Holidays are for list-making. That's why this edition of HCYF is a little ramshackle. See, my brain's been scrambled lately because I made the harrowing decision to listen to a full day of Christmas music—on soft-rock station 103.3 FM of all things—two Saturdays ago, and I haven't stopped since. Somehow—even after countless "Feliz Navidads," God knows how many "Feed the Worlds" and even some sort of boy-band number that could easily be reinterpreted as SNL's "Dick in a Box" (YouTube it already)—it feels wrong to tune out before Santa comes to town. In the process, I've learned a few things I'd like to share with you, dear reader.
Cheesiness is more acceptable at Christmastime: Turns out, I sometimes like Mariah Carey. Her "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is one of the most fun numbers in the holiday catalog, and I'll take it over Kenny G (who has skill but no style, I'm afraid) any day. Other cheese-filled treats include Whitney Houston's mega-gospel "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and Wham!'s "Last Christmas."
R&B girl groups' holiday tunes never get old: The Ronettes' "Frosty the Snowman" and the Supremes' "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" make for a very merry Christmas, indeed.
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is perhaps only better when sung by actual children: namely, the Jackson 5.
The original lyrics to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are a real bummer: Apparently (I learned this on the morning show) the original, sung-by-Judy Garland, recorded-for-Meet Me In St. Louis version was later altered to up the cheeriness ante. The most notable lyric change: "Hang a shining star from the highest bough" used to be "We'll muddle through somehow." Ugh.
The Carpenters use "Christmas" as a verb.
As far as I've heard, 103.3 doesn't play tracks from Billy Idol's Happy Holidays, but I bet if he would've recorded "White Wedding" and subbed the word "Christmas," instead of going all traditional on us, it would've been an instant classic.
John Tesh hosts quite possibly the most ridiculous radio show ever: John Tesh—yes, Bible-banging, Entertainment Tonight-hosting, adult contemporary music-making John Tesh—hosts a syndicated radio show on 103.3 called Music and Intelligence For Your Life (7 pm-midnight weeknights). He tells you things like, "If you're at a holiday party and the host looks overwhelmed, offer to help out." My problem is not so much with Tesh's tidbits of "wisdom," but with the fact that anyone finds this useful. His whole show is rendered moot with just a few simple statements: Don't be an idiot. Use common sense. Be a decent person. If you need John Tesh and his whiter-than-white teeth to tell you how to do these things, you're probably too far gone for help.
Mannheim Steamroller is only one dude: His name is Chip Davis, and he is not in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, though both are epic, instrumental and über-dramatic. Confusing, I know.