Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
I am not the greatest fan of the Christmas season, to be honest. I prefer my birthday, which I imagine is only for me. One of the things I dislike most about a traditional Christmas is the music that normally accompanies it. Tired carols, a relic of the Victorian era, are accompanied by some of the worst cheesy songs ever written. A cynical ploy to cash in on the desire to have everything suitable for the festive season.
I have to admit to one exception. The song ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ has always appealed to me, at any time of the year. This was first made popular by Judy Garland, who sang it in the film ‘Meet Me In St Louis’, in 1944. It is a sad song, unlike almost any other seasonal tune, and that aspect has a real feel for this winter festivity, which can be very sad and lonely, for many people.
Of course the song became a standard, and countless versions were recorded, or performed live at concerts. We might all have our favourite versions. I know that for most of my life, my choice was the Frank Sinatra recording, from 1950. That all changed, and only today. On my way back from the supermarket, I heard a new version of this song, on the car radio. Although they did not announce the name of the singer, I could immediately identify the vocalist as Sam Smith, so distinctive is his voice. This young man from Hertfordshire, (He is only 22) has taken the British music scene by storm, since his arrival in the music charts in 2012. He has also made the traditionally difficult move across the Atlantic, and achieved huge popularity in the USA. His single releases have sold millions, and he has won numerous awards; both for record sales, and songwriting.
His recent recording of this song is currently only available as a download. But fortunately for us, it is also on You Tube. It gave me goose-bumps, and almost made me cry. Not an easy thing, when you consider that I am a 62 year-old cynical ex-Londoner, not prone to such emotions. If any song in this series can be called significant, then this is one for sure. Not only does it overturn the Sinatra version, no mean feat in itself, it literally brings a whole new interpretation to the song, something I had never considered possible. Not a thing is changed, no intonation altered, or lyric played around with.
It is just so much better. It is how it should always have been. It is perfection.
Merry Christmas to you all. Love from Norfolk. Pete.