Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My top 20 favorite Christmas songs

It’s a truism in print media that readers love lists.
So, in honor of Christmas, here are my top 20 favorite holiday songs this year:
  1. “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” (2004) by the Barenaked Ladies, featuring Sarah McLachlan

  2. “Christmas Canon” (1998) by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

  3. “2000 Miles” (1983) by The Pretenders

  4. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (1958) by Brenda Lee

  5. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (1962) by Burl Ives

  6. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (1943) by Bing Crosby

  7. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (1944) by Judy Garland

  8. “White Christmas” (1947) by Bing Crosby

  9. “Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)” (1950) by Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

  10. “Christmas in Killarney” (1951) by Bing Crosby

  11. “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (1977) by Bing Crosby & David Bowie

  12. “Last Christmas” (1984) by Wham!

  13. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994) by Mariah Carey

  14. “Our Love Is Like a Holiday” (2001) by Michael Bolton

  15. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (1987) by U2

  16. “Linus & Lucy” (1964) by the Vince Guaraldi Trio for “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

  17. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (1987) by John Mellencamp

  18. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (2001) by Bruce Springsteen

  19. “Jingle Bell Rock” (1957) by Bobby Helms

  20. “Oi to the World” (1997) by No Doubt

Some thoughts about this mix of picks:
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” by the Barenaked Ladies and “Christmas Canon” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra are great examples of how songs in the public domain can be reinvented by other artists to great effect. The public can benefit tremendously when works go off copyright and talented artists are free to experiment with them.
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” is an 1827 English traditional song. “We Three Kings” was written by John H. Hopkins Jr. in 1857. “Christmas Canon” is based on Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major,” written in or around 1680 in Germany.
Not all Christmas songs are cheery and uplifting. Two of my favorites are melancholy: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Also, don’t look down on me for having Wham! and Michael Bolton on this list. Those songs are catchy.

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