Monday, November 30, 2009

Oprah's Free Holiday Music Downloads

Free Holiday Music Downloads

From November 30 at 10 a.m. CT to December 1 at 11 p.m. CT, download Andrea Bocelli's and Mary J. Blige's duet on "What Child Is This" and Sugarland's "Silent Night" for free! ... continue to

Thursday, November 26, 2009

USA: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving
to our American friends ... or, as the Yuletide Bloggers say ...

"Ladies & Gentlemen, start your turntables!"

And as the belts get loosened and the turkey digests, take a spin around to Ernie (Not Bert), Christmas Music Everyday and The Old Time Radio Flier 12 for some special audio treats.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade

New York, NY, November 23, 2009 (ASCAP): Even as the digital music generation embraces the latest technological innovations, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) reports that traditional favorites still rule the holiday airwaves -- and the iPod. Interpreted over the years by each decade's most popular artists, these Holiday favorites remain timeless classics appealing to young and old alike.

Topping ASCAP's holiday songs list of the decade is one of the oldest songs on the list: "Winter Wonderland." It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith, and was an instant hit for legendary bandleader Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians who took it to the #2 spot on the Billboard charts the same year. Recordings by the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como, in 1946, established the song as a Yuletide favorite. Versions by the Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply are frequently heard on radio today.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams knows something about holiday songs, having received an Emmy nomination this year for "I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus" from A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa, an original Christmas special with both story and songs by the renowned songwriter. He commented: "This is a tough list for any of us to break into. There's a sense that people tend to gravitate towards tradition, especially at the holidays, and our top 25 list confirms this. So, whether you're listening to holiday music on an iPod or a vintage record player, these time-honored favorites are sure to evoke the magic of the season and memories of holidays past."

The Top 25 most performed ASCAP holiday songs of the decade are listed below. Each song includes songwriter credits, and cites the most popular artist version played on radio today. The data was compiled with the help of Mediaguide, the most comprehensive digital audio performance tracking technology in the world.

1. Winter Wonderland
Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Performed by: Eurythmics

2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Written by: Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
Performed by: Nat "King" Cole

3. Sleigh Ride
Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
Performed by: The Ronettes

4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
Performed by: The Pretenders

5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
Performed by: Bruce Springsteen

6. White Christmas
Written by: Irving Berlin
Performed by: Bing Crosby

7. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Performed by: Michael Bublé

8. Jingle Bell Rock
Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
Performed by: Daryl Hall & John Oates

9. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Gene Autry

10. Little Drummer Boy
Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra

11. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
Performed by: Andy Williams

12. I'll Be Home For Christmas
Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
Performed by: Josh Groban

13. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Brenda Lee

14. Silver Bells
Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
Performed by: Anne Murray

15. Feliz Navidad
Written by: José Feliciano
Performed by: José Feliciano

16. Frosty The Snowman
Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
Performed by: The Beach Boys

17. A Holly Jolly Christmas
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Burl Ives

18. Blue Christmas
Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
Performed by: Elvis Presley

19. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Written by: Meredith Willson
Performed by: Johnny Mathis

20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
Performed by: John Mellencamp

21. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
Performed by: Gene Autry

22. (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays
Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
Performed by: Perry Como

23. Carol Of The Bells
Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
Performed by: David Foster (instrumental version)

24. Wonderful Christmastime
Written by: Paul McCartney (PRS)
Performed by: Paul McCartney

25. Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
Performed by: Band Aid

Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:

Oldest songs:
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" (both 1934)

Newest song:
"Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)" (1984)

Most recorded Holiday song:
"White Christmas" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages

Songs introduced in Film and Television:
"White Christmas" in Holiday Inn (1942)
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
"Silver Bells" in The Lemon Drop Kid (1950)
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" in TV special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1962)

Writer with most top Holiday songs:
Johnny Marks with three - "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas"

"Sleigh Ride" is the only holiday song on the list written originally as an instrumental piece for a symphony orchestra. The Boston Pops Orchestra gave the first performance in a concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler at Symphony Hall in Boston, May 4, 1948. Mills Music published it that same year. The Boston Pops Orchestra recorded it in June of 1949. Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1949.

Mediaguide, co-owned by ASCAP, monitors radio broadcast music in real-time and facilitates the accurate distribution of royalty payments to songwriters, composers and publishers. Its proprietary technology and network of over 2,500 radio stations currently tracks more stations and total airplay than any other monitoring service in the U.S.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Compilation: Retro Christmas

Retro Christmas coverPosted over @ Ultra Swank is a great 25 track 86MB compilation titled Retro Christmas that I think is a great addition to your playlists. CaptainOT did a review when it first came out. I'll sum up what he said and add my ditto ... great effort! So head on over and snag your very own copy right now.

BTW, you may notice Ultra Swank is another site that has wonderful graphics done up by the very talented BlueHipster. I just love his style. While you're visiting his site, be sure to snag some of his Exotica shares he has posted.


