Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Sound of Music: Holidays Classics Vol 1

It's the Holiday Season, and I love this time of year because of the festivities and feasts and frivolities that take place as we celebrate. I love the food, the gatherings, and the sense of optimism, hope, and good cheer that flows more freely during the Holidays. As a child, I loved the Holiday Season, because it meant we were out of school, got to hang out with friends, gorged on treats and sweets, and played with friends and visiting cousins. Plus, the gifts were nice, and I loved the Holiday specials that come on tv this time of year. It was a busy time, a little chaotic with visitors and social and familial obligations and activities. But it was also an exciting time, full of fun and wonder and joy.

I love listening to the music that hails the spirit of the season. These songs make me smile and think of all the holidays past; it moves me to reach out to the people that I care about and cherish. And nothing puts me in the Holiday mood like the old Holidays Classics. These are the songs that I grew up with and put me in the Holiday Spirit. There are plenty of other songs that make me think of the Holidays, but this collection was created specifically with those songs that I consider Classics--iconic, timeless, and exquisite.

My other faves like I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, or All I want for Christmas (are my two front teeth), or even Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman are in another collection, a more whimsical and fun one. The same goes for the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and The Chipmunks Song.

This collection of Holidays Classics features older, sometimes original recordings. So please excuse the hiss and noise you may hear in some songs. But honestly, those noises make the old songs sound more genuine and faithful to how I heard them the first time, on our old record player, the kind that played vinyl records.

I do like some of the older, original recordings, because of their unique, intriguing sound. I am immediately transported back to my childhood when I hear some of these older, classic holiday songs. So many years of wonderful, warm memories!

Oh, man. It just occurred to me, rather morbidly, that most of the singers and performers in this Holidays Classics collection have passed on. But no worries; they live on in the amazing and incredible music that they left behind, music that continues to bring us Holiday Cheer. And I hope you enjoy these classics as much as I do.

As I'm currently experimenting with loading music on the site, please let me know if the music clips don't play or fail to load. There are 21 songs in this collection, and to make it easier to load music to the site, I've divided the songs into two volumes. This post contains songs from Volume 1. Volume 1 contains 11 songs; Volume 2 has 10 songs. There will be links to at the end of the posts to connect to each other.

I would have preferred to keep all 21 songs together in one post, but that was just too much data for one post. Feel free to use the provided link at the end of the posts to connect the whole collection of 21 fantastic Holidays Classics.

If you see "Invalid Source" or "Decode Error" when trying to play the music clips, chances are, you may have to refresh or reload the page. Better yet, just click on the song name, then click Open to play the song on your chosen player. You won't download anything unless you choose to download it.

I am still experimenting with loading music on this site; I appreciate your feedback and assistance in identifying any problems, information on what works or what doesn't, and your opinions on what you liked or could use some improvements. Thank you. I am grateful for the feedback and will work to fix the problems. Your assistance is very helpful in helping me improve this site. I'm making a link to the music in the song titles, in case the clips don't load or play for you. For this post, please click on the song name to listen (open)/download the music. I would like to hear your opinions and thoughts about the music; and tell me what holiday songs you consider classics or your faves.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are the songs that I consider Holidays Classics, the songs that put me in the Holiday mood. And I hope that you enjoy them. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Bing Crosby: I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

It is Bing Crosby, the voice of classic holidays and golden oldies songs, at least for me. I grew up listening to many of Bing Crosby's amazing songs from the Big Band and Swing era. And when it comes to holiday songs, White Christmas is the most "Christmassy" song that I can think of. It is Christmas. It would not feel like Christmas if I didn't hear this song. This song always puts me in the Christmas frame of mind.

I did not grow up in an area that snows. Christmas was sunny and warm. I did not see snow til I was 18 and had left home for lands far beyond. But still, even as a young child, I understood that snow meant Christmas for many other people, at least for those living in the seasonal northern hemisphere. The tv, movies, and stories all expressed how Christmas and snow went hand in hand. And this song paints a lovely, inviting picture of what Christmas looks like, and how beautiful snow can be during the holidays.

