Song of the Week #17- Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays was written in 1954 by the team of Allen & Stillman.  The original title to the song was “(There’s no place like) Home for the Holidays”.  Thankfully this has been shortened over the years.  The song has become one of the most heart warming songs for Christmas time.  If you listen to the lyrics carefully though, you might get more visions of the Thanksgiving time  (pumpkin pie’s in there after all).  We return to one of the most familiar voices of Christmas for the quintessential “official” recording- Perry Como!  Como actually recorded multiple versions of the song, first in 1954 and soon after in 1959.  The orchestrations were different and the 1959 version is the one we hear most often.  Many have recorded it over the years for their Christmas albums and the song is featured in many a holiday movie.  In 2011 the song was the subject of a T-Mobile flash-mob styled marketing project in Chicago.  Lots of ladies in bright holiday dresses sing and dance their way through the shopping center to the delight of the surprised shoppers.  After watching that, be sure to listen to some great recorded versions:

Perry Como– the best know singer sings it well -live!
Como II– The 1954 original recorded version.
Carpenters– The siblings take a turn at singing the hit. (Richard sings solo for the first time after Karen passed)
Lauper & Jones– Cyndi and Norah croon a little in this duet.

Song of the Week #13- Silver Bells

Silver Bells is another great holiday song.  This is another tune that is all about the season and not at all about Christmas, the holiday, itself.  Not a hymn or carol, just a great timeless holiday classic.  The song was written in 1950 by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  These writers also wrote Mona Lisa, Que Sera Sera, and the theme songs for Bonanza and Mr. Ed.  The song was first used in a movie, The Lemon Drop Kid, sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell.  The film follows a down on his luck con-man who decides to dress as a store front Santa and ring his bell to gain some much-needed money.  In addition to the version from Hope and Maxwell in the film, Bing Crosby and Carol Richards made the first recorded version also out in 1950.  This was so well liked by the public that the movie version was re-recorded to be a greater spectacle before its release in 1951.  Originally the song was titled “Tinkle Bell”.  Livingston quickly realized this had to be changed when he got home and told his wife about the song.  She reminded him that tinkle has another meaning!  The re-titled Silver Bells has gone on to become one of the most highly covered Christmas songs with nearly 500 versions made over the years.  Check out some of the more interesting I found in my search, just click the links below:

Film Version– This is a clip from the original film.  Check out the first Santa, looks a lot like Fred Mertz!
Crosby & Richards– The original recorded version
Perry Como– A performance from his Christmas special, featuring Diahann Carroll
Twisted Sister– An odd cover from the metal guys
Elvis Presley– A recording from his earlier days
Ray Conniff Singers– Just because Natalie needs this one!