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Billy Blagg 2:32 Thu Nov 25
Billy Blagg's 15th Annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Songs
15 years of this horseshit - who'd have thought it?

Join me here every day, on the website or now - wait for it! - Spotify! Not just this year either I've added all the previous 14.

The 15th / 2021 web page can be found at: https://blaggadventcalendarchristmassongs2021.blogspot.com/ with links to all the other years and the current Spotify page

Or you can go to the main web page at:
https://www.billyblaggsannualadventcalendarofchristmassongs.co.uk/
where you'll find links to ALL the previous years and Spotify lists.

Enjoy the festivities!

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

kylay 2:42 Sat Dec 25
Re: Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas Blagg great stuff as always. Not sure how long you've been putting it on Spotify but I only just discovered that this year and the whole family is running through it currently. Cheers!

Billy Blagg 12:42 Sat Dec 25
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Thank you to Admin for allowing me to clutter your page all December, for everyone who has supported me, leaving comments or messaging me, and for anyone else who visits this whole bonkers enterprise either here or elsewhere.

One last push and then I'll be out of the way.

Anyone who wants a Christmas playlist (or 15) can just go to my web page and there is a link to all the Calendars on the right to play on Spotify as you baste your turkey.

Enjoy! Or not as the case may be.

https://www.billyblaggsannualadventcalendarofchristmassongs.co.uk/

Mex Martillo 12:13 Sat Dec 25
Re: Day 25 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes
Top stuff Billy
Got the Spotify Advent playlist on, some good songs in there.
Merry Christmas
Thanks Billy

Billy Blagg 2:08 Sat Dec 25
Day 25 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes
We've all seen some of our Rock 'n' Roll heroes fall from grace over the decades; it used to be drugs back in the day, but latterly we've seen some dabbling with fascism, some have revealed dubious sexual predilections, some have even done dodgy TV adverts. But murder?

Phil Spector died in a prison-run medical facility in January of this year from COVID complications and it's hard to eulogise a man who'd been found guilty of second-degree murder back in 2009 and who was serving a 19 year to life sentence.

Nevertheless, Phil Spector's unique vision of what a pop record could sound like revolutionised the '60s charts on
both sides of the Atlantic. His production on tracks such as 'River Deep, Mountain High' for Ike & Tina Turner and 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' for the Righteous Brothers were nothing short of astonishing. It was his album 'A Christmas Gift For You' though that was his meisterwerk. And it was HIS album; the artists that Spector used to record his vision were little more than an extension of his tools.

Released in 1963 on the same day that John F Kennedy was assassinated, the album failed to gain traction with a U.S public reeling from the death of their president. It fared better in the UK on radio plays but sales were still relatively low. The Beatles were huge fans though and when the Fabs renamed it 'Phil Spector's Christmas Album' and re-released it on their Apple label in 1972 the status of the album changed completely. The re-titled LP reached its highest chart placing that year and its status hasn't diminished over the decades. It's now considered a classic and the general consensus is that if you only ever own one Christmas album then this is the one to have.

For me, I can't ever remember a Christmas when this wasn't playing and even if I live another 20 years (unlikely I know) I will play it at least once every December. It really is a phenomenal piece of work.

So, in the spirit of the season and with a nod to Dickens himself, I give an appreciative bow to the Ghost of Christmas Past and the man Phil Spector once was rather than the one he became.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-mWqt1nnZ0

COOL HAND LUKE 6:03 Fri Dec 24
Re: Day 24 - Home To You (This Christmas) -Sigrid
And a little bit of Back Door Santa to round it all off...

Have a good one, fellas, let's hope we get a few points in...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xrRC24g1xdw

Syd Puddefoot 1:57 Fri Dec 24
Re: Day 24 - Home To You (This Christmas) -Sigrid
Thanks Billy, have a good one all.

Coffee 8:27 Fri Dec 24
Re: Day 24 - Home To You (This Christmas) -Sigrid
Another excellent annual Advent songs thread, Billy!

Thanks for it and look forward to next year's.

Happy Christmas.

