Natalie and I often toss a version of this line around in our writings and discussions. We even use a little piece of the tune as our end of broadcast tag. We like to get to the roots of Christmas songs and figure out what they’re all about. The tune We Need a Little Christmas was written as part of the Broadway musical Mame. The song was first recorded by Angela Lansbury as part of the cast recording in 1966. As part of the action in the show Mame loses everything in the stock market crash of 1929. She decides to cheer everyone up by bringing in Christmas a little early- they need a little Christmas. It’s funny that in the 60’s the show included a line mid-song that said to Mame that it was too early for Christmas since it was just “one week past Thanksgiving”. My how times have changed! Today Christmas seems to begin, commercially at least, immediately following the clearing of the Halloween candy and costumes from the shelf. The line in the show has been adjusted to just “one week from Thanksgiving” to reflect our changes that almost everyone is into Christmas mode immediately after Thanksgiving.
The song has become a holiday regular on the playlist and there are many recorded versions. You should certainly become familiar with the original Angela Lansbury recording. Curious to me was the Lucille Ball performance from the movie version. More modern versions include those kids from Glee and the Muppets too. I’ll go on the record here and say my favorite recording is from Percy Faith from the late 60’s. What really gets me is the girls singing all those “do-do-do-do, do-da-do-da-do’s”. Percy added the female chorus to keep up with his label partner Ray Conniff who had been recording with his “singers” for years. (Gotta connect it all to Ray- right Natalie?)
Here are the lyrics to help you sing along:Haul out the holly Put up the tree before my spirit falls again Fill up the stocking I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now For we need a little Christmas Right this very minute Candles in the window Carols at the spinet Yes, we need a little Christmas Right this very minute It hasn’t snowed a single flurry But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry So climb down the chimney Turn on the brightest string of light I’ve ever seen Slice up the fruitcake It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough For I’ve grown a little leaner Grown a little colder Grown a little sadder Grown a little older And I need a little angel Sitting on my shoulder Need a little Christmas now For we need a little music Need a little laughter Need a little singing Ringing through the rafter And we need a little snappy “Happy ever after” Need a little Christmas now