It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

No, that title’s not an excuse to lament the ever-earlier holiday decoration that the department stores are already trotting out. Rather, it’s an apology of sorts — because I’m about to do essentially the same thing. Now, I completely understand the rules of decorum, and believe me, there’s not a shred of holiday decoration around my house. But in this case, I’m going to have to approach that barrier of good taste a little too closely for comfort. Why? Because the nature of what I’m doing requires a bit of lead time — particularly since it’s not the sort of thing I can do in one sitting.

But first, a little background. Everyone has their own holiday traditions. In fact, that’s one of the most difficult thing in merging families — figuring out which traditions you keep, and which go by the wayside. If all goes well, you’ll end up making your own new traditions (though “new traditions” does sound like a bit of a contradiction). Last year, I made mention of one of ours, the thirty-minutes-or-less Christmas tree quest.

But another of our traditions actually started with an argument. Now, this was back in the days before Napster and the ready burning of CDs. I was desperately trying to find a copy of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Not the most traditional of holiday tunes, perhaps, but one of my all-time favorites; as far as I’m concerned, it ain’t Christmas ’til I hear it. Now I was positive I had it on at least one mix tape somewhere, and dagnabbit, I was going to find it. No matter how long it took. No matter what other holiday-decorating tasks I neglected in the meantime. My persistent inability to locate it — I never did find it that year — led me to get more and more frustrated, and Pam to get more and more irritated with my obsession, until... well, we’ve made up now. Mostly.

But then two years ago, I decided to make sure we didn’t get into an argument like that again. I could have done so by taking a hard look at the underlying issues that led to the argument in the first place, contemplating the myriad ways in which our marriage could be strengthened by a deeper understanding of the conflicts within each of us. Or, I could make a Christmas mix CD.

Guess which one I chose?

Of course, I never do anything halfway. Well, okay, I frequently do things halfway, but when I do decide to go ahead with something ridiculously obsessive, I make sure to... well, some might say go over the top. I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning exactly which songs I’m going to feature, which order they should go in, adjusting audio levels for consistency (this was before the iTunes “sound check” auto-leveling feature), even creating customized disc art. A colossal waste of time, maybe, but it’s fun; I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it before.

All told, the disc — A Rather Eclectic Christmas — was pretty successful. Family and friends even asked me to make copies for them. Last year, realizing there were several songs I’d had to leave off the first disc, I made a second disc, titled (originally enough) A Rather Eclectic Christmas 2, which also went into multiple pressings (okay, burnings).

And this year, it struck me that some of you might enjoy following suit. Of course, I have neither the time nor the blank media to make multiple additional copies, but with the advent of resources like the iTunes Music Store, you can do it yourself. With that in mind, I thought I’d provide the track listings for my compilations, along with links to where you can obtain the songs — in most cases, they’re available at the iTunes Music Store, but in some cases I’ve linked to albums at Amazon (though usually not the only albums where you can find these songs — you might spend more efficiently by finding some of them on existing compilations). Alas, I’ve also got a few “rarities” in here that you won’t be able to find in either place — eBay’s always a possibility, though if you know where they can be found more readily, please let me know.

Copies of my original disc art and CD “liner notes” — front and back, naturally — are available by clicking on the images. They’re designed at 150 dpi, so you may have to adjust your printing accordingly; also note that the disc art contains enough “bleed” to extend beyond the edges of the disc label (though the liner notes should be sized exactly — just print, cut, and fold).