And I bought into that fantasy. Bing Crosby convinced me that snow was beautiful and wonderful, and it was, the very first time that I saw it. I gasped as I was mesmerized by the sight of delicate, dancing snowflakes floating down gently from the skies to land on my hands and face, before disappearing, melting away. I stopped working, and just stared at the sky, flummoxed at this strange yet wonderful phenomenon that I had only seen on tv and pictures and read about in books.

I was astonished by how beautiful and exciting it was to see the snow start to cover the buildings and paths, completely transforming the ordinary neighborhood into an extraordinary, new world. For someone who has never experienced the seasons growing up, the change in the landscape was magical and breathtaking. I was stunned and struck by the astounding metamorphosis of the world by the power of winter. It was just so beautiful and exotic. And it felt like I was walking in a dream for the next few days as the snow kept falling.

Then at the end of the week, the dream turned into a nightmare. The gentle snowfall was replaced by a ferocious blizzard that buried the city and shut down the roads and killed the lights, entombing us alive in walls of deadly ice. It was my first experience with a blizzard--the worst in over a decade!--and it wouldn't be the only one I had to deal with that winter. I learned then that as much as I love playing in the snow and looking at the beautiful, white covered vista, I'll take the hellish desert heat over the bone aching freeze of winter any day.

Nat King Cole: O Tannenbaum

Nat King Cole always captivates me with his extraordinary, spellbinding voice. I grew up listening to his songs, hooked on his crooning and classy style. This song is a perfect example. I don't understand a single word he is singing, but I am drawn to his voice. There are other versions of O Tannenbaum, including ones in English. But I grew up on this version, and it takes me back to the holidays on the farm.

Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song

Along with White Christmas, The Christmas Song is an iconic Holidays essential. This song always makes me feel warm, comforted, and introspective. It's very soothing and serene. It's the perfect song to enjoy by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog, complete with some roasted chestnuts, or at least a tasty treat.

Harry Belafonte: Mary's Boy Child

Boney M did a great version that I enjoy dancing to. But this Harry Belafonte version was the first one I heard growing up, and I like it a lot. It is very different from any other holiday song. It has an island, tropical sunshine feel to it that lifts the spirit. And I quite like Harry Belafonte's singing.

Elvis Presley: Blue Christmas

There is always a hint of sadness during the Holidays. And Elvis captures that longing and heartbreak for the loved ones we can't be with, because they're too far away, or they've passed on beyond our reach. This song is simple, yet powerful for its honest, genuine expression of longing and heartache, the sadness we feel for the loved ones we miss during the Holidays. And it's okay to feel sad and miss them.

Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I know that the Holidays have arrived when I hear this upbeat, cheerful, spirited song. It definitely puts me in the Holidays mood, ready to decorate and spread Holiday cheer.

Harry Simeone Chorale: The Little Drummer Boy

The Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorite Holiday songs. And this Harry Simeone Chorale version is the best for creating a magical, enchanting Christmas atmosphere. The voices, the tune, the tempo all meld to create a sensational masterpiece, a wondrous sound, and mystical divine aura.

As a small child, I loved listening to the harmonies of this song. Such a hauntingly beautiful sound. And when I was a teen, my friends and I got a kick out of pretending to be pirates as we sang out the "Rum! Rum! Rum!" parts of the song during our Holidays Festival productions.

Perry Como: There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

There are other more intimate and heart rendering versions of this song. And they are all moving. But I like this Perry Como version best. It starts off wistful, sad even. But then it builds up to become more assertive, confident, encouraging, even hopeful. In the end, it promises the possibility of a better, happy ending--the chance to make it home and be with loved ones and friends for the Holidays. And we all want a chance at a happy ending, to be with the people we love and celebrate the Holidays in their company. There really is no place like home for the Holidays; and home is where the heart is; and family is whoever you love and cherish.

Bing Crosby And The Andrews Sisters: Twelve Days Of Christmas

Legendary icons Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters made some fantastic music together. This jewel is one of my faves. You may not know all the words to this Holidays Classic, but if you're like me, I bet you know when to sing out "Five gold rings!" It's my fave part of this fun, festive seasonal song.

Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby

Eartha Kitt is enchanting, entertaining, and engaging with this scintillating song. Fun. Alluring. Simply Superb.

