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Monday, December 14, 2015

The 12 Songs of Christmas #1: "Sleigh Ride"

To celebrate the holiday season, I'm featuring 12 of my favorite Christmas songs with 12 recordings/performances of each one (in order of preference). So below you can enjoy today's tune - "Sleigh Ride", which was first recorded in 1949.

12) Doc Severinsen and the ORU World Action Singers (including Kathie Lee Gifford) on the 1973 Oral Roberts Christmas special

11) The Ventures Christmas Album (1965)

10) The Andy Williams Christmas Show on NBC on December 13, 1965

9) Harry Connick Jr. on Good Morning America on December 3, 1993

8) John Williams and the Boston Pops in the 1980s

7) The Ramsey Lewis Trio's Sound of Christmas (1961)

6) Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass' Christmas Album (1968)

5) The Carpenters at Christmas special on December 9, 1977

4) The Ronettes on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (1963)

3) Ella Fitzgerald's Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960)

2) Johnny Mathis in 1967

1) Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé's That Holiday Feeling (1964)


joel65913 said...

Wonderful idea! Love that you have so many different versions. If you listen to the radio you'd think there were only about 10 different Christmas songs total and each one has only one version!!

I try never to listen to those stations firstly because I hate several of those songs, Wonderful Christmas Time, All I Want for Christmas is You (UGH!), and I don't want to get sick of the ones I do love, White Christmas and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year since they seem to get played hourly.

Paul Decker said...

Steve and Eydie's "Sleigh Ride" has to be the kitschiest Christmas song ever recorded. Listen to Eydie squeal those "Look out!"s and tell me she wasn't drunk out of her gourd...and the inspiration for Catherine O'Hara's Lola Heatherton.

The rest of the album is kind of a snooze, but it's not Christmas to me without Steve and Eydie's "Sleigh Ride" playing on repeat at full volume.

Paul Decker said...

A wonderful Christmas record that didn't make any of your lists is The Roche's "We Three Kings." It's a beautiful mix of traditional carols, several performed a cappella, a Roche sisters specialty.

Then there are the secular songs, a few of which are performed strictly for laughs. Of particular note are "Winter Wonderland" sung in VERY heavy Long Island accents, and "Sleigh Ride" done with some wonderful sound effects. And that neighbor calling "Yoo Hoo, Yoo Hoo" will have you in stitches.

Since it's almost like two different albums, the best way to listen to it is to isolate the modern tracks and play them separately from the traditional music. Otherwise, the change is tone from song to song can be a little jarring.

The album has been rereleased several times since it came out in 1990. It's easily available, and can be downloaded for only $5.99 on Amazon and iTunes. Marc, please check it out!

Marc Harshbarger said...

Thanks for the Christmas album recommendation, Paul, I will have to check them out!

Paul Decker said...

Anytime, Mark. Thanks again for these lists. I had a blast watching many of the videos.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Glad you enjoyed my 12 Christmas songs, Paul! Happy New Year!