Song of the Week #12- Holly Jolly Christmas

This week’s song is forever connected with another song.  Holly Jolly Christmas was featured as a key song in the 1964 television special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  The composer for both was Johnny Marks.  He wrote Holly Jolly Christmas specifically for the tv special.  Marks, a devout Jew, was the creator of so many other classics including I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and Run, Run Rudolph.  It is almost impossible to think of Holly Jolly Christmas without thinking of the original singer, Burl Ives.  Ives was from a farming family in Illinois, one of seven children.  He was an active member of his community throughout his life particularly with the Boy Scouts of America, the military, and Freemasonry.  Ives hit the road in the 30s as a road singer before finally settling into radio broadcasts.  The 40s brought war and Ives was drafted into the  US Army where he was assigned to the same group as Irving Berlin to perform for the troops.  Following the war Ives was in Hollywood acting and singing with a brief trouble when he was blacklisted as a Communist.  It was in the 60s that Ives received his most well-known Christmas role as Sam the Snowman and started singing this warming song.  Ives would go on to release updated versions of the tune in 1965 and would forever be associated as a Jolly Snowman singing in the time of Christmas.  Take a listen to some versions of the classic hit:

Rudolph Version– Original song found in the TV special
Michael Buble– Crooner version from his latest Christmas album, with commentary
Scotty McCreery– Idol winner caught on amateur film singing at a charity event
Acapella– SInging group Eight Beat Measure takes on the song with snaps!
Cats!– Youtube video featuring meowing felines
 

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