“Step Into Christmas” (Elton John Christmas Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Christmas 2010 edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  I couldn’t let the Christmas Season go by without presenting a cover song music video for you, so I present Elton John’s Christmas classic “Step Into Christmas”.

You know, growing up, I never loved this song.  I think my father wasn’t a huge fan of it, so that tainted my view.  But, as time went on (and I became a bigger Elton John fan) I realized that this is a pretty great tune.  In it, Elton says, “I’d like to thank you for the year.”  Obviously, he’s talking to his many fans and I’d like to do the same: THANK YOU for another great year here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!  In the past year, I’ve seen the term “Laptop Sessions” come up as a search suggestion in Google.  That’s pretty cool and means that plenty of people have been searching for this site!  Also, I’m only a few days away from reaching 800,000 YouTube views- 80% of the way towards my ultimate goal of a million!  I have had renewed ambition lately to promote the Laptop Sessions blog and my YouTube videos, so I hope I keep it going- my goal is to reach a million YouTube views sometime in 2011- hopefully the first half!

A funny note about “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John: the chorus always seemed odd to me.  I, for the first 26 years of my life, always thought he said, “Eat in the evening, come along with me.”  I thought that was such a stupid line!  I mean, Bernie Taupin couldn’t think of anything else you could do at Christmas other than eating in the evening??  Well, I decided that I should find out for sure if that was the line- turns out I was wrong.  He really says, “Eat, drink, and be merry; come along with me.”  Wow- I was WAY off!  Well, to be fair, I don’t think I ever would’ve guessed that- how did they fit those words into that short of a time-span?  Well, I figured it out and included it in my song.  I’m glad I did- there’s been a few Laptop Sessions cover songs videos where I sang incorrect words because I thought I knew them.  They’ve always haunted me.  For instance, on Brian Wilson’s “Live Let Live” video, I sang, “Pure Pacific, just as sure as the sky.”  I had no idea what that meant, but since Van Dyke Parks wrote the lyrics, I figured I shouldn’t ask questions.  Well, I did decide to ask questions, and it turns out the line is, “Blue Pacific, as azure as the sky.”  Ohhhhh, THAT’S what he said!  Brian has gotten a tad bit of a slur in his later years, and “as azure as” is hard enough to say anyway!  So, I botched that line.  I’ve never been proud of that video as a result.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Christmas!!  I’ll be back right before New Year’s with another video, but I happy I got in this Christmas cover song today.  This year, I’m hoping to have one of the most memorable Christmases ever and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it after the big day comes.  I can’t believe it’s just a week away!  Until then- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (John Lennon cover)

I’m sooooo tired.  No, I’m not quoting a classic Beatles tune- I’m really freakin’ exhausted!  Something about driving an hour to the Buckland Hills mall, shopping, eating a TON at Red Robin, and driving an hour back just makes me so tired.  Then, I realized it was my night for a cover song music video.  It always works that way.  My way of dealing with it?  Honk the horn while driving down I-84.

As we gear up for yet another winter storm here in CT, I find myself really ready for Christmas, and just in time.  Today, we dug ourselves out of the snow and I went to my parents’ house for a party with my father’s cousins- a yearly tradition.  It was so nice, especially because Mike was there.  Felt like old times.  Mike and I would attempt to fit in with the older crowd, but eventually would just run downstairs and play with our Hess trucks, which we would get each year.  Today, we got pizza from Fratelli’s in Wallingford.  My parents had never eaten there before, but I tried it at work and loved it.  So, I put my recommendation out there, and thankfully, everyone loved it.

I then went to do a video job (maybe THAT’S why I’m so tired) at the New Haven Lawn Club.  It was a nice Jewish wedding.  I only had to do the ceremony, but got paid for a whole job.  And a few days before Christmas, that’s always a welcome thing.  Chris, Dana, and I went on our trek (see above) after I got home, and that brings us to my cover song music video for tonight.

