December 21: White Christmas

This is, tragically, the last entry for this year from Ringo’s seminal 1999 album I Believe In Santa Claus, and if you thought the ones we’ve already heard had a lot of percussion, you’ve got a treat in store. There is a bit of guitar and some fun backing vocals on this, but what there mostly is is REALLY A LOT OF DRUMS, of about every type you can think of, although I don’t think there are any bongos in there, which seems like an oversight, Ringo.

I can’t believe I didn’t find this when I was scouring the internet for twenty-four different versions of White Christmas back in 2013. It is quite the oddest thing I’ve ever heard, and would have been given a novelty spot somewhere towards the beginning of the month. I am very happy now to be able to rectify the omission. Tomorrow: a Christmas single by the Beatles that is an actual song! I know!

Advertisements

White Christmas, December 24: The King Of Soul

I have loved almost all of the recordings of White Christmas we’ve had this advent, but as soon as I heard this one I knew I was saving it for Christmas Eve, because it’s not someone singing the well-known Bing Crosby song; it’s a completely immersive reimagining of the original, and a glorious piece of music in its own right. Turn up the volume really loud before you begin. Happy Christmas!

White Christmas, December 23: A Treat

In the 1940s popular music often wasn’t immediately, or ever, associated with an individual performer – many versions of songs would be recorded, and the composer generally given the lasting credit. Which is why, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you, there were FOUR versions of White Christmas recorded and released in 1942, and here they all are in a playlist that I have made using science. It’s interesting that the first three (by, in order, Gordon Jenkins, Charlie Spivak and Freddy Martin, though in each case those are the names of the bandleaders rather than the singers, who feature as “guest vocalists”) are all quite like each other and not a great deal like Bing’s (and, because unfamiliar, much more instantly evocative of that era than Bing’s).

The version of Bing that we had on December 1, incidentally, was from the movie Holiday Inn, whereas this is the solo recording which you probably know better, so I tricked you when I said we were getting Bing over and done with at the beginning. Sorry.

White Christmas, December 20: The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys might even be my favourite band of all (not counting the Beatles and the Carpenters and the Pet Shop Boys and the Who and probably some others). This starts off so slowly that I keep thinking someone’s accidentally playing it at 33rpm rather than 45, but it’s a gloriously swooshy and whooshy version, with singing as luscious as you’d expect. Also, all Christmas songs should end with a sweep of violins, I have decided.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sleep for 48 hours. I think I am too aged for the Christmas party season.

White Christmas, December 16: Neil Diamond and Cliff Richard, Together At Last

OK, not actually together, but – amazingly – spliced together by a dedicated fan, in possibly the best, and certainly the oddest, mash-up of all time. May your week be as much fun as this song is.

(Make sure to keep listening past two minutes in, where something exciting happens. And something else exciting, in a different way, happens at 3:53, and you know, you just really need to listen to the whole thing.)