It's that time of year when every store and radio station is playing all your favorite holiday hits. At times holiday music can feel repetitive, sound boring ... or even be called annoying. So let's spice things up a bit!
Turns out there much more to Christmas music than you may know, and we've highlighted some of the fun facts here!
When you think "Christmas Music", the first song that probably comes to mind is the song Jingle Bells. You may be surprised to know that this song was originally written for thanksgiving! The song was first published in 1857 and was written by James Lord Pierpont. The original name of the song was "One Horse Open Sleigh".
There is a plaque that claims this famous song was composed right here Massachusetts!
The Medford, Ma. Historical Society says that the song was inspired by the towns popular sleigh races that happened during the 19th century. Over the years, Jingle Bells has been adopted into the Holiday Music genre and is considered one of the most popular holiday songs of all time.
Jingle bells made it from Massachusetts ... to SPACE! The song was played on an 8-note Honer harmonica and hand full of jingle bells to celebrate the arrival of the holiday season.
Jingle Bells was a part of a a Christmas-themed prank by the Gemeni 6 astronauts. Tom Stafford and Wall Schirra sent this report to the mission control room from space on December 16, 1965"
"Gemini VII, this is Gemini VI. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, up in a polar orbit. He's in a very low trajectory traveling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio. It looks like it might even be a ... Very low. Looks like he might be going to re - enter soon. Stand by one ... You might just let me try to pick up that thing."
Then the astronauts started playing Jingle Bells using the harmonica and sleigh bells the smuggled into space! You can see these instruments at the Smithsonian Museum. Turns out it really does pay off to play an instrument that's easy to travel with!
Check it out here!
Even Paul McCartney from one of the most popular bands, The Beatles found a way to put his stamp on the Holiday Music Genre. It was one of the best career choices he made!
"Wonderful Christmastime" is a 1979 Christmas song written by Paul McCartney. What's really cool is he sang and played every instrument for the song!
He still earns between $400,000 and $600,000 every year in royalties for this song. The hit was later added as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of the "Back to the Egg" album from McCartney's band "Paul McCartney and Wings".
Check out this live performance!
We can't talk about festive music without mentioning Bing Crosby. He may be most known for his popular Christmas song, "White Christmas", but he is also the most well know Christmas Music artist to this day. His popularity through his Holiday hits helped him become incredibly successful as a musical artist.
Bing Crosby has 396 chart singles, including 41 number one hits! If you count the multiple times that his song "White Christmas" has been charted as number one, that would bring that number up to 43 – that's more than The Beatles AND Elvis combined! Crosby had separate charting singles every year between 1931 and 1954 and the annual re-release of "White Christmas" extended that streak to 1957. He had 24 separate popular singles in 1939 alone. Many critics say he may have been the best selling recording artist with up to 1 billion units sold.
Here's a whole playlist of Bing Crosby's singing 40 Christmas Hits!
So there you have it! Next time you're listening to your holiday playlist maybe you will the songs a little more interesting! As musicians we learn to find ways to respect and appreciate every genre of music, including the songs of the holiday seasons!
Happy listening and Happy Holidays to you and your family!
The J.G.G. Team.