Monday, December 10, 2012

Top 10 Classic Christmas Songs for Christmas Slideshow

classic Christmas songs

There must be a Christmas songs list in everyone's mind. Christmas is really an important festival we should celebrate to our hearts' content in the whole year. Of course, Christmas songs shouldn't be fogetten anyway.

If you are preparing for a family Christmas party, enjoy these best Christmas songs during singing; If you are thinking about DIY a Christmas gift for your family members, maybe a Christmas slideshow, there is nothing better than classic Christmas songs below to be your background music in your presentations.
  • Joy to the World
  • This uplifting, much arranged favourite carol is set to a text by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), a paraphrase of Psalm 98. Not to be confused with the band Three Dog Night’s hit version (which opens “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”), the tune’s origins are unclear: it has been misattributed to Handel, and first appeared in English and American hymnals from the 1830s. John Rutter’s arrangement is a choral classic. But this song explodes into entirely different life in the extravagant declamation of gospel singing or the sweetness of Bulgarian children’s voices. Take 6 included it on their Christmas medley and Whitney Houston gives it a nice soulful edge.
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • First sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was an immediate hit – with 100,000 orders for the music the next morning and 400,000 by Christmas. With lyrics by “Haven” Gillespie, the tune was said to have been sketched out by American songwriter John Frederick Coots in about 10 minutes. The earliest recordings are by banjo player Harry Reser (1934) and tinkly George Hall and his orchestra. Nat King Cole came soon after and the Jackson 5 added their own unmistakable harmonies.
  • In the Bleak Midwinter
  • The poet Christina Rossetti, closely associated, through her artist brother Dante, with the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and a devotee of Anglo-Catholicism, had no intention of having her verses – published after her death – turned into a Christmas carol, first in 1906 by Holst and then in the version by Harold Darke (1909). Neither composer censored the line “a breastful of milk” but many hymnal editors since have omitted that verse, presumably to spare clerical blushes and Sunday-school giggles. Its theology may be a bit suspect, but in a recent poll choir directors voted it their favourite.
  • Once in Royal David’s City
  • The sound of a fresh-faced solo treble opening the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge means the start of Christmas for many millions who hear or see the broadcast worldwide. Sufjan Stevens offers a non-saccharine alternative. The text is by the religious Irish poet CF Alexander, who wrote it for her ungodly godsons in the hope of improving their minds and souls. The tune “Irby” is by Henry Gauntlett, a prolific Victorian hymn-writer and organist who also had a career as a lawyer since, his father warned, musicians were susceptible to “temptations of the flesh”. How right he was.
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Composer Leroy Anderson had the idea for “Sleigh Ride” in the middle of a heatwave in July 1946. Tin Pan Alley lyricist Mitchell Parish, whose family were Jewish-Lithuanian immigrants, wrote the words. Starting with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops in 1949, it’s been widely recorded: Ella Fitzgerald swings, Andy Williams croons in various keys, the Ronettes buzz and whinny, Denise Van Outen shimmies. Last Christmas the Royal Opera House orchestra gave a famous whip-along performance with Antonio Pappano. The Three Tenors’ bad English version is side-splitting.
  • The Christmas Song
  • Better known by its opening line, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, this classic ballad was written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells in 1944. The lyrics capture every Christmas-card tradition (except Jesus): Jack Frost, Yuletide, mistletoe, turkey, Santa, reindeers, cold noses and even “Eskimos”. Nat King Cole made the first recording, a gentle rendition, in 1946. His daughter Natalie made a ballad version with him and also with Andrea Bocelli. Frank Sinatra caresses the tune, Diana Krall is smoky and bluesy. The best version is Tormé himself singing it with Judy Garland in 1965.
  • Away in a Manger
  • This is often the first Christmas carol children learn, even though words such as “manger” and “crib” are not in most pre-school-age vocabularies. The tune, its origins untraceable and once wrongly attributed to Martin Luther but probably written in the 19th century, has a thin, faltering quality which sounds best sung slowly, not always tunefully but with maximum concentration by the very young.
  • Silent Night
  • The words were written by Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest in the Alpine village of Oberndorf on Christmas Eve 1816. According to popular legend, two years later the village organ broke down so the composer Franz Gruber provided a tune for guitar, completed in time for Christmas midnight mass. Nothing beats the Vienna Boys’ Choir or the St Thomas Choir, Leipzig singing in the original German (“Stille Nacht”). A favourite for female solo artists, from Mahalia Jackson to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé and Katherine Jenkins. The most soulful is Sam Cooke and his Soul Stirrers' version.
  • Walking in the Air
  • In 1982, as if it had been around for centuries, the animated TV film of Raymond Briggs’s book The Snowman embedded itself in the national consciousness, becoming an instant Christmas tradition with a brilliant, haunting theme song by Howard Blake. Blake developed it from one of his own earlier choral pieces. The original was sung by St Paul’s choirboy Peter Auty, uncredited for a long time and now an operatic tenor. But the boy who took it into the charts in 1985, and who was made famous by it, was that cherubic young Welsh boy Aled Jones. A new generation is discovering the song at the Peacock theatre, London until 8 January.
  • White Christmas
  • Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” for the wartime musical film Holiday Inn (1942) starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and based on the unpromising idea of an inn which only opened on public holidays (hence another song on the soundtrack, “Happy Holidays”). The song topped the charts in October that year and stayed there for 11 weeks. Berlin had the idea for the song on the set of Top Hat, thinking it would be a good Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers duet. The huge success of “White Christmas” led to a film of that name in 1954 starring Bing Crosby. It remains his signature tune. No one sings it better.


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