I’ve known “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” my whole life.  I always found it interesting that my father said this song wasn’t really a big Christmas “hit” until after John Lennon died.  Just like George Harrison’s music- the man’s albums went on being obscure and not available on CD until AFTER he died.  Hey, at least they’re out now.  Dennis Wilson is the perfect example of this phenomenon, except it took everyone about 25 years to re-release something after his death.  And he was the most talented of them all.

I dedicate this song to my boss, Steve Mirabella, who suggested I do this for the Laptop Sessions.  It’s so rewarding to find someone who cares about and loves music as much as I do and is actually interested in these cover songs music videos we do on a daily basis here.  And yes, Steve, I found a much less annoying way of handling the Yoko Ono parts, so the song sounds much less….well, you know…than the original.

I hope you all enjoy this great Christmas song and heed its words- Christmas is a time for EVERYONE and it will come no matter the wars, hardships, unreasonable hatred, etc.  It’s good to know that there’s an anchor in our lives like that.  It allows me to keep traditions going and that makes me incredibly happy.  I’ll see you back here again on Tuesday for another great Laptop Session!  Oh, and tonight is my 150th music video, and here’s to 150 more!

“Christmas Evening” (Jim Fusco original song)

By Jim Fusco:

A week away.  I just can’t believe it.  I haven’t had time to breathe, but I’ve managed to set up the whole house, buy and wrap gifts, and watch Christmas movies in this short period we call Christmas time.  During these last few days, I’m trying to make the absolute most of it, and that involves doing things I actually want to do when I get home.  I’m glad to bring you tonight’s Original Wednesday.

You know, I tried to present a new song here tonight, but my last Original Wednesday of the Session-a-day project rounds out with yet another Christmas song.  I can’t believe we’re at the end of this project already.  I mean, it’s been a lot of work and a long time in the making, but I look forward to the time when I can actually go back and appreciate it all.  It’s been a great life-journal over these past few months.

Tonight’s orignal song is a tune that my father dictated to me, to which I attempted (back in 2000 or 2001) to add chords to.  He’s maintained throughout the years that I didn’t get it right.  The original music had a flute behind it.  I remember the flute part exactly.  I know that’s what he wanted in there.  He says I don’t sing it right, either, but I suppose that’s the nature of cover songs…and the nature of transposing a song from a tune to the piano when you really don’t know how to play.  Again, this was seven years ago when I was still VERY new to any of the “musical” instruments.  I knew how to play the drums, but picked up piano and guitar on my own.

I actually remember being out at, I think, a place like Sturbridge Village with my aunt many summers ago and specifically buying one of those tin flutes so I could play this song’s flute part.  I know I have a version of it somewhere.  Wow, I think it’s actually right in front of my face right now on the desk in  my room.  If Chris gets me REALLY drunk (kidding!) maybe he can talk me into playing that almost certainly embarassing tape of Christmas songs for him.  Hey, free fast-food always helps.  But, then again, I owe him for last night’s dinner because I forgot to pay for his!  What a friend I am…

I got to do a little shopping tonight, allowing me to neglect my nightly freelance work in favor of spreading some Christmas cheer.  I hope I have a nice weekend and a nice time leading into Christmas.

Oh, and as one last note: I made a comment at work today about one of the reasons I love Christmas music so much.  I really do like it more than just about anyone.  I have over 200 Christmas songs and love every single one.  Anyway, one of the reasons I love it so much is because of how happy the songs are.  I can count on one hand the sad Christmas songs.  And even those have sleigh bells…

Tonight’s original song is one of those sad songs (with sleigh bells) that basically points out how Christmas can be a sad time if no one’s there to make it a big event.  I took my father’s verses (whether he says they’re correct or not) and appended the fast part way back then.  The parts actually work together well and the lyrics even follow the same sentiment: “I want to be home on Christmas.  If I’m not, then I’ll be sad.  If you’re wondering why I’m sad, just look around and notice that I’m not home and around loved ones for Christmas!”  So, it all comes back around.

Good night and see you on Saturday!  Stay tuned for a great Thumpin’ Thursday post with Chris Moore tomorrow!