Sources: Star Pulse – By Brent Faulkner | Edited By – All Things Michael
Not in the holiday mood? Has shopping fatigue set in? Well, take a moment and enjoy some Christmas classics that will not only lift your spirits, but will also put some pep in your step! In addition to the author’s song picks, we have added a few favorites of our own. Enjoy!
The Jackson 5, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (originally from Christmas Album, 1970)
Was there EVER another version of this? The reasonable, sensible answer is yes, but The Jackson 5’s take on this holiday classic would make the worst Ebenezer Scrooge feel the Christmas spirit. Young Michael Jackson’s voice shines prodigiously as he reminds us all of what a joyous time Christmastime is.
The Jackson 5, “Give Love On Christmas Day” (originally from Christmas Album, 1970)
The Jacksons were the first to record Berry Gordy’s “Give Love On Christmas Day,” but The Temptations went on to record it for a reconstituted version of their Christmas album a decade later. The debate over the best Motown Christmas album is a two-horse race between J5 and The Temps, but “Give Love” is where the Jackson boys pull ahead. This sweet medley reminds what the season is all about.
Donny Hathaway – “This Christmas” (Single release from Atco Records 1970)
It’s just not Christmas until you hear certain songs and this classic is one of them. Since Hathaway recorded his original version, “This Christmas” has become something of a modern holiday standard, covered by a wide range of artists, too many to list here.
Elvis Presley, “Blue Christmas” (originally from Elvis Christmas,1957)
“Blue Christmas” has undoubtedly become noted as Elvis’ classic. Even though Presley’s version is considered the preeminent version, “Blue Christmas” has roots before the King, as unbelievable as that may be. Still, is Christmas really Christmas without this memorable classic? Nope, not in the least!
Mariah Carey, “O Holy Night” (Merry Christmas, 1994)
It takes a big voice to deliver on this definitive holiday classic. Not everybody can sing “O Holy Night” – that might be the biggest understatement ever. Mariah Carey is no ordinary musician – she nails it.
Mary J. Blige featuring The Clark Sisters, “The First Noel” (A Mary Christmas, 2013)
Mary J. Blige and The Clark Sisters “make the church say amen” on this rousing rendition of “The First Noel.” It begins slow with great poise, but blooms into something greater and more dynamic. Everyone should be on his or her feet by the end – there’s no excuses – “Born is the king of Israel!”
Andrea Bocelli & Mary J. Blige, “What Child Is This” (My Christmas, 2009)
What happens when you combine two dynamic vocalists together for a duet? The answer is nothing short of magic. This recording of “What Child Is This” gives chills with each and every listen.
Josh Groban, “Ave Maria” (Noel, 2007)
“Ave Maria” has been covered countless times. It’s as standard as standard, classical repertoire comes. Even if it is no surprise when its performed, pop-opera standout Josh Groban does it its due justice. Groban’s tone emits warmth, and “Ave Maria” is a piece of music that deserves such.
The Temptations, “Silent Night” (Give Love At Christmas, 1980)
What’s anymore traditional than “Silent Night?” The answer is “Silent Night.” It’s everybody’s favorite sacred Christmas Carol, hence why it is among the most performed carols of them all. Many have delivered on this this classic, but among the greatest takes was by none other than soul’s ‘it’ group, The Temptations. Blue’s bass, Eddie Kendrick’s sick upper register – C-L-A-S-S-I-C, classic!
Pentatonix featuring Tori Kelly, “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy” (That’s Christmas To Me, 2014)
Call this a two-for-one, and who doesn’t like a two-for-one? Pentatonix slaughter (in a good way) this rendition of “Winter Wonderland,” giving it the Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy” treatment. Awesomeness exemplified as everyone’s favorite a cappella group kills it again.
The Drifters, “White Christmas” (1954)
Although Bing Cosby’s version is the most well known, the Drifter’s version of this classic song by Irving Berlin is quite endearing and has been used in many films. Home Alone prominently featured in the song during a scene in which the lead character Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) is applying his father’s aftershave while mouthing the lyrics. The Drifter’s version is also featured in the 1994 films Mixed Nuts and The Santa Clause.
Andy Williams – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (The Andy Williams Christmas Album 1963)
The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season, focusing primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
“George Wyle, who is a vocal director, who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets and trios and things that I did with all the guests, he wrote a song just for the show — I think the second Christmas show we did — called “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. So I did that, you know, every Christmas, and then other people started doing it. And then suddenly it’s become—not suddenly but over 30 years—it’s become a big standard. I think it’s one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time now.”
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