I have no idea how many times Bing Crosby sang White Christmas. It must have been thousands of times. Holiday Inn is one of my favorite Christmas classics. (White Christmas is basically the same movie.) I love White Christmas, but I really only love it being sung by Bing. I know other great singers have their version but Bing’s is the one.
I will post one more Christmas tune later on today. I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!!
Artist: Vanessa Williams
Tune: What Child is This?
Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting holiday tunes that I truly love. For me, the holidays are as much about spiritually as they are about music. Andy Williams, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Mahalia Jackson, James Brown, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and the Temptations were just a few of the artists that I grew up listening to during the holiday season. Over the years, I have added to this list. In 1996, Vanessa Williams released her Christmas album entitled Star Bright. It was simply fantastic. Currently, I need some fantastic music in my life. Enjoy.
There are probably 25 or 50 Great American songs making up the American songbook. These songs are uniquely American and iconic in some way. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is one of those songs. Miles Davis’ “So What” is another. Etta James’ “At Last” also belongs in our songbook.
Etta James, one of the great voices of the 20th century, who fused R&B with gospel and blues and scored landmark hits with “At Last,” “Tell Mama” and “All I Could Do Was Cry,” died today from complications related to leukemia. She was 73. James had been battling health problems for years.
James had an enormously turbulent personal life with numerous periods of drug addiction and poverty, but she channeled all of that heartache into her music. “There’s a lot going on Etta James’ voice,” Bonnie Raitt told Rolling Stone in 2008. “A lot of pain, a lot of life, and most of all, a lot of strength. She can be so raucous and down one song, and then break your heart with her subtlety and finesse the next. As raw as Etta is, there’s a great intelligence and wisdom in her singing.”
Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938, James was largely abandoned by her teenage mother at a young age, and was raised by her grandparents and foster families. She formed the the doo-wop singing group the Creolettes with her friends in the early 1950s, and they scored a minor hit with “Roll Me Henry” in 1955.