Burl Ives: A Holly Jolly Christmas

I love this cheerful, upbeat, positive song. Great for the Holiday spirit. It always makes me smile and feel like dancing with joy.

These are some of my favorite Holiday songs. They put me in the Holiday, festive mood. I hope you enjoyed them. Tell me what Holiday songs you like listening to. I like finding out what other wonderful music is out there. Your recommendations are appreciated.

The rest of my favorite vintage, retro Holiday songs continue here: The Sound of Music: Holidays Classics Vol 2

Related Links
The Sound of Music 1: The Classics - Ephemeral
The Sound of Music 2: The Classics - Ethereal
The Sound of Music: The Classics - The Nutcracker
The Sound of Music: Holidays Classics Vol 2
The Sound of Music 3: The Classics - Ebullient
The Sound of Music: Classics - Swan Lake
The Sound of Music: Classics - Requiem
The Sound of Music: Classics - Opera Part 1


  1. Despite being a bit of a Humbug at Christmas, I do rather like these older "classics". "The Little Drummer Boy" is one of my favourites, too. It reminds me a little of Ravel's "Bolero" - that slowly building repetition. In fact, I've just discovered that an instrumental version in the style of "Bolero" was performed by Erich Kunsel and the Cincinnati Pops! There's also a great version (by the Dandy Warhols, I think) that featured in the last episode of Teachers during the out-of-control sleigh ride to Bob and Ping's wedding!

    1. IDV, The Little Drummer Boy is fantastic. Thanks for the tip about the other awesome versions. A great song is timeless and classic. These older songs have the magic of nostalgia tied into them, which brings to mind the Holidays of old and their influence of how we celebrate the Holidays now. And it's amazing how the right music puts us in the festive mood.

  2. The good news is that your clips are playing well. I think you've mastered the system!

    My friend just made a Christmas compilation tape for me. It's delightful and very eclectic.

    A fave of mine that you mentioned is the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi.

    1. MJ, Thank you for the feedback! I'm happy the clips are working.

      Mixed tapes as gifts are awesome! You never know what surprises you'll get to enjoy. That was very cool of your friend. And that Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack is fantastic! I love listening to it anytime of the year.

  3. Bing Crosby for me... this song is the first Christmas song I remember.
    I have an odd relationship with Christmas, I'm usually up for it at the end of November... and then fed up with it by the second week of December. I always peak too early.

    1. Scarlet, Bing Crosby is classic Christmas. My fave thing about the holidays, besides celebrating with my peeps and parties, is the food--an excuse to gorge on turkey, pumpkin pie, candied yams, and eggnog--things that I don't usually cook or eat or drink most of the year. The right music puts me in the festive mood, and I like the colorful decorations.

  4. Oh you got me!!!! First I thank you for you lovely comment. What a treat! Now I love this post very much as I too love the classic, some of which I like is probably even older. I did my own post on three of my favorites last Sunday. I'm a huge fan of Ray Coniff Singers, the New Christy Minstrels, Kate Smith, Percy Faith Led Baxter and the like. My all time favorite Christmas song is though the christmas Bride form the Ray Coniff Singers. So darn pretty.

    I also just read White Christmas from Crosbyis the most popular Christmas song of all time. A fact, use it as you wish.

    A very merry yuletide to you sweetie

    1. Welcome Maddie! Thank you very much for the Holiday wishes and for the fantastic music recommendations. You've given me a treasure map to seek out new musical riches. I love discovering new music. There's so much good stuff out there waiting to be enjoyed, and it helps when other fantastic people like you share your musical finds with the rest of us. So thank you.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Be safe, be warm, and enjoy the Holidays!

  5. Merry Christmas to you, Eros.

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us your personal stories and to bring music into our lives.

    Occasionally you disappear because you're busy but it's a joy when you're here.

    1. MJ, Thank you very much for the kind words and Holiday wishes. Thank you for your support and friendship and for all the laughs. Meeting wonderful people like you keeps me coming back here to our little charming and vivacious and fabulous bloggerhood. You give me hope and make me smile in the toughest of times. Thank you.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Be safe, be warm, and be full of good cheer!