Walkey Talk: Sounds of My Holidays

Posted by: Mike Walkey  //  December 25, 2011 @ 5:06pm

Filed under: Walkey Talk

The Holidays are often a time for tradition.

Trying to get into the holiday spirit? Music is one of the great natural mood changers. The holiday sounds of Christmas carols can have a positive effect on putting you in the Christmas spirit.

Growing up in a mixed raced family, the holidays provided a perfect opportunity for the cultural differences between my parents to shine. Nothing was more obvious than the selection of Christmas music in my household. If my mother was picking the music, it would be A Christmas With Boney M. If my father had any say, we would be listening to the laidback twang of Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper.

It's hard not to remember my Christmas childhood when I hear the disco beat of "Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord" or the calypso groove of "Jingle Bells". And it's hard not to think of my dad sitting on the couch by the fire when I hear Willie's voice wavering through "Blue Christmas".

That's the power of music. Upon listening, we can be transported to a time and a place in our own lives. Perhaps that unlike film, we provide the visual with our imagination, making music a stronger nostalgia aphrodisiac.

It wouldn't be Christmas to me without these albums.

Here now are my favourite holiday songs:

"The Christmas Song", "The First Noel", "O Holy Night" – Nat King Cole

So many versions of these classics, but only one voice provide the correct ones. Dim the lights, strike up a fire, pour some wine and listen to these velvet smooth renditions. With all do respect to Mr. Sinatra and Mr. Torme, on Christmas, there is Nat King Cole... and then there is everyone else.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" – Judy Garland

The one and only version with its original chanteuse was immortalized in Meet Me In St. Louis. The vulnerability in Judy's voice helps this version sail over all its copies.

"Mary's Boy Child" – Harry Belefonte

I love Boney M, but hearing Belefonte's voice mouthing these lyrics, is like hearing the voice of the Lord Himself.

"Jingle Bells" – Frank Sinatra

Frank's got those J-I-N-G-L-E Bells.

"Winter Wonderland" – Ray Charles

If you've never experienced Christmas in New York City, then this wonderfully, jazzy rendition of this holiday classic is the closest thing. Close your eyes and imagine yourself skating in Rockefeller Centre or taking a Carriage ride through Central Park.

"All I Want for Christmas is You" – Mariah Carey

Yes I know, this pop hit is overplayed on Top 40 radio stations this time of year, but let's face it, the girl can sing and her voice is well suited for Christmas Carols. Christmas is the time to remember, and this song reminds us all that there was a time when the over sexed cougar was known for her voice rather than her booty.

Hearing the following artists belt out Christmas music may seem sacrilegious, but believe it or not, they've provided some surprisingly good and popular Holiday tunes over the years:

"Run Run Rudolph" – Chuck Berry; "Blue Christmas" – Elvis Presley

The two originals who meshed Christmas with rock n roll. A bold idea upon initial release, both have become classic holiday staples in the years since.

"Rockin' on Top of the World" – Steven Tyler

Oh I wonder if Steven Tyler is embarrassed about this hard to find gem from The Polar Express? Something tells me the man doesn't know the meaning of the word embarrass.

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" – John Mellencamp

We forgive Johnny Cougar for this guilty pleasure. It is Christmas after all! It's hard not to smile when listening to this goofy, upbeat and fun song.

"Christmas All Over Again" – Tom Petty

A very popular radio hit – it sounds better than it looks on paper! Featured in many movie and television shows (Home Alone 2, Jingle All the Way, Four Christmases)

"Please Come Home for Christmas" – Jon Bon Jovi

A bluesy and surprisingly soulful rendition by Jon Bon allows me to forgive him for the accompanying video he made with Cindy Crawford.

"So This Is Christmas" - John Lennon

Guaranteed to be playing in a department store somewhere.

Holiday music is a great gift, but the the greatest sounds one can experience this holiday season are those of laughter and joy.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Tags: Walkey Talk

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