A Christmas Music Catalog – Playlists on Parade

By Chris Moore:

There’s a LOT of Christmas music.

As is to be expected, some is excellent, some is terrible, and much of it is mediocre.  Over the years, in a variety of formats, I’ve been exposed to a lot of Christmas music.  This year, I assembled all the songs that have survived over the years, and I’ve created a 340 song playlist for your perusal below.  This master list has served as the source from which I derived my “Christmas, Volumes 1-3” playlists the past several weeks.

I’m sure I’m missing some tunes here that are very meaningful to you, so I encourage you to comment below to recommend any tracks I should seek out for a listen.

From our blog to you, I wish you the merriest of Christmases and a happy new year!

CHRIS’ CHRISTMAS MUSIC CATALOG:

Alvin & the Chipmunks:             “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

America:                                     Holiday Harmony

Band Aid:                                    “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Barenaked Ladies:                         Barenaked for the Holidays

The Beach Boys:                        Ultimate Christmas

The Beatles:                                     “Christmas Time is Here Again,” “Everywhere It’s Christmas”

The Bee Gees:                         “Holiday”

Ben Folds:                                    “Lonely Christmas Eve”

Bing Crosby:                                    “Mele Kalikimaka,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “White Christmas”

Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans,

the Crystals, Darlene Love,

the Ronettes, & Phil Spector:  A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector

Bob Dylan:                                    Christmas in the Heart

Bobby Helms:                         “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle”

Bobby Helms, The Brian

Setzer Orchestra, Charles

Brown, Clarence Carter,

Nat King Cole, Darlene Love,

Johnny Mathis, David Newman,

Lou Rawls:                                     The Jingle All the Way Soundtrack

Brenda Lee:                                     “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Papa Noel”

The Brian Setzer Orchestra:             Boogie Woogie Christmas

Brian Wilson:                                     What I Really Want for Christmas, “White Christmas,” “Little Saint Nick” (Web Version)

Burl Ives:                                     “Holly Jolly Christmas”

The Carpenters:                         “The Christmas Song,” “Merry Christmas Darling”

Chicago:                                     Christmas: What’s It Gonna Be, Santa?

Chris Moore:                                     “Christmas From Now On,” “Feliz Navidad” (with Jim Fusco & Dana Camp), “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “Green Christmas” (with Jim Fusco), “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Moment,” “Must Be Santa,” “The New Year,” “A Winter’s Tale”

Chris, Jim, & Mike:                         Our Christmas Gift to You

Chuck Berry:                                     “Run Rudolph Run”

Copeland:                                     “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Death Cab for Cutie:                         “Christmas”

The Drifters:                                     “White Christmas”

The Eagles:                                     “Please Come Home for Christmas”

Eartha Kitt:                                    “Santa Baby”

Eisley:                                     “The Winter Song”

Elmo & Patsy:                         “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” “Percy the Puny Poinsettia”

Elton John:                                     “Step Into Christmas”

Elvis Presley:                                    If Every Day Was Like Christmas

Emerson, Lake, & Palmer:             “I Believe in Father Christmas”

The Fold:                                     “Oh Holy Night”

Fountains of Wayne:                         “I Want an Alien for Christmas”

Frank Sinatra:                                     “I Believe”

Gene Autry:                                     “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)”

George Harrison:                         “My Sweet Lord,” “Ding Dong Ding Dong”

The Harry Simeone Chorale:             “The Little Drummer Boy”

Hawk Nelson:                                     “Last Christmas”

Ingrid Michaelson:                         “Winter Song,” “Snowfall”

Jack Johnson:                                     “Someday at Christmas”

Jeff Foskett:                                     “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”

Jethro Tull:                                     “Ring Out Solstice Bells”

Joe Pesci:                                     “If It Doesn’t Snow for Christmas”

John Lennon:                                     “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” “Happy Christmas & Give Peace a Chance”

Johnny Cash:                                     Classic Christmas

Jose Feliciano:                         “Feliz Navidad”

Joy Electric:                                     “What Child is This?”