A Rather Eclectic Christmas
A Rather Eclectic Christmas
A Rather Eclectic Christmas
  1. We Three Kings, by Spinal Tap (this was only available as part of a promotional compilation)
  2. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You), by Nat “King” Cole
  3. Blue Christmas, by Elvis Presley
  4. I’ll Be Home for Christmas, by Elvis Presley
  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, by Frank Sinatra
  6. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, by Johnny Mathis
  7. A Holly Jolly Christmas, by Burl Ives
  8. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Gene Autry
  9. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, by Brenda Lee
  10. Jingle Bell Rock, by Bobby Helms and the Anita Kerr Singers
  11. Peace On Earth/The Little Drummer Boy, by Bing Crosby and David Bowie (though on my version, I trim the spoken intro)
  12. River, by Robert Downey, Jr.
  13. Do They Know It’s Christmas?, by Band Aid
  14. Christmas Time, by Bryan Adams
  15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over), by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  16. Linus And Lucy, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio
  17. Die Hard Suite, by Michael Kamen (all right, now this is an unusual one — it’s an audio track taken from a “blooper reel” easter egg on the Die Hard DVD; see my earlier comments on Die Hard)
  18. Ode to Joy (Abbreviated), by Ludwig Van Beethoven (a cut also taken from the closing credits of Die Hard)
  19. The Closing Of The Year, by The Musical Cast of Toys
  20. Run, Rudolph, Run, by Jane Krakowski
  21. You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch, by Jim Carrey
  22. Snow Miser, by Dick Shawn
  23. Heat Miser, by George S. Irving
  24. Wonderful Christmastime, by Paul McCartney and Wings
  25. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Live), by Bruce Springsteen
  26. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Single Version), by Bob and Doug McKenzie (though I use the shorter single version on my disc)
  27. Everywhere It’s Christmas, by the Beatles (from the apparently out-of-print Complete Christmas Collection compilation)
  28. Silent Bob’s Christmas Memory, by Kevin and Bean (okay, this one I can’t find a link for, but it’s from the limited-edition 2001 Kevin & Bean Christmas album Swallow My Eggnog)
A Rather Eclectic Christmas 2
  1. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells..., by The Simpsons (with Robert Goulet)
  2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
  3. Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane), by Gene Autry
  4. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, by Jimmy Boyd (accompanied by Norman Luboff)
  5. Jingle Cats Medley, by the Jingle Cats
  6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, by Vaughn Monroe
  7. Little Saint Nick, by the Beach Boys
  8. Santa Baby, by Eartha Kitt and Henri René
  9. The Chipmunk Song, by the Chipmunks and David Seville
  10. White Christmas, by Bing Crosby
  11. Silver Bells (Single), by Bing Crosby and Carole Richards
  12. Winter Wonderland, by Tony Bennett
  13. (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays, by Perry Como
  14. It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas, by Perry Como
  15. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You, by Billy Squier
  16. Father Christmas, by the Kinks
  17. Sleigh Ride, by Ella Fitzgerald
  18. (It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus, by Harry Connick, Jr.
  19. Carol of the Bells, by David Benoit
  20. Frosty the Snowman, by Jimmy Durante (the version I’ve got is a single combining the various snippets of the song throughout the show — and unfortunately, it’s not available on the regular soundtrack album)
  21. Put One Foot In Front Of The Other, by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn (the album track is the entire story segment, which I’ve cut down to just the song itself)
  22. We Need a Little Christmas, by Johnny Mathis with Ray Ellis & His Orchestra
  23. Jingle Bells (instrumental), by the Brian Setzer Orchestra (this track is not available on the American version of the album)
  24. All I Want for Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey
  25. This Christmas, by Donny Hathaway
  26. Scrooged: Main Titles/Show Time at IBC, by Danny Elfman (this one I cut after the opening section)
  27. Put a Little Love in Your Heart, by Al Green & Annie Lennox
  28. We Wish You A Merry Christmas, by Shrek, Donkey, and the Fairy Tale Creatures (only available as part of a Wal-Mart promotion — I can’t find it anywhere right now)
That’s it. Or maybe not so much. See, as you may have guessed, there’s a reason why I’m posting this now, as opposed to later. I am, as of this writing, actively at work on A Rather Eclectic Christmas 3, and to be honest, I’m soliciting your help. See, there are several songs I know I want to include there, but as for the rest, I’m looking for suggestions. The key here is to make them songs the family will actually want to listen to come Christmastime, not a bunch of filler. And I’ve already got most of the classics in there.

So please, take a look at these two, and send me any suggestions you may have for part three — either via e-mail or in the comments section here.

Once I’ve got the disc together, you can be sure I’ll put the track listing — and disc art, naturally — right here. So stay tuned!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home