The Christmas anthems
Along with the wintry chill, December ushers in Christmas celebrations that ring a bell of cheer and happiness amongst many. The streets come alive...
Along with the wintry chill, December ushers in Christmas celebrations that ring a bell of cheer and happiness amongst many. The streets come alive with decorations; the shops are bedecked with starry lights; and sprightly wreaths and Christmas trees, bursting with sparkling silver and golden bobs, elevate the Christmas spirit.
Above all, the Christmas carols that resonate in shops, supermarkets and star hotels add a glitter of their own, while seizing the centre stage of festivities. These peppy numbers never fail to ignite a sense of Christmas spirit that’s hard to suppress. Here’s a closer look at few songs that hold an aura for their topnotch rendition and are deemed as the best amongst Christmas songs.
Talking of a special collection, it’s only fair one mention the master of bass-baritone, Jim Reeves! In his immaculate accent, he doled out a wide array of Christmas numbers that stand unmatched even today. In particular, songs like “White Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, and “Blue Christmas”, exhale a breath of freshness even after all these years. Jim Reeves’ soulful voice rings clear and lively, pulling on the heartstrings.
Especially the song “The Merry Christmas Polka”, it never fails to pep up the spirit. In fact, all his festive numbers are so “Christmassy” there would be something amiss, if one isn’t listening to them during this festive season.
Of course, the music band Boney M, which created major ripples during the 60s and 70s, can’t go unmentioned either. Their Christmas album remains one amongst the cherished ones as it brings in a seasonal cheer for everyone, including the youngsters and the oldies alike. Even after the album hitting the markets decades ago, the songs are a refreshing delight to listen to even today. “Mary’s Boy Child Oh My Lord”, “Zion’s Daughter”, and “The Drummer Boy” not only usher in a festive spirit in their traditional style but carry a style of their own.
The song “Drummer Boy” has an unusual rendition, which makes one want to listen more and more to it. This album with melodies like “Feliz Navidad” “Joy to the world” “When a Child is born” and others can be run on a loop on for a heightened Christmas essence while ushering in this year’s Yuletide spirit.
The king of pop, Elvis Presley, has his own list of favourite Christmas songs. The singer of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Blue Suede Shoes 1956” fame rendered Christmas melodies on a similar footing. His albums, which include: ‘The Classic Christmas Album’, ‘Christmas and Peace’, ‘The Wonderful World of Christmas’, ‘Blue Christmas’ and others comprise a whole gamut of songs, a few of which, are sung in his typical “rock n roll” style, adding an “Elvis tinge” to the Christmas festivities. “Blue Christmas”, which he performed along with Martina McBride, stands out the most for its flawless rendition.
Talking about yesteryear singers, Dean Martin is another stalwart who cannot be missed out. His Christmas song that jumps to mind is “Let it, Snow, Let it Snow”, which has a poignant tune. What’s more, his perky voice lends a touch of class.
The moment this tune rolls out, the listener is transported to a different land altogether – of course, a snowy one, such is his uncompromising rendition. Almost all his songs - whether its “I’ll be home for Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, “Marshmallow World” and “The Christmas Blues” Dean Martin stirs something deep inside you with his Christmas melodies.
Neil Diamond, who set hearts aflutter with his popular songs like “Song Sung Blue” and “Sweet Caroline”, had rendered first-rate Christmas songs. Among the best are “O Come, O come Emmanuel”, “Jingle Bell Rock” “The Christmas Song” and “Little Drummer Boy”. Especially the song “Santa Claus is coming to town” is a number that takes a complete detour from the original version and strikes a note in a way that’s soul-filling.
The song plays on the emotions with Neil Diamond’s powerful voice working at full throttle. The icing on the cake is the topnotch execution of musical rendition and a haunting interlude in the midst. Neil Diamond’s voice has a rare peculiarity that is difficult to match; hence, the beauty of the rendition of his songs remains undiminished even after the decades.
Cliff Richard, the man who belted out songs like “Bachelor Noy”, “Young Ones” and “Summer Holiday”, and who is known as the man with the golden voice, had sung numerous Christmas songs. Topping the list is “Mistletoe and Wine”, which became a huge hit when it first got released. His other Christmas songs which had a similar effect on the audiences include “Saviour’s Day”, “November Night” and “Winter Wonderland”. Cliff Richard played a pivotal role in the Christian music as he was a devout Christian who sang many gospel and Christmas numbers.
Another singer who isn’t hogging the limelight, he deserves is Johnny Cash, the country singer. He brings his own flavour to the Christmas table with his soul-stirring numbers like “Christmas Time’s A Comin”, “Christmas with you” and “The Little Drummer Boy”. The beauty of Johnny Cash’s songs is that they bespeak of a rustic tinge with its country touch. What further takes the performance a few notches up is his narration of the story behind the song, enriching it and driving home a few significant points.
John Denver, the popular country singer, rendered the Christmas song “Rudolf the red nose reindeer” in a unique and revolutionary manner. John Denver, whose music has a classic country touch, has sung popular Christmas songs like “Christmas for Cowboys”, “Twelve Days of Christmas”, “The Peace Carol”, “Children of Bethlehem”. His Jingle Bells steps away from the regular theme and has different lyrics that are best-suited for the countryside. He embarks on a mission of giving a different twist to the country lovers with his Christmas songs.
Talking about recent-time singers, who doled out an interesting array of Christmas songs is the group, Pentatonix. The background music that runs parallel to the rendering of their Christmas songs is hugely intoxicating. The humming and foot-tapping beats, add character and quality to their songs. Whether it’s “The First Noel”, “O Come all ye faithful”, “The Silent Night”, “We have heard on High” or the others, the group has its own unique version of the presentation. Although they sound a bit different at times, the group knows how to intoxicate its listeners.
Mariah Carrey is one amongst the few singers who can spin high notes with ease. “All I want for Christmas is you”, “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and “Joy to the world” are numbers that are zesty. She adds her own touch, bringing in a unique semblance. Her soulful rendition has you wanting more. Apart from Mariah Carey, there are many popular artists who sang exciting Christmas numbers. The music group, WHAM’s “Last Christmas” ranks one among the tops.
Then, there’s Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is coming to town” sung in his typical style that blows you away. The other Christmas songs by popular singers include: “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber, “Santa tell me” by Ariana Grande, “Winter Wonderland” by Jason Mraz, “Jingle Bells” by Diana Krall, “Silent Night” by Jackie Evancho, “The 12 Days of Christmas” by Taking Back Sunday, “Carol of the Bells” Destiny’s Child, “Do you Hear What I Hear” Carrie Wood, “This Christmas” by Chris Brown and others that can truly light up the season with joy and cheer.
By: Daniel Indrupati