by Doug Levine
It’s holiday time and that means music is in the air, everywhere. There’s holiday music on the radio and television, in concerts, supermarkets, restaurants, department stores, floating from invisible speakers at malls, on front lawns, and even in the waiting room at my dentist’s office.
Walking into a convenience store last week I was greeted by “Jingle Bell Rock,” the original Bobby Helms’ version. And I can’t remember a year that’s gone by without Jose Feliciano wishing everyone “Feliz Navidad.” This year is no exception. I was filling my car with gas and I thought I heard “Feliz Navidad” coming out of the gas tank. Nope, just a video monitor sandwiched in between the pumps.
It seems as if Christmas tunes arrive earlier and earlier every year, but I’m not complaining. No matter how many times Grandma gets run over by a reindeer or Alvin pleads for a hoola hoop, they never get old for me. Too bad though for these famous “snow” songs – “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas” and “Let It Snow” – because with temperatures in Washington hovering in the tepid range, it’s beginning to look a lot more like Labor Day than Christmas.
Songwriters Edward Pola and George Wyle struck a chord when they wrote one of the season’s best-known classics, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Judging by the lyrics, Edward and George must have celebrated the holidays like there was no tomorrow: “With those holiday greetings and great happy meetings, parties for hosting and marshmallows for roasting.” Talk about capturing the spirit of the season: “And hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.” You can see why Christmas songs like this never go out of style.
A perennial favorite is Andy Williams’ version of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” made bittersweet with Andy’s passing in September. He recorded it in 1963, and while many renditions followed, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same for me without hearing him croon, “When friends come to call, it’s the hap-happiest season of all.”
So, here’s wishing you good cheer and happy listening this holiday season!