You may know that I am an extremely active Christmas music enthusiast. My other blog, ChristmasMusicEveryday.com offers a free holiday song streaming every day of the year. Since it debuted last Thanksgiving I have offered over 200 great songs, from my private collection of thousands, with no duplication of artist or title. My hope is that the site will expose others to the wonderful and varied nature of seasonal records, far beyond the same 12 standards that get jammed down our ears every December on radio and TV.
Speaking of TV, today's song of the day is called (I Want A) Television Christmas and it has a fascinating back story. Recorded by young Mindy Carson in 1949 it was a promotional disc (a 78, in fact!) that RCA provided to retailers to help sell some of those newfangled "radios with pictures" to the more adventurous and well-heeled members of the public that Christmas shopping season.
I pulled that song out of my library the other day after a conversation with a new friend and fellow collector named Mitchell Kezin. He told me that is the song he plans to use in the opening credits of the documentary film he is making called Jingle Bell Rocks!. He describes it on his website as, "an exclusive backstage pass into a fascinating underground world of alternative Christmas music...".
Why a movie about the people who make, play and collect the songs most people only make time for for four weeks a year? Here's Mitchell again:
"Today’s holiday season is a volatile concoction of the ridiculous and the sublime, the sacred and the profane. As we muddle our way through the stresses and expectations of the season, Christmas music can remind us why we go to so much trouble.
It can restore our sense of wonder, immerse us in nostalgia, instill a sentimental fantasy or create an entirely new musical experience of how the holiday ought to be. Some people love it, and others hate it, but almost everyone seems to have an opinion.
For those who love it, Christmas music helps us connect — to each other, to our pasts, to a centuries-old communal experience — all in a peculiarly modern way.
No other musical genre flows through the bloodstream of popular culture like Christmas music does. Our appetite for it seems insatiable, but it comes and goes so predictably each year that few, if any of us, ever stop to consider what it really means.
Featuring some of the merriest and most fascinating songs ever inspired by the festive season, JINGLE BELL ROCKS! opens our eyes and ears to an irreverent musical universe where cynical songs co-exist with heartfelt one-hit wonders, where the merry mash-ups of today challenge the chestnuts of old, and where perennial favourites keep company with a host of seasonal pop oddities. In doing so, the film reveals the many faces of the holiday — love and longing, irony and hope, sentiment and spirituality — and the uniqueness of the music that takes us there."
JingleBellRocks.com has much more information that I have room for here about what will be in the movie, how you can contribute to its progress and, quite simply, the best collection of Christmas music site links on the internet, even if the one closest to my heart hasn't made the list yet. (Ahem)
P.S. Warning! If you follow my friends and me into the wonderful year-round world of Santa and reindeer and candy canes and mistletoe and the Baby Jesus, you may never again fit in with the seasonally challenged who surround you. Just yesterday I got a funny look at a stop light in West Seattle for blasting Chuck Berry's Run Rudolph Run on my car stereo.