Christmas on the air: The songs I hated – and loved – to play

In the last post, I talked about working in both retail and in radio.  In both careers I got to deal with people, often at their worst.  I also worked on or around Christmas in both jobs, and it is for that reason that I think I never truly appreciated the holiday like I did … Continue reading Christmas on the air: The songs I hated – and loved – to play

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

(Above: The mall used to get a bit trashed on the day after Christmas.) In my career, I have worked in three main areas: Retail (1985-1988). My first job was selling cigarettes to minors at a gas station in Tinley Park, IL. From there I moved to working at the mall. Most of the time … Continue reading ‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)

(Above: Darn, that looks like fun in stereo.) When we think of classic Christmas albums, many of the same names come to mind, but one we don't think of by name was playing on darned near every hi-fi in the country 55 years ago. In 1962 Columbia Records released We Wish You a Merry Christmas, … Continue reading Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)

12+ Blogs of Christmas: Just Like The Ones We Used To Know

(Above: The author, exactly 45 Christmases ago.) Nostalgia is Christmas, and vice-versa. What happens when the family gets together for the holidays?  As Andy Williams put it, "the tales of the glories of Christmases long ago."  So much of the Christmas celebration is tradition. Normally I am opposed to "we've always done it that way," … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: Just Like The Ones We Used To Know

12+ Blogs of Christmas, Airing of Grievances Edition: Bob Rivers, “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” (1988)

(Above: "I gotta lot of problems with you people..." Say the word "festivus," and most people with a handle on popular culture of the 1990s will know exactly what you mean.  The holiday, first introduced to the lexicon by Seinfeld (a show that added such phrases as "double-dipping" and "not that there's anything wrong with … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas, Airing of Grievances Edition: Bob Rivers, “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” (1988)

12+ Blogs of Christmas: We Need a Little… Edge

(Above: The Edge of Christmas, Oglio Records. Another one from my collection.) I don't want to give the wrong impression: I don't dislike Christmas music. In the last piece I talked about how some of the music of the season isn't helping those who are having emotional issues.  (Fun fact: in each of the last … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: We Need a Little… Edge

12+ Blogs of Christmas: We’ll Muddle Through Somehow

(Above: Bummed Out Christmas (Rhino), one of the pieces of my collection.) "What came first - the misery, or the music?" This question, asked by Rob Gordon in High Fidelity (one of my all-time favorite films), is appropriate today. The Christmas season is not all snowflakes and candy canes for everyone.  Depression escalates for some, … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: We’ll Muddle Through Somehow

12+ Blogs of Christmas: Observe the snow.

(Above: Christmastime in Michigan.) If we really wanted to, we could break the songs heard on the radio at the holidays into themes.  There are Christmas songs and there are winter songs.  One could argue that the winter songs could stay in rotation well into February were it not for the fact that by the … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: Observe the snow.

12+ Blogs of Christmas: Mona Abboud, “The Pretty Little Dolly” (1966)

(Above: Johnny's not sure what he signed up for.) 50 years ago tonight - December 15, 1966 - a classic Christmas moment took place on The Tonight Show. Mona Abboud, an actress who performed children's voices in commercials, got her chance to sit on the panel with Johnny Carson. She performed a song about the … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: Mona Abboud, “The Pretty Little Dolly” (1966)

12+ Blogs of Christmas: The Les Tucker Singers*, “Hardrock, Coco, and Joe” (1951)

(Above: It's not Christmas without these puppets.) You can take the boy out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago out of the boy. Get in a discussion with anyone of a certain age about growing up in Chicago, and the discussion inevitably turns to local television, especially for kids. It's amazed me how many … Continue reading 12+ Blogs of Christmas: The Les Tucker Singers*, “Hardrock, Coco, and Joe” (1951)