Judy Garland:                                     “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Lady Gaga:                                     “Christmas Tree”

Mae:                                                 “Carol of the Bells”

The Magnetic Fields:                         “Everything is One Big Christmas Tree”

Mavis Staples:                         “Christmas Vacation”

The Moody Blues:                         December, “Another Morning,” “Eyes of a Child,” “What Child is This?”

The Moonglows:                         “Hey Santa Claus”

MoU:                                                 MoU Holiday Party 2006

Nat King Cole:                         “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “The Little Boy Santa Claus Forgot”

NewSong:                                     “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

The Orioles:                                     “Crying in the Chapel”

Paul McCartney:                         “Wonderful Christmastime”

The Percy Faith Orchestra:             “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

Ray Charles:                                     “What Child is This?”

Relient K:                                     Let it Snow Baby… Let it Reindeer

Ringo Starr:                                     I Wanna Be Santa Claus

Roger Whittaker:                         “Ding Dong Merrily on High”

Roy Orbison:                                     “Pretty Paper”

The Royal Guardsmen:             “Christmas Bells”

Simon & Garfunkel:                         “Seven O’Clock News/Silent Night”

Smashing Pumpkins:                         “Christmastime”

Spike Jonze:                                     “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”

Starflyer 59:                                     “Christmas Time is Here”

Stevie Wonder:                         “Someday at Christmas”

The Temptations:                         “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: “Christmas All Over Again”

Weezer:                                     Christmas with Weezer

Wham!:                                     “Last Christmas”

The Who:                                     “Christmas”

The Wilsons:                                     “Hey Santa!”

Free Internet Radio: WCJM.com is Your Free Christmas Music Source!

By Jim Fusco:

By this time of the season, most people are actually getting a bit sick of Christmas music.  And, really, how can you blame them?  At work, we have the local radio station, Light 100.5 WRCH, playing all day.  And I heard that Mariah Carey song, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, literally five times in an 8-hour span.  And I tell you- that’s way too much.  I know most people don’t listen to the radio for eight hours at a time, so they want to hit the morning and rush-hour crowds with the same popular songs.  But, as we here at the Laptop Sessions have tried to prove, there are TONS of Christmas songs that never get played on the radio.  And these are great songs that would provide some variety throughout the day.

Which brings me to my topic for this evening: WCJM Free Internet Radio!

You see, WCJM is an amateur internet radio station that I started (well, let’s just say “continued”) with my brother and some friends back in late middle-school.  The best part, for me, is that it still lives on today!  Even though many members of the cast (which ballooned-up to seven) have either moved-on with their lives or have changed in many ways, I still listen back to all of the shows online and remember the “good old days”.  Ah, to have all my friends back the way they were in 2001…

Of course, Christmas for me is always about nostalgia.  I just love reminiscing about past Christmases and always going through our traditions on a yearly basis.  I think my parents can see very well that my wife and I have really made a duplicate of their Christmastime house out of our new home.  And that’s the way I always want it to be.  I’m a fan of consistency, folks, as if you haven’t guessed that already.

Anyway, so each year, I bust out the Christmas radio shows (which are now on my iPod) and listen to them at least two or three times apiece.  Here’s a rundown of the shows and what they feature:

The Everything Is Christmas Show: This radio show is a very important one for WCJM Free Internet Radio, because it has the debut of Alberto Distefano, probably my closest all-time friend.  We were all so young during this show- it was 1999 and I was 15 (with my brother being only 13 at the time).  But, it’s a really cute show and there’s a lot of great music.  There’s also some pretty good “early” comedy from my brother Mike, including his all-time famous line: “Updates on Parcels- they just pulled the plug on him…yes, he’s breathing by himself.”  Gets me every time.  And now ten years old, this show is the ultimate trip down memory lane.

The Comedy Christmas Jam: How do I know that the “Everything Is Christmas Show” was a success?  Well, that’s because we had such a great time that we did another show a week later!  I remember it so well- we all went home on my bus route (I was a Sophomore in high school) and we just had the best time.  This show is a little more disorganized, yet more professional because we had a practice round the week before.  This show features both some really classic Christmas songs (like Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) and comedy songs, too.  I remember laughing so hard at Weird Al’s “Christmas At Ground Zero” that I hit the table and the CD skipped.