01. Jack Jones - Sleigh Ride
02. Esquivel - Frosty The Snowman
03. The Hollyridge Strings - Santa's Got A Brand New Bag
04. John Barry - Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown
05. Dean Martin - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
06. Henry Mancini - Winter Wonderland - Silver Bells
07. Eddie Dunstedter - I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
08. John Klein - Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
09. Esquivel - Sun Valley Ski Run
10. The Hollyridge Strings - Santa Claus is coming to Town
11. Henry Mancini - White Christmas
12. Burt Bacharach - The Bell That Couldn't Jingle
13. Esquivel - Here Comes Santa Claus
14. The Hollyridge Strings - Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
15. Henry Mancini - Frosty The Snow Man
16. Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani - Holiday On Skis
17. Ferrante & Teicher and Les Baxter - Sleigh Ride
18. Esquivel - Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
19. Dean Martin - White Christmas
20. The Metro Strings - Christmas
21. Henry Mancini - The Christmas Song
22. John Klein - Winter Wonderland
23. Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians - Ring Those Christmas Bells
24. Julie London - I'd Like You For Christmas
25. Stan Kenton - What Is A Santa Claus

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Create Your Own Santa's Elf Card

Blue's Elf ID cardOver at Santa's Quarters you can create your very own Santa's Elf ID card. Print it out on some card stock and laminate it for a real authentic looking ID the kids will love. Or, take it to the bar with you to impress the ladies ... ok, ok, it hasn't worked for me yet but I'm still hopeful.

While there, check out their Christmas Coloring Pages with 10+ items to print out for your budding Picasso's and, for the mathematician in all of us, calculate EXACTLY the number of lights and ornaments for your tree with their Christmas Decoration Toolset™ ... although I like my method better ... keep adding stuff till the branches start to creak & sag ... then remove the last item you put on and you're done.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dormant & Deceased Sites

Blogging is a tough business. I probably put forth 5% or less of the effort of those 'Yuletide Bloggers' who are digging through stacks of old vinyl, plunking down hard earned money for the wax, and lovingly transferring the sounds to digital for all us Christmas porkers to snarf up ... most of the time without even a simple "Thanks!" Is it any wonder people get tired and move on to other projects?

This year I'm going to try to remember to go back and say thanks for each little gem I download that has been so generously posted by the very talented vinyl restoration folks ... I hope you will join me and drop a few 'thanks' on these folks as well.

Sadly, it's too late for the following sites that have gone silent or dark. Listed here so you can update your links or bookmarks, and as a belated way of saying "Thanks!" to these wonderful people who helped make Christmas' past a lot more enjoyable.

  • 77 Santas : 2009 announced as their final season

  • A Christmas Special : Last Post 2007.Dec

  • A Million Miles Away : Last Post/RIP 2009.March

  • Blog of 999 Dances : Last post 2007.Apr

  • Christmas for All : Last post 2007.Dec

  • Cool Kooky Hip and Groovy : RIP 2007.Oct

  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday : RIP 2009.Jan

  • Musical Fruitcake : RIP 2007.May

  • Red Ryder BB Gun : Last post 2007.Jan

  • Santa and Me! : RIP c2006~2007

  • Why Fidelity : Last post 2007.Dec
  • Christmas on the Radio

    A few years back I became a big fan of Old Time Radio (OTR) and so naturally really liked listening to the Christmas episodes.

    Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Fred Allen, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, Edgar Bergen, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Fibber McGee & Molly, Amos & Andy, Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, Ozzie & Harriet, Phil Harris & Alice Faye, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dinah Shore, Kate Smith, Lucille Ball are some of the names from entertainments golden age that had their own radio shows. And if the names don't ring a bell, perhaps the shows will ... Archie Andrews, Blondie, Dragnet, Father Knows Best, Great Gildersleeve, The Green Hornet, Gunsmoke, Life of Riley, Lone Ranger, Our Miss Brooks, Red Ryder, The Saint, The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes, Superman, Tarzan, & Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.

    If you, or someone you know is 65+ then these shows will almost certainly bring back some Christmas memories. And if you're under 65 then perhaps like me, you'll fall in love with these pre-television era gems.

    If you have newsgroup access, your best bet is starting off in or (absro). Be prepared for a very large selection dating back into the 1930s.

    If you don't have access to newsgroups, you can still pick up some episodes on the web. has (on 2009.Nov.09) 6 shows available for free download. [Hint: Root around the site and you'll find more Christmas freebies]

    Internet Archive Internet Archive has (on 2009.Nov.09) 6 shows available for free download. [Hint: A little searching and you'll also find more Christmas freebies here]

    rand’s esoteric otrrand’s esoteric otr has (on 2009.Nov.15) 6 shows available for free download.

    Old Time Radio Fan The Old Time Radio Fan has (on 2009.Nov.09) 20 shows available for free download.

    Old Time Radio Flier 23 Check out Old Time Radio Flier 23 @ Squidoo with a whooping 170+ shows (on 2009.Nov.09) available for free download.

    Feel free to post links to others sources in the comments.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Desktop Themes

    There's about 700 Bazillion Christmas desktop themes available online ... unfortunately half them are probably some form of malware or boobie trapped site. I won't make any guarantees about the sites I list here but, I will say I've downloaded some of their themes, scanned them, and have not had a problem ... YMMV. ALWAYS scan your downloads! I'll keep adding sites here as I come across them and test some of their themes personally.

    Patinas Treasures ~ A Christmas Dream theme
    1. Patina's Treasures -- a handful of nice themes, not just Christmas, done between 2001-2004. I only tried the manual install themes and none of the screen savers.

    ... more to follow