Advent song for December 22: Blue Christmas

Pop quiz!

Obviously the answer is Mud, but either because the titles are similar or because they both sound like rock’n’roll songs, people often think the answer is Elvis, who of course famously sang today’s pick, Blue Christmas, but who had nothing to do with Lonely This Christmas, which was first a hit in 1974 but which I know best from its use in the second best Christmas film of all*, Bernard And The Genie.

But here’s a true fact! Neither song dates from the rock’n’roll era, because Blue Christmas was written by Billy Hayes way back in the nineteen forties, before rock music or quiffs or teenagers existed, and was first recorded by the marvellously-named Doye O’Dell in 1948. So today’s song is another cheat, because it’s not a cover; it’s the original of a much better known later version.

You will note if you look closely that this video has nothing to do with the song it accompanies, apart from (hopefully) featuring some of the same personnel. I suggest you don’t look closely, if that is likely to upset you.

*The best Christmas film of all, as I am pretty sure I explain here at least once a year, is 大停電の夜に or Daiteiden no yoru ni or Until The Lights Come Back, which still has never had a release outside of Asia and so you will still need to either come to my house to watch it, OR go to Indy’s house because he still has one of my spare copies (I don’t think he’s watched it, it took him a year to watch a ten-minute sketch show that I enthusiastically recommended multiple times AND sent him a link to).

Advent song for December 16: Blue Christmas

Even Elvis doesn’t really think this is a sad song, as you can see in this live recording from his 1968 Comeback Special. My favourite thing about this video is the fact that the fans are all about eight inches from the King, and the stage looks like one somebody has jerryrigged for a school concert. That’s two favourite things, isn’t it? You see, I have a mince pie and a cup of tea so I’m incapable of bringing you the requisite amount of sadness. Don’t worry: as you know, there’s plenty to come.

Always On My Mind On My Mind

I’ve always thought that the Pet Shop Boys’ version of Always On My Mind was better than Elvis’s, which in turn was better than Willie Nelson’s. However, repeated listening of this playlist has recently led me to question this view. Elvis and the PSBs are flashier, but Willie’s the only one who sounds like he means it. If you wanted a version to make you cry, and why wouldn’t you, it would definitely be his:

So then I decided maybe it went Willie>PSBs>Elvis, but – but! – Elvis’s has just the best drumming ever, throughout and especially at 2:43:

But, obviously, the Pet Shop Boys can’t be last, because their version is one of the best songs in the whole world ever. I can’t hear that first zing of the Electrobang (or Orchestra Hit, as I’m told it’s really called) without wanting to get up and dance, much like these people are:

So I don’t know any more. Maybe, and this goes very much against my grain, I like them all the same amount. But if you have a favourite please let me know.