WNPR

Holiday Songs to Perk You Up and Settle You Down

Dec 24, 2014

Credit Huge Cool / Flickr Creative Commons

It's just unthinkable to me that "Why Can't It Be Christmas Time All Year" is not a classic, and a staple of holiday music. But it's not. In fact, you've probably never heard of it or Rosie Thomas, who recorded it. And that helps explain why it has been 20 years since any song became a mainstream hit. "All I Want For Christmas Is You", released by Mariah Carey in 1994, did what is now impossible - it survived its first season, and became a song that is played every year during the holidays, and performed by other people. It got a big boost, of course, from the movie "Love Actually", but that's not the only reason it stuck around. But 20 years is a long time to go without another success in that department.

Today, some of our music mavens explore the ways that holiday songs get built and spread. From Nikki Lane's "FaLaLaLaLove Ya" to "Talkin' Christmas" by Blind Boys of Alabama and Taj Mahal, chances are, you'll find something in this episode that sticks in your head from now until the New Year.

SONGS (in order of appearance):

What holiday songs do you keep coming back to? Comment below, email Colin@wnpr.org, or tweet @wnprcolin.

GUESTS:

  • Joan Holliday is a DJ on 93.9 & 101.5 The River
  • Eric Danton writes frequently about music and pop culture for the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Salon, and Paste, and blogs at listendammit.com
  • Matt Sargent is a composition professor at the Hartt School of Music, and he’s a klezmer mandolinist