Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas carols (secular) -- the Gold Standard


The versions of these songs are the gold standard for secular Christmas music.  While others have also taken a shot at recording these songs, and some of those versions may be good, these are the best versions produced.  Convince me otherwise.  Feel free to add your own selections.

Criteria of selections.
1.  These are secular pieces.  Sacred music is entirely its own category, and sacred selections are sung best as a congregation.
2.  These are songs that have been sung, sung again, and sung again by various artists.  For example, I don’t know if anyone has re-recorded “Merry Christmas, Darling” by the Carpenters. ( ; footage from a Christmas special).  If it has been redone, the Carpenters are the gold standard.
3.  Some songs, in my opinion, have yet to find their gold standard.
4.  Some songs won’t have a gold standard.  Ever. (Sorry, “I Saw Mommy Kissing santa Claus.”  Go here: for the worst version of the worst Christmas song ever.  (I am willing to listen to other entries for bad Christmas songs, but that’s another blog entry.)
5.  Instrumental versions and lyrical versions may have different gold standards.
Caroling, Caroling – Nat King Cole

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Nat King Cole   (Recorded on TV special)

White Christmas – Bing Crosby

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Johnny Mathis

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

Happy Holidays – Andy Williams

Holly, Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry

The Little Drummer Boy – The Harry Simeone Chorale

Sleigh Ride (Instrumental) – Leroy Anderson & the Boston Pops

Here We Come A-Caroling – Ray Conniff Singers

We Need a Little Christmas – Percy Faith

O Tannenbaum (instrumental) – Vince Guaraldi Trio

NOTE: I don’t think Nat King Cole and the Ray Conniff Singers have produced a bad version of any Christmas song.  Perhaps add Bing Crosby.  These should be essential additions to anyone’s Christmas CD’s (or iPod’s, for those more technologically advanced that me).

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