Today’s entry originates in the Pacific Northwest; it’s a 1965 track from a garage band called The (Fabulous) Wailers. This track, “She’s Coming Home,” was on a Christmas compilation LP that also included contributions from The Sonics and The Galaxies.
Today’s entry on the calendar is “Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews Band. I haven’t followed Dave Matthews Band in years, but I really liked their first few albums & always appreciated this track.
The studio version as found on Remember Two Things (1993) has a nice little bonus song tacked onto the end after about 8 minutes of silence. The version below is a live acoustic version with Tim Reynolds from 2009.
Was the Holiday Sing-a-Long With Mitch LP a regular in your household? It was in ours. My dad and I spent many hours driving my mom crazy with our sarcastic renditions of the singers on this particular track, “Must Be Santa.” Must be Santaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…
I have it on good authority that today’s selection for the Musical Advent Calendar will be remembered by those of you who grew up in the UK in the 70s. I don’t remember this track making any waves here in the US, but I was listening to the Muppets at the time, so what do I know? Based on the universal source of record for all things, Wikipedia, I learned that this 1978 cover of “Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord” by Boney M is “one of the best-selling singles of all time in the UK.”
Today’s song is from 1975, and it’s from everyone’s favorite under-appreciated rock band, Big Star.
This is “Jesus Christ,” from their brilliant Third/Sister Lovers album.
I couldn’t embed the video of the studio version (you can view it here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-pZnbkKiGI ), but here’s a live version from 2010 with Mike Mills and Ken Stringfellow of REM on vocals.
Starting sometime in the mid/late 1990s, the ProTools people at Digidesign (now Avid), would press a Holiday CD with songs created by employees and distribute the CD internally within the company. I think the last one was released in 2007. It was always was fun to listen to the tracks and see what kind of songs the Digi crew cooked up in a particular year. Songs would range from faithful renditions of the classics to avant-garde noise tracks and pretty much everything in between.
The 2003 Digidesign Holiday Album, entitled A Silent Night at the Opera, contains what I consider to be one of the best tracks of all the Digidesign holiday releases, “Christmas Rhapsody” by Pledge Drive. Readers familiar with the Queen catalog may have already been able to infer that “Christmas Rhapsody” is indeed, a parody of Queen’s operatic masterwork, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and a brilliant one at that. It’s a classic in our household, for sure.
What would the holiday season be without this gem wherein a neighborly David Bowie mistakes Bing Crosby for the new butler or perhaps “the poor relation from America,” then proceeds to sing a little duet? It’s the endearing and awkward “Little Drummer Boy”/”Peace on Earth” mashup with footage from Bing Crosby’s televised 1977 Christmas special.
… and here’s Will Ferrell and John C. Riley’s homage:
” Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it. ”
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”
“It’s fear of the unknown. The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that–it’s all illusion. Unknown is what it is. Accept that it’s unknown and it’s plain sailing. Everything is unknown–then you’re ahead of the game. That’s what it is. Right?”
“Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn’t enough and you have to go and get shot or something.”
Today’s song is one I consider to be the heaviest hitter in the 1980s Christmas Music catalog, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid. I can’t even TELL you how over the moon I was about this song when it came out in 1984. I was in the throes of my teenage fangirl years and was a huge Anglophile when it came to my music. And to be a teenaged Anglophilic music obsessive in the pre-Internet era took a fair amount of work. While Star Hits did an admirable job of keeping us informed, we really needed to track down the UK version, Smash Hits, or a weekly like NME or Melody Maker to get any kind of handle on the music scene over there, and those things weren’t always easy for a carless kid in the ‘burbs to find.
When I would get a copy (usually after sending my mom with a list to the indie record shop in the college town where she worked), I would pore over them for hours, carefully researching every article, every ad, every classified. I’d carefully cut out articles for my scrapbook and show adverts to decorate the mirror in my bedroom (or my locker); I’d make lists of records I wanted, then would send Mom back out to the record shop, where she would dutifully secure copies of this 12″ or that lp and the latest imported music mags, and the cycle would start all over again.
So when the articles came out about this new Christmas charity single, it was BIG NEWS in my clique of new wave girlfriends. Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats) sees a show about people starving due to drought in Ethiopia, decides to do something about it; calls up Midge Ure (Ultravox) and says, “let’s write a song to raise money!” What seemed like everyone in the UK scene said, “yes, let’s!” and suddenly there were photos from the recording, there were documentary specials on MTV about the making of DTKIC?, there was a 7″ (and 12″) single to buy that would help save people in Africa. Duran Duran, Sting, Bono, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Bananarama, and others all together singing about Christmastime and how there’s no snow in Africa, but we can give them the gift of life! Awesome!
This song was, of course, the first of many great attempts by earnest 1980s musicians to “check [their] egos at the door” and get together to sing away the world’s troubles. The apex of those attempts was the 24 hour worldwide phenomenon known as Live Aid, which took place in the summer of 1985. Without DTKIC? there would have been no Live Aid, and without Live Aid, why would Phil Collins need to fly from London to Philadelphia to play in both cities during the course of one concert?
Let’s ponder that question another time and get back to today’s song (Phil’s playing drums here, too!):
If you missed the Making of video when it played on MTV back in the day, here’s part 1