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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#14 - Top 25 Christmas Songs (According To Me!)

On the twelfth day of the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, my true love gave to me...another song to add to the list of the Top 25 Christmas songs!

Okay, it doesn't rhyme, but I never said I was into poetry.

Apparently today has also brought us a ton of snow!  I mean, as I type this, snow continues to fall from the heavens creating both a winter wonderland as well as treacherous roads and sidewalks.  Stay safe to everyone who is in the area of major blizzard like weather!

And no, today's song selection is not "Winter Wonderland" or "Let It Snow".  I reckon if I posted either of those songs today, I'd probably get a snowball shoved down my throat.

Instead, I thought that I would choose a song that one could listen to while thawing out from the icy cold blast of wintry air.  After all, the singer of this song had a voice that was so warm and so pure that she could easily turn Frosty the Snowman into a gigantic puddle of water!

Well, at least in my opinion anyway.

At #14 on the countdown, we have the Carpenters with the song "Merry Christmas Darling". 

Karen Carpenter passed away incredibly young...she was only thirty-two when she died from complications caused by the effects of anorexia.  And what a tragic loss it was for the recording industry.  Karen Carpenter's voice was one that could never be replicated.  I mean, she could sing the Encyclopedia Britannica and still send warm fuzzies down your spine.

So, the idea that the Carpenters would record a Christmas song seemed inevitable from the very beginning.  And sometime in between the releases of "We've Only Just Begun" and "For All We Know" came the classic "Merry Christmas Darling".  It's a tune that is both lovely as well as heartbreaking, as the song is about two people who are spending the holidays separately - which admittedly was a lot more common than one might think.  Remember that this single was released in 1970 and the Vietnam War was going on during that time, so in that aspect I can only imagine that it hit home for a lot of families during that time.

Now, the original version was released in 1970, was re-issued in 1974, and was remixed in 1978 with Carpenter laying down new vocals.  However, Richard Carpenter (Karen's brother) was quoted as saying that the 1970 version was the best version and that Karen's voice was at its prime then. 

The song peaked at #41 on the Cashbox charts (there was no placement on the Billboard charts as there weren't any Christmas singles included on the chart at that time), but on the official Christmas charts, the song peaked at #1 in 1970, 1971, and 1973!

Kind of makes one wonder what the #1 song was for 1972, huh?

Now, why does this song hold a special place in my own holiday celebrations?  Well, you can thank my Mom for that one.  Years ago, a friend of hers made her a cassette tape that had the whole Carpenters Christmas Portrait album and gave it to her for a Christmas gift - and since then it was played at our household for years to come - at least until the tape player ate the tape.

I guess this gives me a gift idea though!  So, have a listen to this beautiful tune.

Tomorrow, we'll reach the halfway point of the Christmas countdown.  And I can tell you that the next song on my list comes from this album featured below...but which song is it?

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