Christmas music, as most of us know, gets airtime earlier and earlier. I believe I was shopping in Macyâ€™s–before Halloween– and realized I was humming a Christmas tune. Then I realized the same tune was playing over the storeâ€™s speakers and had seeped into my mind.
That kind of subliminal trickery is exactly what the marketers want. â€œChristmas is coming! Donâ€™t you have your shopping done yet?â€ The lyrics are all about a Silent Night, but the stores want cash registers a-ringing.
In my innocence, I brought my item to the checkout woman who looked at me with an eyebrow arched. â€œSure,â€ she said, â€œI hear you humming. You get to take your purchase and leave. Iâ€™ll be stuck listening to the same Christmas tracks for the next three months.â€
Which brings me to my topic. Because we listen to Christmas songs over and over and over, we develop tolerances for some versions over others. If you think about it, what other genre of music has such a diverse group of artists singing the same songs?
For instance, Iâ€™ve yet to hear Aerosmith do a Christmas album, but everybody from Bing Crosby to Bruce Springsteen to Garth Brooks has covered the oldies and goodies. Groups like Trans-Siberian Orchestra speed up the tempo of our beloved Christmas favorites, and others, like Tony Bennett, slow them down in a cool-cat jazz style. There are classic instrumentals, Â chipmunks crooning, and dogs barking. A little something for everybody.
Over the years Iâ€™ve developed a litmus test on the song Oh Holy Night. To me it is a hard song to master, and if I get goose bumps listening to the artist he/she goes on my list as a winner. If I feel nothing, well, donâ€™t waste my time.
Currently the standings are:
- Michael Crawford
- Andy Williams
- Josh Groban
- Martina McBride
Iâ€™d love to hear Chris Isaak take it on, or Alison Krauss. I know Heart has a new Christmas album out, but havenâ€™t checked to see if they preform Oh Holy Night.
How about you? Any thoughts on the best Oh Holy Night singer? Who would you like to hear tackle this Mt. Everest of songs?