Billy Blagg 2:15 Fri Dec 24
Day 24 - Home To You (This Christmas) -Sigrid
There are those out there who dislike it when an artist or band repackage an already successful album or track for the Christmas market, seeing a cynical attempt to get you to part with your cash. Me? I like a trier so when Sigrid updated her own 2019 track 'Home To You' adding some new lyrics and a twinkling 'Jingle Bells' piano I was sold.

Now to be fair to the Norwegian songstress, this track may already have invaded our consciousness - who didn't swallow something hard and jagged when they heard it on the closing sequences of last summer's Olympics? - but the fact is the song hasn't charted and still hasn't found mainstream success so I think it's fair to go for the big one.

And go for it she has, it's full of seasonal charm, beautiful sentiments and personally, I now realise it's always sounded like a Christmas record and it will buoy my heavy heart as I drag a Santa sleigh's worth of memories around the West End later.

For the rest of you, if you don't know what to say and don't know what to do, then just go home and count your blessings.

Have a peaceful day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6PL-iXiMa4

Billy Blagg 2:02 Thu Dec 23
Day 23 - This Must Be Christmas - Kodaline
An unintentional two for one deal here as you can either just listen to Alt Irish rockers Kodaline's 'This Must Be Christmas' - a song full of the pathos and ennui you expect this time of year - or watch the video too, a very different beast and nothing to do with the song, telling the story of someone who loses their job at Christmas and goes off to drown their sorrows, only to find things are not what they - or indeed you - think they are.

Pour another whiskey for the road / 'Cos that's the only spirit I know / Singin' oh this must be Christmas / 'Cos I'm sick of the songs that the radio plays / But I'm drinkin' and singin' along anyways

Me? I've just watched West Ham lose to Spurs and I've come back from the hotel bar after a few brandies so don't ask me for advice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJjmx8YGTTY

Coffee 7:17 Wed Dec 22
Re: Day 20 - Standing By My Christmas Tree - Cara Dillon
Billy Blagg 2:33 Mon Dec 20

Reminds me a bit of Patty Smyth's Call to Heaven. Different subjects entirely, but still a good song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvSimeyTiBE

Mex Martillo 7:07 Wed Dec 22
Re: Day 22 - Could've Been Summer - Maggie Chapman
I've been neglecting you Billy!
I will give the Spotify version a go over Christmas.
Great stuff!

Coffee 7:01 Wed Dec 22
Re: Day 22 - Could've Been Summer - Maggie Chapman
I like that a lot.

1:32 - is that Basil Brush or a squirrel?

Billy Blagg 2:34 Wed Dec 22
Day 22 - Could've Been Summer - Maggie Chapman
'Could've Been Summer' comes from an unnamed sampler Christmas album I have.

Unusually for me, I have no idea where the album came from originally, or why it's in my iTunes library. I've been unable to find anything about Ms. Chapman either; the track isn't (wasn't!) on YouTube or Spotify and a Google search revealed precious little bar the fact the song was originally released as a single in 2013 followed by a debut album a year after and nothing since. I did find a small bio on Allmusic which gave an email address for contact but even then a request to load the track onto YouTube bounced back.

It's a shame as 'Could've been Summer' is a lovely, heartfelt song about a failed relationship that the singer wishes had finished in Summer so that she could have had more time to get back on her feet again. Bless her for even thinking that's a thing.

This deserves to be heard more though and failing all else I've taken it upon myself to load my own video - regulars here at the Calendar will recognise a familiar theme - and if Ms. Chapman wants to contact me then she knows where I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSSD3dfgOSA

Billy Blagg 2:20 Tue Dec 21
Day 21 - Getting Ready For Christmas Day - Paul Simon
With the 50th Anniversary of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' earlier this year (Gulp!) Paul Simon seemed to be on TV and radio a lot more than might be expected, so I thought it was time for this from the 2011 'So Beautiful or So What' album.

