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Christmas – It’s That Time Of Year… To Hear Everything

Going to various places in New York City during this holiday season, Christmas songs of every era played constantly.

I heard the classics, such as ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘The Christmas Song’ (“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”), ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, on through ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’, ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, up to ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and many, many more, from the ubiquitous (like these) to the relatively obscure, from just about every style of popular music.

I think every songwriter would like to have one of these perennials in their catalogue.

This year I found myself in a corner deli listening to Bing Crosby (singing ‘White Christmas’), at my sister’s listening to Sinatra’s Christmas album (the family standard), in a restaurant in Florida listening to Perry Como sing (I had to Shazam that), in a clothing store listening to James Brown throw down a Christmas song… it never stopped!

At some point I realized that every day leading up to Christmas I was hearing music from a period spanning close to a century – from around the 1930s through right now.

And I realized that this is the only time of year when in any one public place I ever hear music from so many different eras played all together – Bing Crosby followed by Otis Redding followed by Mariah Carey.

Usually, if I’m not in a store hearing current hits, I’m in a restaurant that plays ’80s or ‘90s music, or a cafe that plays R&B from the ’60s/’70s, or a diner that plays ‘classic rock’, etc., etc. These days public places (and listeners in general) tend to pick their eras pretty specifically.

So Christmas ends up being the only time of the year when the era gets set aside in favor of the theme – of Christmas. And we get to listen to a cross-section of almost a century of classic American Popular Music through that prism. Our songs reflect our social history. Not to mention that many of them are beautiful songs.

So you might consider keeping this perspective in mind when Christmas comes around again. This century-wide playlist only happens once a year. And even though it’s unfortunately limited – Christmas and Christmas songs – it’s still a special thing.

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