The Rock’n’Roll Christmas Show: For some reason, this show always seemed “hesitant” to me.  It’s not as laugh-out-loud as the others, but still a classic.  It’s actually the live on-air debut of another one of my oldest friends, Jeff Copperthite (who called me today- it was great to finally catch up and I’m glad all is going well with his new family!).  This show has some unique rock Christmas music, and some skits, but this was only 2000, so we were still getting the hang of doing these shows.

The Best Original Christmas Song Show: This show is truly a classic (done in 2003)- a Christmas countdown with many people voting on their favorite Christmas songs.  I was the only one who knew the results, so it was exciting for the rest of the cast.  And this one has almost all seven cast members (plus my girlfriend turned-wife, Becky, too!).  This show is hilarious, with some ridiculous Dr. K material (Don’t know who Dr. K is?  Click HERE to find out!) and plenty of skits and promos.

The Christmas Vacation Show: This was our reunion show in 2006, as we hadn’t done a show for three years prior to it!  It was great to get the entire cast together after all that time.  We had a great time and played an even different array of Christmas songs, new and old.  The music is really fantastic on this show, but if comedy is your thing (my personal favorite parts of these shows) then we have you covered here- all of our classic characters made appearances (including Stuffy D. Bear) and there were many promos, as well.

In closing, you should really check-out these radio shows if you’re at work or just hanging out online.  They’re really great ways to make you laugh, get you in the Christmas spirit, and save you from the same loop of overplayed Christmas songs on the radio!  So, how do you listen to it?

Listen to ALL the WCJM Free Internet Radio Christmas Shows Online (for FREE, by the way) by visiting:

WCJM.com (the Moore Hits in the Morning Show section)
and clicking on the arrows to scroll through the shows!

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (Traditional/Brian Wilson acoustic rock cover)

For Brian Wilson chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

If you have found yourself suffering from a “pernicious case of the Mondays” and need something to turn your week around, then look no further than the best cover song music video blog on the Internet today!

This week, as with all weeks, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Tonight, there’s Chris Moore Monday.  Tomorrow, there’s Jim Fusco Tuesday.  On Saturday, there’s chords to one of the most classic Christmas songs of all time.  And, finally, there’s The Weekend Review on Sunday, a very special edition during which I’ll reveal my pick for the #3 best rock album of the decade, 2000-2009.  Thus far, it’s been The Barenaked Ladies’ Maroon at #5 and, as of yesterday, Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 at #4.

But that’s enough about the future.  For now, let’s live in the moment.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a traditional song, which basically means that no one knows who wrote the song.  I learned tonight that the song is more accurately referred to as “God rest you merry, gentlemen,” even though it is often incorrectly punctuated as “God rest you, merry gentlemen.”  Of course, as an English teacher, I found this fascinating.  Don’t you?

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Charles Dickens referred to this song in his classic holiday novel, A Christmas Carol.  This is a novel that I loved when I first read it in my Charles Dickens class at CCSU, and I loved it even more when I returned to it a couple years ago.  If I wasn’t so busy this month, I would re-read it for a third time.

Instead, I’m grading, getting car work done, attending real estate meetings, and, of course, decorating for Christmas.  We had a lot of fun pulling out old decorations and buying some new ones to complete the Christmas spirit in the apartment.  Even now, I sit bathed in the multi-colored glow of Christmas lights, and really, there’s no better atmosphere for typing a yuletide post.

I’m very proud of tonight’s session for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I couldn’t find any reliable chords on the web to work from, so I essentially started from scratch.  I used a set of lyrics and chords for the traditional arrangement as a foundation from which to transcribe, but Brian Wilson, true to form, added some twists as well as an instrumental middle section that I figured out on my own.  Being that I’m more of a lyrics guy, I always feel excited when I crack a musical code, no matter how simple or complex it might be.

How long it took me, I won’t mention…  🙂

The other main reason I’m happy with this session is that, for whatever reason, this became one of those songs that I just couldn’t relax for.  For instance, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember which line to sing after the instrumental break.  I kept opting for the blending of the first and third bridges, singing, “To save all those who…”  So, I played more takes than I’m willing to admit here, but in the end, I walked away with a complete session that I’m happy with.  I especially enjoyed being able to play my Bb harmonica, a first for the Laptop Sessions!

