December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

I love creating playlists of Christmas music as much as I love creating playlists the other 11 months of the year.
The best Christmas playlist I ever heard was the three-hour Christmas special on WBLM in Portland, Maine. I was travelling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day several times in the late 90s, and this special was very good company. Picture Meg Ryan at the beginning of You've Got Mail but more rockin; The special consisted of many of the "Christmas songs by rock bands" we hear so often in December, mixed together with pop-culture tidbits from our favorite TV shows and movies, and an ongoing news report from NORAD, tracking Santa's progress from the North Pole by radar.
"Horses horses horses..."
A year or two after I first heard that special, I was hired at WBLM as a DJ and producer, and I got to meet and thank the Production Director who created it (damnit I forget his name!) Thankfully for me, I managed to make a cassette copy of the whole three-hour special off his master tape...where are those cassettes?
Since then I've been creating my own Christmas playlist. It's not 3 hours long, but its in that same spirit. Unlike my other 150+ playlists on this blog, each time I create a new Christmas playlist, the song selection only evolves, I don't turn over the whole list for twenty new songs each time. Here's my playlist for 2014:

1.      "Sleigh Ride" Fun.
2.      "Valley Winter Song" Fountains Of Wayne
3.      "Jingle Bells" Ella Fitzgerald
4.      "The Evil Santa" Bill Murray & Gilda Radner*
5.      "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" U2
6.      "I'll Be Home For Christmas" Aimee Mann
7.      "Christmas Wrapping" The Waitresses
8.      "Rod Serling Explains Christmas" Christopher Guest*
9.      "Winter Wonderland" Ray Charles (from When Harry Met Sally)
10.   The Beatles Christmas Fan Club Record 1963
11.  "Hang Yourself Now" This mashup by DJ BC rearranges the lyrics of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" to very comedic effect: "Faithful friends who are dear to us...will be miles hang yourself now!"
12.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Diahann Carroll
13.  "The Littlest Christmas Tree" Brian Doyle-Murray*
14.  "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
15. Michael BublĂ© & Shania Twain singing The Drifters arrangement of  "White Christmas" 
16.  "Christmas Time Is Here" Tony Bennett singing the song from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
17.  "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" She & Him
18.   The Birth Of Santa? Produced by Nat Woodward**
19.  "All I Want For Christmas Is You" Idina Menzel
20.  "Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)" Elvis Presley
21.   Chrisssssmassss! Produced by Nat Woodward**
22.  "Wonderful Christmastime" Paul McCartney's original recording is to tinny and cheap, any cover has to improve on his boring arrangement. Thank you The Shins!
23.  "The Christmas Song" Paul McCartney
24.  "Auld Lang Syne" Guy Lombardo
25.  "Skating" Vince Guaraldi Trio
*Tracks 4, 8, and 13 are from the National Lampoon Radio Hour, an early 70s syndicated radio show/precursor to Saturday Night Live.
**Tracks 18 and 21 are radio "sweepers" I produced for a now-defunct radio station.