Top 10 tiresome, yet inexplicably popular Christmas tunes
I hope the sounds of some holiday songs aren’t still ringing in your ears. Like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” arguably the worst Christmas song ever issued.
Strangely enough, during my broadcast days, that song also was the most-requested song to play on the radio. It also was the most hated. That made it difficult to honor the requests on one hand, while realizing the song’s strong negative factor among a sizeable portion of the audience.
You can’t please everyone. I pitied the poor disc jockeys who had to listen to the song by Elmo and Patsy so many times. To maintain their sanity, once they started playing the song they turned down the monitor speaker so they couldn’t hear it. (The song debuted in 1992.)
One of the first things we did every fall was to look at the calendar and decide when to play Christmas music on the radio. What we did was start playing non-religious songs in early December, and then – about two weeks before Christmas – add religious songs to the mix. Two days before Christmas, we played nothing but Christmas music and did so until 6 p.m. on Christmas Day. That’s when we put away the Christmas music inventory until the next year.
Today, some stations around the country begin playing Christmas music in October – even before Halloween. That seems strange, but these stations attract a decent audience even though the big day is two months off.
Many more stations begin their Christmas format just a few weeks later. People seem to like Christmas music, even though they have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving. The ratings are proof of Christmas music’s popularity.
I tire quickly of some Christmas songs – especially the novelty tunes. Some songs have remained popular year after year – I’m not sure why.
Take, for example, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” We’ve had to listen to this song for the past 53 years. Again this past year, that song got more radio airplay than any other. Nielsen, the ratings firm, reports that it aired almost 10,500 times. The tune doesn’t seem to have much in the way of redeeming value – it’s just sort of ordinary. But people like it.
The second-most played song on the radio was “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives. It’s no great shakes, either. Every time I hear it, it brings back memories of my late radio partner, Pat Shanahan, who actually hated the song and detested Burl Ives as well. It first showed up in 1965.
Andy Williams’ “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” ranked as the third-most played song this past Christmas season.
That doesn’t even count all the commercials which used a few lines of the song. The tune has been around since 1963. It may describe the way many people feel at Christmas time, but theologically speaking, Easter is a more wonderful time of year than Christmas. Christ’s resurrection trumps His birth.
A 1962 hit has lived on each Christmas – again, for me, it’s nothing special. It’s Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” a pleasant but non-descript piece of music.
In fifth place this year was the 1970 recording, “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. The lyrics – partially in Spanish – are lame. If you check out the words of the song, you’ll likely agree they’re pretty weak and repetitious.
The rest of the top 10 Christmas songs played this past season on the radio were “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole (dating back to 1949); Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (1994); “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” from 1995 by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra; Johnny Mathis’ 1985 hit, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”; and finally, “White Christmas” by Bing Cosby from 1944.
I was somewhat surprised not to find “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the 1957 hit by Gene Autry, missing from the list.
Notice anything unusual about all 10 songs? None has a religious component. I’m not sure what that means, but you may draw your own conclusions.
Switching gears – lots of people will be paying more this year for their cable or satellite service, unless they’re among the sizeable group who are “cutting the cord” – discontinuing their cable service. Several million people have done so in the past year – realizing they’re paying big bills every month for so many channels they never watch.
They figure they can use their funds better by buying an inexpensive TV antenna and then signing up for services like Netflix and going online for sports programming.
ESPN and regional sports channels have been the biggest losers – they also command the highest monthly price – more than $6. ESPN has lost 7 million subscribers during the past two years.
A report by Bloomberg says that Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp., Dish Network Corp. and AT&T all plan rate increases in 2016, ranging from $1 to $5. They blame the rising cost of carrying the sports networks.
The report didn’t mention Charter Communications, which serves the Stevens Point-Plover area. But a report this week says the Federal Communications Commission will take a two-week pause in its review of the proposed merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable. The agency will study the impact of the deal on Time Warner’s regional sports networks and Charter’s residential rates and channel packaging. The review should wrap up in March.
If the merger passes muster, after a reasonable time, you could fork over more for your monthly service. The firm will let you know of any rate adjustment in fine print in the right hand column on page one of your bill.