Song of the Week #14- Feliz Navidad

This week we narrow in on one of the top 25 most played and recorded Christmas songs around the globe.  In 1970 Jose Feliciano released a Christmas album titled Feliz Navidad.  Feliciano was a popular recording artist at the time.  His story was well-known by many.  Born blind in Puerto Rico, Feliciano and his family would move to Spanish Harlem in NY when he was just 5 years old.  He was always musical and got his start playing the accordion before moving to the guitar at  age 9.  Jose listened to all music: rock, jazz, and classical.  He penned many great songs including Light My Fire.  Feliz Navidad might very well be his most successful hit of all.

The title track from that Christmas album was a super success.  It is a simple song with simple lyrics in Spanish and English.  The Spanish main message is “Feliz Navidad, prospero ano y felicidad” translated as “Merry Christmas, a prosperous year, and happiness”.  In English we hear “I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart”.  I truly believe that this simple message wishing  joy and happiness to others is why this song is so popular.  (Wishes are it, remember!)  Listen to a couple of recordings to get a better sense of the song’s appeal:

Jose Feliciano– The original version with some goofy graphics!
Celine Dion– The “greatest singer in the world” gives the greatest song a whirl.
Dora the Explorer– A little break to sing during a holiday expedition
Big Bird– Skating to the classic with the best bird on TV
Boney M– Most popular version in the UK and much of Europe