Spending Christmas with the Blues, by Floyd Miles and Gregg Allman (1996)
Music is my life's blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it's all said and done, I'll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, "Nice work, little brother—you did all right." I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast.
What Lucy Really Wants for Christmas, by the Cast of Peanuts (1965)
If you grew up in the '60s, chances are you spent at least several nights in front of your TV each year during the lead-up to Christmas watching a litany of hard-to-forget holiday cartoon specials -- broadcasts that were as much a part of the Christmas holiday season as your Christmas stocking and the family advent calendar. You know the ones I'm talking about here -- they were on every year, you never missed a one of them, and they each featured a song or two that you can still sing today as easily as "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World." There was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964), "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966), "The Little Drummer Boy" (1968), "Frosty the Snowman" (1969), and perhaps the most beloved of them all, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965). That's the broadcast this very short clip was taken from, and it remains a great favorite of mine to this day.
If you don't already own your own copy of this holiday classic, I recommend that you buy the 50th Anniversary Deluxe edition from amazon.com today, It's now available for less than ten bucks and it includes a feature titled "A Christmas Miracle: The Making of a Charlie Brown Christmas," which I found to be entertaining and chock full of interesting details.
Buy the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition from amazon.com
See TIME Magazine's list of the 10 Greatest Christmas TV Specials from Your Childhood
I've Got Some Presents for Santa, by Sarah Taylor and Bill Mumy (1994)
|Bill Mumy (fifth from left) and the cast of Lost in Space (1966).|
I couldn't resist including this song in the mix -- not so much because of the naughty element, although that was surely a factor -- but rather because the song was written and performed by Sarah Taylor and Bill Mumy. If Mumy's name sounds familiar to you I'm not surprised. He was the star of one of my favorite TV shows growing up -- the '60s classic "Lost in Space," on which he played the pre-teen astronaut Will Robinson. He also played young Anthony Fremont in "It's a Good Life," one of the most memorable episodes of another cult classic, "The Twilight Zone." But in recent years, Mumy's been more of a musician than an actor, and once the kids are in bed, this isn't such a bad little song to stick on the Victrola. Give it a listen HERE.
Watch Bill Mumy discuss the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life"
Listen to Bill Mumy Discuss His "Lost in Space" Castmates
Hasmonean (A Hamilton Hanukkah), by The Maccabeats (2016)
The Maccabeats have done it again! Several years ago, this Orthodox Jewish a cappella group hit it big with the Hanukkah-themed "Candlelight," which was a take-off on the the Taio Cruz smash hit "Dynamite." This year, they've turned the score of the biggest Broadway show in years into yet another catchy celebration of December's most popular eight-night holiday. As with "Candlelight," "Hasmonean" is more than merely entertaining. There's a solid history lesson here, too – along with a heavy dose of the kind of special energy that's made Lynn Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" such a runaway success.
We'll be back with additional commentary sometime soon.