OldDogNewTits












It’s almost Christmas … so who has time to read?!!? I’m giving you a very simple post today. Here are the Top 5 memorable songs from My Christmases Past. They’re in no particular order and there are probably way more than five. Whatever. Please enjoy them as you bake pies/wrap a bicycle/travel to Grandma’s/shop for a Magic Bullet/pull your hair out today. And feel free to skip the write-ups and just listen to the songs. Sometimes I bore me, too.

(1) Do They Know It’s Christmas? … How could I not include this one? I still love it so much. I think it’s the 1984-ness of it all. I actually wrote a whole post about it this time last year. The “altercation” between Boy George and George Michael still tickles me.

(2) Little Toy Trains …. Go ahead. Make fun. It’s from the Donny & Marie Christmas Special in (I’m going to estimate) 1979 because we owned a VCR to tape it. In it, he sings to his first child. And I just loved it. (I always promised I’d be honest here, didn’t I?)

(3) Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth … I’m one of the few people in my circles who actually remembers seeing this original airing on the Bing Crosby Christmas Special in 1977. I have my mom to thank for that. She’s always been a huge fan of all things Bing and thus I was fortunate enough to see the last annual special (variety show-style) when it aired in the late 70s. David Bowie joined the ranks of Michael Landon, Roy Clark, Carol Burnett, Connie Francis, Twiggy and several others I likely wouldn’t have known existed otherwise back then.

(4) Snow Miser/Heat Miser – From The Year Without a Santa Claus created by Rankin & Bass in 1974. This annual special was always one of my favorites, so much so that I tried in vain to get my hands on one of those little dancing Snow Misers back in the 90s when the internet became everyone’s best friend. I was lucky enough to hear back from one of their sons but learned that almost none of these little characters were actually stored and preserved. Boo!

(5) Hang Up Your Stocking – From Christmas with the Chipmunks (1963). No, I’m not actually THAT old (even though every song I included prior to this one would suggest it). My grandmother owned the album and I had lots of cousins older than me so I think I was born knowing every word to every song on it. This song was always one of my favorites. And it locked itself in as number one when my daughter learned it as a toddler and consistently butchered the title lyrics with “Hang Up Your Stop It” yelled with a big smile every time she sang it. We still sing it “wrong” around the house every time it’s on.

* * * * * * * * * *

Anyway, that’s it. In no particular order. And, by no means, my complete list. I doubt I’ll be writing again until after Christmas. The short post I wrote on Christmas Day last year is still my least viewed post of all time … so I’ll probably just stick to enjoying my family. And you should do the same. :)

Happy Holidays!

My Skewed View

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11/21/13 … I wrote this post almost two years ago but it seems like a great fit for MamaKat’s writing prompt today: Tell us about “an old school song that makes you happy.” Easy.

I saw Rock of Ages a few weeks ago with Ashley and Vanessa, both of whom are a few years younger than me. Enough younger than me that I felt that the show offered more in the way of their coming of age music than mine. Not that the show wasn’t good. But its music all surfaced for me at the end of high school. And when I think of ‘coming of age’ … at least musically … I think of the stuff that brought me from grade school into high school. I was there on August 1, 1981 ‘wanting my MTV’ when the station was first launched with the airing of The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star. Truth be told, I still have that song and even another by The Buggles on my iPod. (I’d be surprised if anyone reading could even name another song by that band.)

So, a few years later, when all of those early 80s (British) bands came together in the interest of aiding world hunger to produce a single called Do They Know it’s Christmas?, I was ALL in. I remember excitedly talking about it right after it was released with a bunch of kids in my Biology class. I bought the album that week. And thanks to the fact that it remained at my parents’ house, I still own it (as it wasn’t among the many casualties of my home lost to Katrina).

I found it the other day and snapped a few pictures.

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The front cover art was interesting enough but the back cover design was what really caught my attention … because it featured a picture of all the performers who sang on the album. And there was even a crude key for determining who was who in the picture. I stared at that album so much I could have named every face on the blank outline drawing without missing even one. Yet, I probably hadn’t read a page of whatever I was supposed to be reading in my English class at the time.

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Yeah, that’s right. How many of you knew that Kool & the Gang sang on the album? Don’t worry. I’d actually forgotten, too.

There were three songs on the album:

  1. The version played every holiday season
  2. Spoken holiday greetings of the performers (dripping with English accents and Irish brogues) set to the song’s drum beat. I can only assume this cut was included as filler.
  3. A combination of #1 and #2. The extended version that I played incessantly in my room. I loved listening to the foreign pronunciations and the ‘Happy Christmas’es. (I need to get my hands on one of those transfer-your-records-to-CD contraptions so I can hear it again.)

As weird as it sounds … and I know that it will … I listened to it so many times that I still have most of the spoken parts committed to memory, like David Bowie’s closing speech.

It’s Christmas 1984. And there are more starving folk on our planet than ever before. Please give a thought for them this season and do whatever you can, however small, to help them live. Have a peaceful New Year.”

Actually, Bowie went second to last among the spoken well-wishers. Bob Geldof, front man for The Boomtown Rats and more importantly the force behind the BAND-AID project, did the honors.

And, whether they like it or not, my kids know the song very well. My daughter even does the harmony. But they had not seen the video until I played it for them on YouTube this year. My son was mostly concerned about determining the genders of many of the singers. (In his defense, he was grappling with Boy George, George Michael and so many other long-haired, made-up dudes). My daughter took one look at all the ratted hair and tattered clothing and asked if the singers themselves were the ‘poor people’ for whom the song was written. And I … well, I just couldn’t get over how much Bob Geldof looked like Jerry Seinfeld.

So anyway, take a look if you’re interested. It’s been 27 years since this song was released and, for me, it will always remind me of my sometimes awkward, sometimes exciting, and always memorable early teen years and all the wild and wonderful, gender-bending music we listened to back then.

For more information about the album’s production, click here. They give all kinds of interesting details, like how Boy George had to be dragged out of bed to participate and, once there, wanted nothing more than to bitch slap George Michael. Merry Christmas, girlfriend! (That’s gold.)

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