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Friday, December 15, 2017

#11 - Top 25 Christmas Songs (According To Me)

It seems hard to believe that there is only ten days left before Christmas arrives.  And here in the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, we have been counting down the twenty-five Christmas tunes that fill me up with Christmas cheer.

This is
Day #15 in the countdown which means that I will be posting song #11 today. 

Before I do that though, I want to make a little bit of a confession.

Now, when it comes to Christmas traditions, there certainly are a lot of them to be found.  Living in Canada where the chances of having a white Christmas are quite high, a lot of activities involved snow.  My favourite was tobogganing down the many hills in my small town and seeing just how fast I could go on my little sled.  I also liked building snow forts in the backyard, and building snowmen in the front yard, and making snow angels.

But do you want to know one winter activity that I have never done in what will soon be my thirty-seventh Christmas?

I have never gone on a sleigh ride.

I have always wanted to experience it just one.  Have the bright red carriage attached to a couple of horses and having them pull me through a pathway where we could see the Christmas lights on the houses and the snow atop the evergreen trees.  It is something that I have always wanted to experience, but I have never done it yet.

(Mainly because I haven't found anyone to share the experience with.  Sleigh rides by yourself would probably be incredibly dull.)

Until that day comes, I guess the only way I can experience it is through song. 

And at #11 on my countdown, we have the Ronettes with their interpretation of the song "Sleigh Ride".

Now, it might surprise you to know that when "Sleigh Ride" was first released in the 1940s, it was actually composed in the middle of summer!  Leroy Anderson began writing the song in July 1946 during what was one of the hottest days of the month, and by 1949, the original version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops was performed for the first time.

Of course, over the last seventy years, many artists have covered this single both with and without the lyrics.  And some of the artists who have performed this classic tune (for better or for worse) include Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Amy Grant, Debbie Gibson, TLC, and Glen Campbell.

But I think when it comes down to it, I prefer the version by the Ronettes the best - and it's not because of the ring a ling a ling a ding dong ding part either (though that section always made me smile as a kid and still does now).

No, the reason why I like that version so much was because it was the one I grew up hearing the most - even more than the instrumental versions that shopping malls play three weeks before Christmas in a continuous loop.  Whenever the radio station played "Sleigh Ride", it was almost always the Ronettes version.  I can definitely see why that was the case.  The Ronettes were one of the hottest all-girl groups during that time period and they definitely had the singing chops to put their own spin on the tune.

Now, this wasn't the only Christmas tune that the Ronettes have released.  The song appeared on "A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector", and the Ronettes also contributed "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman" to the compilation.  But there was something about "Sleigh Ride" that stood out more, and became the biggest Christmas hit for the group.  Even all these years later, the song is still widely popular on Christmas charts and is downloaded quite often from iTunes and Spotify.

I'm not afraid to admit that I have it downloaded onto my iPod right now.  My hope is that one day if I do go on a sleigh ride, I can listen to this song as it happens.  Wouldn't that be a Christmas dream come true?

Now, I hope you have been paying attention to the list of artists who have also recorded "Sleigh Ride" within this article.  Because one of them is the subject of our #10 song.  And as the days get closer to Christmas, I can see that it's starting to look a little more like...oh, wait.  I said too much. 

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