’s so interesting I’m going to copy & paste it so I can keep it. In other words, I’m stealing it from you 😉 but I’ll give you the props if I post it anywhere else. Thanks Mr. John…Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Survived the weekend where we had the yearly Christmas picture taken. So stressful. The weather was terrible, I lost my glasses but found them again and our Mz. Bella (the Chicago Brown dog) is still limping 😦 Hoping to get back on track this week from the road trip we took at Thanksgiving…Have a great week !!!

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  2. Eartha Kitt’s version of Santa Baby is my favorite. I hate the one by Madonna. I thought about using Last Christmas yesterday for Song Lyric Sunday to start the month off using Christmas Carols but I had already posted my Last Kiss choice so I didn’t do another one. Good songs here, John.

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    1. Eartha Kitt was a unique talent. No one else could bring to a song what she did. She had a very hard life and I think singing was her release from that.

      “Last Christmas” was one of those songs that I put in mostly because I needed one more to make ten and was tired of thinking, so I just grabbed one of the recommended videos. Yeah, it happens….

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  3. I’m not in much of a Christmas spirit this year. We aren’t going back East to see my kids and will just be staying home. I put a wreath on the door yesterday morning, but I’m guessing there will be no tree. My wife said we don’t have to put one up and that’s fine with me since it would require moving a lot of stuff around in our garage. But who knows? We might change our mind later. For now–bah, humbug.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. We don’t decorate for Christmas. It’s just Mary and I, I’m handicapped and Mary doesn’t want to deal with dragging out decorations, putting them up, then taking them down and packing them away. Plus there are the cats to worry about: we’re down to three elderly ones, but they can still cause plenty of mischief, especially with a tree with lots of “toys” hanging from it. Sorry you won’t see your kids; maybe they’re planning a surprise visit…

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  4. “Last Christmas” is one of my all-time most hated Christmas songs. LOL. Everyone has different tastes, which is why there’s so much music out there.

    I love Nat King Cole singing “The Christmas Song”. And I absolutely agree that Eartha Kitt does the best version of “Santa Baby”, hands down!

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    1. Eartha Kitt was a unique song stylist who had a way of making a song hers, none so much as “Santa Baby.” No one–not Mariah Carey, not Madonna, not Bette Midler–could do the song the way Eartha did.

      I know how you feel about “Last Christmas.” There are a lot of songs I do not look forward to hearing, including (horrors!) John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” or Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.” Great songwriters that they are (or were), they missed the boat with those.

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  5. John,

    I learned about the abbreviated form of Christmas years ago. People tend to get bent too out of shape sometimes. lol Your playlist is pAwesome! I don’t believe you’ll ever go wrong playing classics like these for the holidays. 🙂

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    1. I think there are those people (and there are times when each of us are one of “those people”) who read too much into things. (Of course, there was the adult movie theater who used to use the slogan “we put the X in Xmas” in their ads around this time of year, but that’s another story.)

      I started putting that list together when I had read about the Amos Milburn songs. I’m happy you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had never heard the story of the X and I am Catholic, very interesting.Great music choices, especially Sinatra 🙂 Have a nice week!

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    1. Interesting you never heard about the X. I don’t know if it’s because I went to a school where the nuns were on top of things like that or if it was the time I went (after Vatican II, when they were rolling out the changes). My stepfather, whose last name was Christian, had been a priest and used to abbreviate his name “Xtn.”

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  7. I only found out about Xmas from someone else in blogland when I bitched about Xmas instead of Christmas. I’m glad you mention it here and in a nice simple manner, the way I understand. I do like Bing Crosby and, in fact, I bought my dad one of his Christmas albums and my dad loved it…it was the last Christmas I had with my dad before he died. Ok, Andy Williams was great and I loved watching his specials every year since he brought Christmas from all over the world. I also like Dean Martin but not much for Frank Sinatra but I do like Eartha Kitt’s version of Santa Baby. She sang it the best and the rest can go far, far away.

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    1. No one can match Eartha Kitt and the excitement she brought to a song (Hemingway called her “the most exciting woman in show business”). There are a bunch of videos of her on YouTube, including a few interviews. She was a very interesting person.

      The Christmas albums by that generation of singers (Bing, Dean, Andy, Perry Como etc.) are just wonderful, aren’t they? They’ll last forever.

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    1. Jump in as many times as you like. I forget where I heard the explanation, but I think it was in religion class at St. Ignatius Grammar School, when one of my classmates asked, “hey, what’s the PX [the chi-rho] all about?”

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    1. Do you remember when Eartha attended a luncheon that was held by Lady Byrd Johnson and confronted her (rather vociferously) about the Vietnam War? Pretty much killed off her career here, so she moved to Paris and was the toast of the town. Got to admire someone like that.

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  8. Happy to say I own most of those songs and it is the time to play them. I’ll Xmas now and again. It doesn’t offend me, although, I’m not a Christian and I’m rarely offended by anything. More likely to be irritated by incorrect spelling of you’re 😉

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    1. A couple of years ago I did a Christmas post where I featured Christmas songs written by Jewish composers. I’ll have to dig it out and see if any of the videos are still out there and repost it this year. It’s pretty interesting…

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