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Archive for December, 2011

2011 Holiday Top 5 * 3

It’s that time of year and it’s time for my Holiday Top 5 but I thought five tracks just weren’t enough for this list so I’m delivering you a bonus. This Top 5 list is actually my top 15 (5 times 3) favorite holiday music tracks for 2011. When it comes to holiday music, I’m a fan of the classics but I’m betting you’ll find a few surprises in this list as well. I hope you enjoy the list and find something new to add to your collection of holiday music.

Holiday 2011 Top 5

Starting with number 15 and counting down, here’s the first set of five.

15. “Hannukkah Hey Ya!” – Smooth-E – YouTube
14. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra – iTunes
13. “Run Rudolph Run” – Chuck Berry – iTunes
12. “Santa Stole My Lady” – Fitz & The Tantrums – iTunes
11. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Kelly Sweet – iTunes

Yes I know “Hannukkah Hey Ya!” is goofy but, I like it. I’m sorry I couldn’t find this track available for for download, though I’m willing to bet not many of you want to add it to your collection anyway. Just check out the YouTube video and if you enjoy that, check out Smooth-E, a.k.a. Eric Schwartz’s other videos and his website. “Oy is just Yo backwards.”

Though the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is featured in just about every over-the-top Christmas lights video these days and though by now it’s probably the bane of any neighbor who lives next to one of those Clark Griswold meets Las Vegas strip holiday home decorators, I still enjoy “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)”.

At number 12, “Santa Stole My Lady” is a new track for 2011. It reminds me of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Perhaps these artists are on to something, is Santa just a gigolo in disguise? I have seen plenty of young women sitting on his lap and smiling. Guys, don’t say you weren’t warned about the jolly old man in the plus red suit. Santa’s got game! If you enjoy this track from Fitz & The Tantrums, be sure to also listen to “MoneyGrabber”.

If you like Kelly Sweet’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” then you’ll want to look for her music on Amazon. Overall, Kelly Sweet doesn’t have a large collection of music but iTunes only offers a few of her tracks. You’ll find a better selection on Amazon.

10. “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” – Bing Crosby & David Bowie – iTunesYouTube
9. “Sleigh Ride” – Ella Fitzgerald – iTunes
8. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”- Brenda Lee – iTunes
7. “Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms – iTunes
6. “Little Saint Nick” – The Beach Boys – iTunes

There’s no real surprises here, my favorites from number 6 to 10 are all classic versions of holiday tunes that I’m sure you’ve all heard many times before. I’ve included links to iTunes for all of these tracks but for the Bing Crosby / David Bowie duet, you really have to watch the YouTube video so see the interactions between Bing and David. There’s a bit of awkwardness to the whole thing. My friend Tom does this really funny bit about what Bing really thinks of David. I can’t remember how it goes but it’s something along the lines of how Crosby has more integrity in his pinky finger than Bowie. “You kids get off my lawn!” 🙂

So that just leaves my Top 5. Here they are…

5. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Lee Ann Womack & Harry Connick Jr. – iTunes
4. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – David Archuleta & Charice Pempengco – iTunes
3. “Sleigh Ride” – Johnny Mathis – iTunes
2. “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year” – Rosie Thomas – iTunes
1. “The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole – iTunes

Holiday 2011 Album Covers

At number 5 it’s one of many renditions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. I enjoy a lot of vocal jazz tracks and this is one of them. I can’t say I listen to Lee Ann Womack much. Including this track, I only have three of her songs in my collection. I’m also not a fan of Harry Connick Jr. but I like the pairing of these two on this track.

Coming in at number 4 on my list this version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a great one. Here again are two artists that I can’t say I really know much about. David Archuleta has a pretty nice collection of Christmas music on his album Christmas from the Heart. Charice Pempengco is a young singer from the Philippines who I first discovered on the Ellen show back in 2007. If you haven’t see her perform “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” on Ellen, search for it on YouTube. It’s an incredible performance from a 15 year old girl.

My Dad was a big fan of Johnny Mathis and because of this I know the lyrics to more Johnny Mathis tunes than I care to admit. My Dad would always break out the Johnny Mathis Christmas albums at this time of the year. Johnny’s version of “Sleigh Ride” is my favorite. For all my childhood memories of Christmas and of my Dad this track has made it to number 3 on my list.

Number 2 on my list is a track that I found almost by accident. If I’m not mistaken, Amazon offered “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year” in their 25 Days of Christmas collection of free downloads a few years ago. This song by Rosie Thomas is different, fresh, upbeat and just plain fun.

Finally, at number 1 on my list is another classic. When I was growing up, Nat King Cole received just about as much “air play” as Johnny Mathis. Nat King Cole’s Christmas album would faithfully be loaded on the turntable every year with my Dad as the DJ. Aptly named, “The Christmas Song” is the epitome of Christmas music. This version of the track is actually the fourth time Nat King Cole recorded this track. This version was recorded in 1961 and is the version that I remember my Dad playing. This is the first version of the song that was recorded in stereo. The original recording dates back to 1946.

Before I close out this post, I wanted to take a moment to recognize my father and the influence he had on my life. Though my Dad hasn’t been with us to celebrate the holidays since 2005, he’s always with us in spirit. I’ll always remember my Dad when I hear Nat King Cole singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” or any time I hear Johnny Mathis. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you and here’s to the loved ones that you may be thinking about this holiday season.

Hottest New Dance Tracks – Winter 2011

Top 5

I think it’s time for another Top 5 list. Before we get into this one, I just wanted to point out that the Top 5 list is going to become a regular feature on my blog. Several years ago, I had the idea for a blog where everything was a Top 5 list. Inspiration for a blog based on Top 5 lists came from one of my favorite films, High Fidelity. In the film the main character Rob Gordon, played by John Cusack, laments a breakup with his girlfriend Laura. Rob is an audiophile, record store owner and a obsessed list maker. Throughout the film Rob takes the audience through several his own Top 5 lists, including his Top 5 most memorable breakups.

I’m not a compulsive list maker like Rob but I can relate to the character. If you’re into music there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the film. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth renting.

This time I’m taking a look at the hottest new dance tracks for Winter 2011. All of these tracks are recent releases that seem to be filling the dance floors. Though some of these tracks may have been released months ago, they are still the most recent releases that are popular with guests at my events.

5. “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 – iTunes
4. “Where Dem Girls At (Ray Core Remix)” – David Guetta – iTunes
3. “Blackout” – Breathe Carolina – iTunes
2. “You Make Me Feel…” – Cobra Starship – iTunes
1. “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO – iTunes

What are your favorite new dance tracks?