So many songs to choose from and it's taken a bit of time to narrow it down to ten - not all of them are traditional, and there's one that I'm sneaking in that's not a Christmas song in any way, shape or form - you'll understand when you read further. So many great songs that didn't make my list - Wham's Last Christmas, Elvis singing I'll be Home for Christmas, Mud's Lonely this Christmas, Chris De Burgh's A Spaceman Came Calling, East 17's Stay Another Day, Bing Crosby's White Christmas, and of course Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas. Also worth mentions are the traditional carols O Come All Ye Faithful, Good King Wenceslas, Away in a Manger, The Holly and the Ivy, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.
Make sure you have your speakers turned up and I apologise if any of the videos don't play in your part of the world.
In no particular order:
1. O Holy Night: this is a beautiful song that once I hear it, it sticks in my head for hours. The words are beautiful and if it's not sung at TV carol concerts I think something is missing. This song has a really interesting history - the words were written by the French wine merchant Placide Cappeau and the music written by Adolphe Charles Adams in 1847. For a time it was banned by French churches because they felt it was too secular. Final fun fact, is that it was the first song ever played over the radio in 1906.
2. Blue Christmas: A song that is instantly associated with Elvis and yet he wasn't the first to record it and he wasn't the first to get it to number one on the charts. It was written in 1948 by Jay W Johnson and Billy Hayes, and recorded by Doye O'Dell. In fact, according to the world wide web, the song has been covered by over 250 artists. I like this version because if you didn't know better you would think that Martina McBride was actually in the video but this was created with lots of digital trickery in 2008.
3. After All: Here's my sneaky addition that's not a Christmas song but one I always listen to in December because it was mine and Ken's first dance at our wedding. It was written by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow for the film Chances Are - love it so much and if you haven't seen it you must watch it. It's sung by Cher and Peter Cetera and I just love the words to it as it feels like it was written just for us.
4. The First Noel: one of my favourite carols and love this performance by Lady Antebellum.
5: Fairytale of New York: the anti Christmas song but it's one that I love singing along to even though the words are slightly questionable. It was written by the Pogues and features the angelic voice of Kirsty MacColl alongside Shane MacGowan's beautifully rough voice.
6. The Christmas Song: Written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells in 1945.
7. All I want for Christmas is you: Written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff and released in 1994 - I have to admit it is one of my favourite Christmas songs and I love it in the film Love Actually which would be in my top ten Christmas films.
8. Where Are You Christmas: this is the most modern of the songs I've included and was written by James Horner, Will Jennings, and Mariah Carey for the film The Grinch (2000). It's sung by Faith Hill and I love it.
9. River: I'm just going to put this out there, I'm not a fan of Joni Mitchell, which to my beloved is a total sacrilege - according to him no one else comes close to her talents as a singer. Personally I think most of her music is very maudlin and depressing, but yes, one of her songs has made it into my list, but only if Robert Downey Jr is singing it. Mitchell put River on her album Blue which was released in 1971, but it became a moment I loved from the Christmas episode in season four of Ally McBeal.
10. Silent Night: another beautiful carol that couldn't be missed out of my list and here Katherine Jenkins sings it perfectly. It's the sort of carol that feels like it should be sung at midnight on Christmas eve as it evokes a sense of peace and stillness.
This is a bonus track after the news that Greg Lake, of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, has died. Here is his famous song, I Believe in Father Christmas, for you to enjoy.
Hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into my slightly eclectic music tastes and I hope these songs have well and truly filled you with the spirit of Christmas. Before you leave why don't you pop over to Tamara's blog to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with - click HERE to visit.
Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something special just for yourself this week.
Pamela & Ken