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is one of those songs that I’ve known forever.  As I mentioned, it’s a traditional Christmas song that anyone who has gone to church has heard.  I never particularly cared for the song — even the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan version was one I appreciated but never really loved.

Then, I listened to Brian Wilson’s 2004 Christmas album, What I Really Want for Christmas.  I was immediately drawn to Wilson’s arrangement of this song, and it has become an instant favorite for me these past several years.  The album as a whole has become a favorite of mine, right up there with the Beach Boys’ Christmas album and the Moody Blues’ December.  (And, after five years, another top holiday album has been added in Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart.)

If you’ve heard Brian Wilson’s Christmas album — or even if you haven’t — I strongly recommend you go to YouTube and search “Brian Wilson What I Really Want for Christmas Video Part I.”  I just watched this documentary today, which includes some great behind-the-scenes making-of footage, interviews, and clips from the album.  If you love the album, it will remind you why.  If you haven’t heard the album, it will make you want to.

And, on that note, I hope that my video makes you interested enough to want to hear the Brian Wilson version.

See you next session!

“A Winter’s Tale” (Moody Blues)

For Moody Blues chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another all-new edition of the Laptop Sessions.  To kick off another full week of new material, I’ve reached into the Moody Blues catalog of songs — specifically from their 2003 album December — to bring you a cover song version of their cover of the Mike Blatt and Tim Rice song “A Winter’s Tale.”

Now, although I am an English teacher, this is not to be confused with the William Shakespeare play “The Winter’s Tale.”  Not only is there a notable difference in parts of speech (namely the indefinite – “a” – versus the definite – “the” – articles), but there is also a big difference in tone.  Still, “The Winter’s Tale” is quite a trip.  Consider, for instance, that this play contains one of Shakespeare’s most infamous stage directions: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”  What I find the most interesting is that there is contention over whether he used an actual bear for the original productions, or simply a man dressed in a bear costume.

I would assume the latter, but the former is just so much more fascinating…

But this is all beside the point.

“A Winter’s Tale” is one of those songs that is indisputably beautiful, sung perfectly by Justin Hayward.  For those who have seen them in concert recently, you may have noticed my apparel is a nod to Hayward’s typical onstage wardrobe.  That wasn’t too difficult to arrange, as I simply removed my tie and jacket and voila!  Of course, this is also one of those songs that, upon playback, forces me to remember I’m a rhythm guitarist hammering away at what is such a subtle, pretty song at heart.  During our MoU Christmas concerts, Mike would front the band on this one, fingerpicking and taking the lead — and for good reason!

The reason I’m standing up is because the song simply didn’t sound right when I played it sitting down.  I found I was having trouble getting comfortable as I played it.

Of course, the majority of the song being played on barre chords didn’t help either…

Several takes and several strained ligaments in my hands later, you’ve got yourself a new Laptop Session.

As a final note about the song, I found it very interesting that this song, originally written by songwriters Mike Batt and Tim Rice, hit #2 on the UK charts back in 1982.  Batt teamed up with Rice to write the song for performer David Essex.  Another interesting bit of trivia is that Batt went on to produce Justin Hayward’s solo album Classic Blue between 1988 and 1989 at Abbey Road Studios in London.  Classic Blue, ironically, is an album of covers.  The track listing includes three songs written by Batt, as well as classics from Brian Wilson, Lennon/McCartney, and Led Zeppelin.

I hope that you enjoy this installment of the Laptop Sessions, and I encourage you to hurry back for more very soon.  In addition to your regularly scheduled (yuletide?) cover song music video tomorrow, there may be a brand new Guest Session on Friday, as well as another edition of the Weekend Review.  If you missed last weekend’s music review, you should know that I just kicked off a top five albums of the decade countdown.  Each weekend between now and January 2nd, 2009, I will reveal another album on the list, as well as a full review.  Then, on January 2nd, I will post my full “Top Thirty Rock Albums of the Decade” list, along with my review for the number one rock album of the decade.

Thus far, the Barenaked Ladies’ Maroon (2000) has cinched the #5 slot.  Which album will rank as the fourth best album of the decade?

You’ll have to tune in to the Weekend Review to find out…

See you next session!