Today’s Christmacious song is the lovely carol It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. This song was written in 1849 by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. At the time there was news of revolution in Europe and the recent US war with Mexico meant that Sears saw the world full of “sin and strife”, unable to see the Christmas message. I’ve always particularly enjoyed Ella Fitzgerald’s version of this song, and I hope you enjoy my version!
Earlier this year I played a number of songs from the Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil musical Martin Guerre. One song from this musical which I didn’t play was Bethlehem which tells the Christmas story within the context of the musical. This is my chosen song for today and I hope you enjoy it.
Today’s Christmacious song is The Little Drummer Boy, or as it is sometimes known, The Carol Of The Drum. Written in 1941 by Katharine Kennicott Davis and based on a traditional Czech carol, it was first recorded in 1945 by none other than the Trapp Family Singers. It has since been recorded over 220 times in 7 languages.
Last night a friend was reminiscing about the wonderful Dave Brubeck on Facebook who sadly passed away three years ago this month. As a result I ended up listening to A Dave Brubeck Christmas and I really enjoyed his interpretation of Away In A Manger, so that’s what I’m playing today. It’s the version of the song written by James R. Murray which I believe is the most common version in the U.S. In addition to Dave Brubeck’s recording I have always loved Nat King Cole’s recording of this version of the song.
I hope you enjoy this lovely, jazzy version of this Christmas carol. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project. For more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here.
Today’s song is Coldplay’s 2010 Christmas hit Christmas Lights. The random fact associated with this tune is that in the video which was shot on London’s South Bank, the words Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere are written across the top of the stage where the band are performing the song. This means “I believe Elvis is still alive”, and it’s linked to the mentions of Elvis in the lyrics of the song:
Like some drunken Elvis singin’
I go singin’ out of tune
Sayin’ how I always loved you, darlin’
And I always will.
I hope you enjoy this piece. There’s more Coldplay here, and if it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project. For more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here.
Today’s festive song is Once In Royal David’s City. This was originally written as a poem in 1848 by Cecil Humphreys (who also wrote All Things Bright And Beautiful) in her Hymnbook For Little Children. The English organist John Gauntlett discovered the poem and set it to music. Once In Royal David’s City has been used as the opening hymn at the King’s College Chapel Cambridge Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols Christmas Eve service since 1919.
I’m running a bit late with today’s song after a marathon recording session for Coffee Break Spanish. I’ve decided to play Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling which dates from 1975. Although not a hit in the UK when it was first released, this song has since featured on countless Christmas compilation albums.
Around the time he wrote the song, de Burgh had read Erich von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods and this book apparently made him think “what if the star of Bethlehem was a space craft and what if there is a benevolent being or entity in the universe keeping an eye on the world and our foolish things we do to each other”.
I’ve tried to make a reference to the 1970s style of the original with my choice of instruments for this one. I hope it works! If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or for more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here.
This lovely Christmacious song dates from 1962. Do You Hear What I Hear? was written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker as a plea for peace at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Popularised by Bing Crosby’s 1963 version, it has since been recorded by hundreds of artists. My favourite, and the version my own is most based on, is Hayley Westenra’s. If you’re interested here’s a live performance of her version.
I hope you enjoy my version of Do You Hear What I Hear? If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or for more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here.
Today’s festive tune is Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power Of Love, dating from 1983. Holly Johnson, who co-wrote the song with the rest of the band commented: “I always felt like The Power Of Love was the record that would save me in this life. There is a biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end.” The Power Of Love was covered by Gabrielle Aplin in 2012 and this version was used to accompany the John Lewis Christmas advert that year.
If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or for more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here. And if this is not the version of The Power Of Love you were expecting, I played Huey Lewis’ version back in October!