After I left the radio industry back in 2008, I distanced myself from the annual format flipping doldrums that I experienced year after year. In recent years, I have been getting into the Christmas spirit usually after Thanksgiving, or into the first or second week of December. for instance, I just purchased my table-top Frasier fir Christmas tree from Whole foods this past week, so there will be a bit of Christmas cheer at the Mike Bills Entertainment company headquarters. Music is very powerful, and it's especially powerful with those songs that you began hearing as a child. When I am in the Christmas spirit, there are certain songs that tend to take me to being a little boy with his eyes all aglow waiting patiently to wake up on Christmas morning to open up all my presents. These positive childhood memories will always be there but can be triggered almost instantaneously when the first few seconds of any of these songs are played. Some of them are older than others.
1. "Wonderful Christmastime" | Paul McCartney
It was the Christmas of 1989 and Charleston, SC was still getting over one of the biggest hurricanes ever (up til that point). Charleston got a freak snowstorm that began on December 23rd. The snow ended on Christmas Eve and it was cold enough to keep it around on December 25th. I can remember hearing this song on the radio as I was watching the snow fall.
2. "Step Into Christmas" | Elton John
This song actually appeared on a re-release in the mid 1990s of Elton John's classic record "Caribou". I saw it listed recently on a list of the worst songs. It certainly does not have that effect on me. It actually gets me excited and thinking abut Christmas even more.
3. "Last Christmas" | George Michael
Christmas will never be the same ever again. The great George Michael left us on Christmas Day 2016. You better believe this 1980s Christmas classic is appearing on this list. You should cue it up at your Christmas party, but just make sure you are near the mistletoe.
4. "I Believe In Father Christmas" | Greg Lake
Greg Lake only passed away on December 7, 2016, but this classic released in 1975 will always be on my list of my favorite songs. It was released as a side project away from Emerson, Lake And Palmer and went all the way to Number 2 in the UK.
5. "Christmas Time Is Here" | Diana Krall
Diana Krall appears on my list not one, but two times. Her voice is so incredible and I consider her to be one of the top modern female jazz vocalists of all time. She released a Christmas record in 2005. You should pick it up and you might just melt like me when you put the CD on and hear her voice.
6. "Winter Wonderland" | Scott Wieland
Scott Wieland died before the Christmas of 2015, and in my opinion kicked off a horrible 2016 in terms of the deaths of many iconic musicians. When I first heard this, I was smiling because it was an unlikely cover of a song by one of the great rock vocalists of the 1990s. You need to take a listen and see for yourself. His voice does very well in covering these songs, as well as big band and Sinatra.
7. "Jingle Bell Rock" | Hall & Oates
Out of all the times that I have heard this song covered, the Hall & Oates version has always stuck with me. The music video is a little campy, but what I can say, it was the early 1980s :)
8. "Little Drummer Boy" | Carol Of The Drum
The perfect song to listen to in the minutes right before midnight on Christmas Eve, right after you get back from church and are feasting on a little egg nog and a few Christmas cookies.
9. "Deck The Halls" | Mannheim Steamroller
As an 11 year old during the Christmas of 1984, I can remember hearing this song for the first time as that Christmas was the year that Mannheim released their first breakthrough Christmas album. This instrumental of "Deck The Halls" still puts a smile on my face today.
10. "Merry Christmas Baby" | Bruce Springsteen
The Boss knocks it out of the park with his cover of the old Otis Redding tune. He's also accompanied with the E Street Band. Take a listen and I promise you'll get into the Christmas spirit.
11. "Have Yourself A Merrly Little Christmas" | The Pretenders
I can think of no other cover of this song that strikes a nerve in terms of emotion than Chrissie Hynde's singing. She kills it and the way she sings it makes you long for someone special to be close by. When you listen to this song, make sure the fire is lit in the fireplace, and you are cuddling with someone special.
12. "White Christmas" | Diana Krall
My second song on this list from the very beautiful Diana Krall. Her voice is extremely beautiful. There is nothing much more I can say. I get a little weak in the knees when I hear her sing.
13. "Christmas Wrapping" | The Waitresses
From the band who "knew what boys like", this song was released on a compilation of other varous artists right before the Christmas of 1981.
14. "Baby It's Cold Outside" | Willie Nelson & Norah Jones
If you have not picked up his "American Classic" album released back in 2009, you need to do it, because you'll hear this song and you'll want to buy it after you hear it.
15. "The Christmas Song" | Nat King Cole
And last but certainly not least, Christmas would not be Christmas without the voice of Nat King Cole. It was actually in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Torme, but it wasn't until 1946 that it was released. An iconic Christmas song indeed.
I sure hope you and your loved ones have the best of holiday seasons. Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. It's that time of the year again where engagements are going to be happening minute by minute. Congratulations in advance and I look forward to speaking with you soon as we get closer to 2018. If you are just recently engaged and would like to talk about your upcoming big day, click HERE