He's certainly in a pretty joyous mood though the music contrasts starkly with the lyrics but anyone who can produce a rhyming couplet of 'From early November to the last week of December / I got money matters weighing me down / Oh the music may be merry, but it's only temporary / I know Santa Claus is coming to town' is OK in my book.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZKKj0U-T2k

Billy Blagg 2:33 Mon Dec 20
Day 20 - Standing By My Christmas Tree - Cara Dillon
"Quite possibly the world's most beautiful voice" Mojo Magazine

I saw Cara last week as part of her 'Upon a Winter's Night' tour and she played this song, that she wrote together with her husband Sam Lakeman, and dedicated it to 'anyone who is without someone they need this Christmas'.

On a day of struggle at a difficult time, I'd like to do the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNBoAJKDtLU

Billy Blagg 2:08 Sun Dec 19
Day 19 - O Come All Ye Faithful - Dionne Warwick
The last Carol of Advent and we finish with a slightly irritating Vegas-style rendition by one of pop's most recognisable voices and someone who will - incredibly - be singing at Southend Cliffs Pavilion next summer.

I wonder if she's ever had Pie Mash and liquor?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAB8X99GPTY

Billy Blagg 3:15 Sat Dec 18
Day 18 - Do You Hear What I Hear? - Gladys Knight & the Pips / Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra
It's the last Saturday shopping day of December so time for a Blagg GOFGOF (Get one free, Get one free), and what a treat this one is.

I grew up with the Andy Williams version of this song and always assumed it was a modern Carol of some sort; I was astonished to find out this year that it was actually written in October 1962 by husband and wife duo Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne as a cry for peace at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time when there was a very real possibility that nobody would be celebrating any kind of Christmas ever again.

This new knowledge added an extra poignancy to a song I'd always kinda secretly liked so I wondered if there were any other versions out there being as I'm not a fan of the vocal histrionics of Whitney Houston (sorry!) and I stumbled upon this superb one by Gladys Knight. It actually gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it.

But could I leave it there? Could I 'eck as like.

A later search revealed the wonderfully named Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra from the also excellently monikered 'A Very Ping Pong Christmas: Funky Treats from Santa's Bag'.

I know! Thank me later, right?

So here's the deal. The Gladys Knight and the Pips version is here but you'll have to head over to the website for the Ping Pong Orchestra version ( I need the hits to help me pay for it!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk0qIHZKFT4

Billy Blagg 11:30 Fri Dec 17
Day 17 - Christmas Will Really Be Christmas - Lou Rawls
Still labouring under the impression that it is 1988, that you'll all be at a Christmas party tonight, there will be some slow dancing and a certain amount of touching will occur, here's a gorgeous, slow, sultry, Christmas groove thang from Lou's 1967 album 'Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho'.

You'll need to make your intentions clear fairly quickly though as it only lasts 2:38. My suggestion? Play the whole album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5VEWZI2d5U

Billy Blagg 2:02 Thu Dec 16
Day 16 - I Hear Jingle Bells - Freddie King
To be perfectly honest I was going to put King's 'Christmas Tears' here but I was aware an Eric Clapton version 'Cryin' Christmas Tears' was - rather inevitably - on the 2018 Calendar and after flipping over (ask your Grandparents about THAT terminology) and finding the equally appropriate 'I Hear Jingle Bells' I decided to go with that instead. Then I found someone had combined the two on YouTube so job done.

American Blues legend Freddie King was - following a theme from previous songs this week - considered one of the 'Three Kings of the Blues Guitars'.

It has to be better than Myrrh surely?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NfOoIRFOug

Billy Blagg 3:02 Wed Dec 15
Day 15 - Krampus - The Lathums
Here's a jolly, highly appropriate seasonal offering from The Lathums who hail from Wigan and have obviously been playing their dad's Smiths records.

The Florists are burning / And the end of the world is coming / But we will be OK / Your Christmas will be cancelled anyway / You might as well enjoy your time today

All set to a tune so joyous I immediately booked up to go out tonight. It's great stuff and will be going on my perennial Christmas Spotify list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3lLyVCsoPI

Coffee 11:38 Tue Dec 14
Re: Day 14 - Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day - Brenda Lee
I'd imagine that one hits home for many people.

Thanks, Billy.

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