Review: MoTab with the Muppets Christmas Concert

Review: MoTab with the Muppets Christmas Concert

The annual Christmas concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has become a staple of Christmas television on PBS and has provided release after release of reliably solid Christmas entertainment on both DVD and CD for years now. But I will admit to being a bit apprehensive attending the 2014 Christmas Concert in Salt Lake City titled Keep Christmas With You featuring Sesame Street’s Muppets. As better than 21,000 people streamed into the Conference Center for the first time a great many attendees were children, many of them young and small. How were they going to occupy their time and keepRead more

The History of Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The History of Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Eddie Cantor, a comedian from the 1930s was given a new Christmas song to sing for his radio audience in 1934. Targeted at kids, the songwriters were frustrated at their inability to get it recorded and sold. Record labels thought the appeal too narrow to be successful. Cantor sang it live in a performance that was never recorded. The song proved such a hit it was recorded later by Tom Stacks in this memorable arrangement: The song was written in October 1933 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots, reportedly on a New York subway car while traveling to aRead more

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Quick trivia question: what group has sold more Christmas albums than any other in the past 30 years? That would be Mannheim Steamroller, that improbable group of classic rock/classical/baroque combo that makes music like no other. Steamroller hung around the fringes of popular music for nearly a decade until they released their first Christmas album in 1984 titled Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. This album went platinum six times and finally launched Mannheim Steamroller into the mainstream. On this day in 1984, this single was released marking the debut of the album and consequently it causes us to declare that with justRead more

Glen Campbell’s Christmas Variety Shows Coming to DVD

Glen Campbell’s Christmas Variety Shows Coming to DVD

Two Christmas specials of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Variety Show dating from the 1970s will be made available on DVD this fall. The shows originally aired in December 1969 and December 1970, and featured a mix of sketches and musical performances. Among Campbell’s guest on the episodes were singers Anne Murray and Jerry Reed, and comedians George Gobel and Shecky Greene. The DVD sells for a list price of $19.96 but will be discounted for pre-orders from various online vendors. The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour aired on CBS from January 1969 to June 1972. The legendary dimpled-chin singer hasRead more

Christmas with a Chapman Stick

Christmas with a Chapman Stick

A friend on Facebook shared a video of a musician playing something called a Chapman Stick. I’m no musical dummy but I had never heard or seen anything like a Chapman stick before. As I watched the video I naturally wondered if any Christmas music had been done with this unusual instrument. Of course, it has been done — and you have to hear it and see it played: That artist is Greg Hughes, by the way. And he’s pretty good. But we’re curious if there is more Chapman/Christmas stuff out there — we’re intrigued. The Chapman Stick, as youRead more

Richard Marx and Everyone Else Has the Christmas Spirit

Richard Marx and Everyone Else Has the Christmas Spirit

Trying to get a little Christmas spirit going? This video, on the recommendation of many, is good medicine. From his largely under-appreciated Christmas album of 2012 this video features the selfie videos of celebrities in music new and old sharing a little Christmas spirit with Richard Marx. How many of these celebs can you identify? It’s fun:

We Need a Little Christmas

We Need a Little Christmas

Today is the 24th of May and there remains only 215 days in our countdown to Christmas. On this date of May 24th in 1966 the Broadway musical Mame made it’s debut starring Angela Lansbury in the title role, bringing the song (and many others) We Need a Little Christmas to the vast collection of classics that gets replayed, re-recorded and remembered so much every holiday season. Like some other songs of Christmas some artists play fast and loose with the lyrics of this song. In the stage production, the song is set after Mame has lost her fortune inRead more

John Denver Day

John Denver Day

Today is the 31st day of December, leaving just 359 days until Christmas, and on this day in 1943 one of the most popular Christmas icons of the 1970s was born. It is John Denver Day. His given name was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. but the world knew him as John Denver, an All-American boy with a love of nature, country roads and a blended folk, pop and country sound driven by an acoustic guitar and a lightweight tenor voice. Denver’s story in the music business is as American as he was. An army brat, Denver had a difficult timeRead more