Taking cues from Paul Crutcher and how he sometimes produces his twice monthly music column, I took to social media to basically ask friends to write this darn thing for me.
I asked: What are the five holiday songs you’d like to see stored forever in Yucca Mountain and what are the five you will love until your final Christmas season journey ends? And why?
Right off the bat I thought I’d hear from U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, who has an affinity for Yucca Mountain, but he’s been busy in D.C. Apparently.
Of course, not everyone could come up with five songs, so I gave plenty of leeway. Now, let’s see what folks came up with. And feel free to hit this up on Facebook or indexjournal.com and add your own nominees.
Former IJ reporter Russell Cox, admittedly the true inspiration behind this whole project, said his favorites are “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “O Holy Night,” because they’re peaceful and profound, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” because my grandmother would sing it, and “I Saw Three Ships” and “Good King Wenceslas” because they’re fun to sing.
In his own post, Russell shared a good bit about the songs he wanted to see die. Quickly. Not known for strong views, Russell had this to say about one particular holiday tune: “‘Baby It’s Cold Outside.’ I’m familiar with the take that, far from being ‘the date rape Christmas song,’ it’s merely reflective of the highly limited ways that people could talk about sex and relationship issues in the 1940s, and the ‘what’s in this drink’ line would have been understood by the original audience to be a stock joke – ‘I’m blaming my decisions on alcohol in order to maintain social standing.’ If we’re to the point of debating original authorial intent like we do with the Constitution, it’s time to jettison this relic and find a new Christmas duet standard.”
High school pal Joanne Kellam offered as her favorites “Handel’s Messiah,” “Carol of the Bells” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and anything else by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “They take me back to wonderful memories of childhood Christmases past.” She offered none to relegate to the mountain.
Pam Fagan, of Greenwood, listed “A Wonderful Christmastime” by Sir Paul, because it’s Sir Paul. “My favorite Christmas Carols are ‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Janie Brooks McQueen, another former co-worker, said the following need to go away forever: “’Baby It’s Cold Outside.’ No sexist mumbo jumbo, it’s just a dumb twee song. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas.’ No, they don’t; I’m sure they have other things on their minds. Shut up. ‘Last Christmas.’ Because it was annoying already and now Taylor Swift sings it and I hate it. If we’re talking contemporary, I don’t listen to her otherwise, but Mariah Carey does great Christmas. And ‘Christmas is All Around’ from Love, actually because it’s intentionally terrible and the backup is awesome. I love ‘In the Bleak Midwinter.’”
Tim Dillard had an interesting couple of selections. “’The Little Drummer Boy’ because it was my Mama’s favorite and she is no longer with us, and when I typed that a big swirl of dust got in my eyes.”
Awww, we get understand, Tim.
He goes on: “’O, Holy Night’ because of the message and because when it is sung correctly it will remove the fingerprints. Wait, no. That’s a .44 mag, auto mag. When sung correctly, it sounds outstanding and gives me chills.”
Sure seems I heard from plenty of former co-workers, but that’s OK.
Libby Swope Wiersema was locked, loaded and fired away with these:
“Eradicate forever: “Santa Baby,” “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and “Last Christmas.” Faves: “What Child is This?” ““O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “The First Noel,” “We Three Kings,” and “Up on the House Top” She chalks her faves up to her Catholic upbringing.
Cathy Ballou, another former co-worker from back in the day and joins my Rocky Mount, North Carolina crew weighing in. She votes for Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
She adds, “I’m not fond of ‘I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas’ or the song about Maria finding a bird or the kid wanting to buy shoes for his dying mom. And the soundtrack from ‘Die Hard.’”
Ken Murchison wants to keep “I Believe In Father Christmas” by Emerson Lake & Palmer “just because.” He picks “Father Christmas” by The Kinks” because it rocks.” Ken, it’s playing as I add you to this column. Porky’s “Blue Christmas” by Seymour Swine hit his list “because my father sang it a lot.”
Cindy Johnson, another Rocky Mount connection, said her favorites are “by the lady group The Roches. They often sing a cappela.” Her top five: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “We Three Kings,” “Jingle Bells,” “The First Noel” and “Winter Wonderland.” “They are jaunty and/or beautiful and have beautiful messages,” she said. The songs she’d bury? “Frosty the Snowman,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” “Do They Know it’s Christmas.” “They are juvenile and irritating!”
Wanda Rinker, our senior most member of the newsroom, wants to keep “Happy Christmas-War is Over,” “Little St. Nick” by the Beach Boys, “O Holy Night” and Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” She’s also a fan of “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee while joining the ranks of those wanting to dump “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
Lara Brown Hudson, Uptown Greenwood’s manager, is with Wanda on that. “I detest ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ because it’s disrespectful to grandmas everywhere.” She goes on to say “the dogs barking ‘Jingle Bells’ is not music, just noise. She said “O Holy Night” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain” are beautiful songs because she has fond memories of hearing them sung in church growing up. “I also love ‘12 Days of Christmas’ because growing up my family would sing this in my grandparents’ living room while my uncle played the piano and my Papa would always sing the ‘partridge in a pear tree’ part. He had a beautiful voice and it is one of my favorite memories.”
Another high school alum, MaryJo Turner, lists as her favorites “Mary Did You Know,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride” “The Christmas Song” and “O Holy Night.” She too could live without “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” “Santa Baby,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” “’Mary Did You Know’ touches my mama’s heart and the other favorites create a vision of a perfect Christmas. The dislikes just plain grate because the lyrics don’t promote the spirit of the season.”
Matt Anderson, who used to work in sports at the IJ and loves parking cars on the railroad tracks on Maxwell Avenue near Kicker’s, said “Keep forever Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” All other versions pale in comparison.
Kathie Hicks, of Greenwood, actually likes “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” To Yucca Mountain she’d send “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, “Santa Baby” and “Last Christmas.” She finds them all annoying. She’d also keep “This Baby” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Mary Did You Know,” “O Holy Night,” “It’s Just a Girl,” and “Hark the Herald Angels.”
Fellow IJ staffer Bob Simmonds kept it simple: “12 Pains of Christmas” by Bob Rivers is his “all-time fave.”
Leave it to Paul Crutcher to be the only one who responded with what I’d agree is a classic, “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole. “It’s like velvet fog. The perfect song delivered like no other could do it. It’s always my favorite.”
May your Christmas season be as joyous as a favorite song.