Today has been a joyous day for me. Nearly two months ago, my mom was walking into a small cafe in a small town in eastern Indiana when she trip over something while entering the establishment, falling on left hip and breaking it. It happened just days before her 81st birthday. She had complete hip replacement surgery, was kept in the hospital for three or four days, then sent to a rehabilitation center. There, she worked on strengthening exercises, while winning MANY games of bingo down in the Activity Center. Now, with her inpatient rehab complete, she was released to go home with my step-dad, who has been working his butt off to get their home ready for Mom and her walker. The man has been amazing through this act of love. So, no matter what, it will be a great Christmas back here in Indiana.
Once again, this holiday will be chock-full of activity, with my brother and sister-in-law making another short stay here so he can see Mom again. I am not sure what’s going on with my older son and his beautiful bride, but I think they are staying out East to celebrate Christmas with her family. And, my younger son and long-time girlfriend will likely come over when their work schedule allows. And, who knows when we are getting together with the rest of my family and my wife’s family, but it will always work out.
The only thing is that I will have to adjust when I will play my Top 100 songs, while wearing my Santa cap, as my family unwrapped gifts and traded barbs. While I will miss that tradition, I look forward to when grandchildren will fill my need to act like an idiot teenager again!
I truly do hope you all have a seemingly magical Christmas season, unless of course you celebrate one of the other winter holidays, then I wish you the best during your holiday season. But, since this is my blog, let’s get Santa rockin’ a bit with numbers 41-50 on my countdown.
50. Katy Perry – “Everyday Is a Holiday” (2015). This was not Miss Perry’s first Christmas song, but it is her best. It was just released last year, making it one of the newer songs on my countdown. It is simply a great Katy Perry song.
49. Slade – “Merry Xmas Everybody” (1973). This is one of the biggest-selling Christmas songs in UK history. I read that the song was so popular that it held onto the number one position well into January. It ended up being Slade’s last chart topper in the UK. It sounds fresh today.
48. Bob & Doug McKenzie – “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (1981). Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas were riding high back in the winter of 1981 by portraying a pair of stereotypical Canadian brothers on the late-great SCTV sketch comedy show of the early Eighties. The McKenzie brothers were so popular that the pair got their own album, on which they reportedly improvised all of their bits. And, this song was “the Christmas portion of their album”. I remember my boys constantly requesting to hear this throughout their childhoods and laughing at “a beer…in a Christmas tree”.
47. Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” (1973). This song finished second in the “Great UK Christmas Song Battle of 1973” to Slade. But, this song has legs, meaning that it remains fresh-sounding here in the 21st century. Wizzard was the band that former-Move-and-ELO founder Roy Wood put together after leaving ELO.
46. The Royal Guardsmen – “Snoopy’s Christmas” (1967). I got this 7″ single from the jukebox that used to be at an old school where my dad broke into his school administration career. I might have been the only person to relentlessly played this song while shooting hoops in the gym. It was my jam for so long, that I would play during the summer on my porch while all the neighborhood kids tried to re-enact American Bandstand in my driveway. Of course, I played the role of Dick Clark.
45. Darlene Love & the E Street Band – “All Alone on Christmas” (1992). What happens when Phil Specter’s greatest singer is paired with Bruce Springsteen’s Specter-loving backing band? You get a rocking Christmas song that became the theme of the first two Home Alone movies.
44. Kurtis Blow – “Christmas Rappin'” (1980). Rap’s first King released rap’s first Christmas song. And it remains a classic to this very day.
43. The Ronettes – “Sleigh Ride” (1962). From the sounds of horses trotting and jingle bells ringing, Phil Specter’s Wall of Sound production perfectly concocted the sound of a sleigh ride during the winter, all the while his future wife, Ronettes lead singer, Ronnie Specter, and her two harmony singers set the stage not only for a great Christmas song, but laid the groundwork for another female trio to take over the pop world, the Supremes.
42. Fitz & the Tantrums – “Santa Stole My Lady” (2011). When Fitz & the Tantrums first arrived on the scene, they were doing that old Hall & Oates/Blue-Eyed Soul-thing. While still in that mode, the group recorded the definitive version of this soul holiday classic.
41. Liz Phair – “Ho Ho Ho” (2014). In the early-Nineties, Phair burst onto the scene as an angry young woman, writing songs that explicitly talked about her sex life, be it satisfactory or not, and other things that women at the time were not supposed to talk about so openly. Then, like all of us, Phair mellowed a bit after having children. But, she still could turn out a slightly provocative Christmas song.
Okay, that’s 60 songs down and only my Top 40 left. Hang on tight, things are going to get more recognizable. In the words of William Shatner’s character on the otherwise disappointing Airplane 2, “Irony can be so ironic.”