December 08, 2007

If You Want It

Monday will mark the fortieth anniversary of Otis Redding’s untimely passing. Only twenty-six at the time, Redding had already established himself as one of the very best soul singers to ever record, mixing gospel and R&B into a style all his own. On the night of December 10, 1967, Redding and most of his back-up band The Bar-Kays were aboard a plane that crashed into a lake near Madison, Wisconsin. Three days prior to his death, Redding had recorded what would become his biggest hit—and though not a Christmas song, I’m posting it as an extra.

(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Redding

Listening to Otis Redding at Home on Christmas – Okkervil River

Tuesday marks the anniversary of Sam Cooke’s murder. The events around this are still debated, but it’s safe to say that the world was robbed of a major talent. Cooke had one of the greatest voices of the last century. (CHRISTMAS SONG AIN'T SAM COOKE--SEE COMMENTS FOR MORE!)

What A Wonderful World This Would Be – Sam Cooke

Christmas Means Love – Sam Cooke

Today marks the anniversary of John Lennon’s murder in New York City. Every year, I’ve posted “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by Lennon in remembrance of the day. Sadly, I wasn’t alive for a single day of Lennon’s life—my mother was pregnant twenty-seven years ago today. And it wasn’t until high school that I really discovered The Beatles. It’s easy to speculate about what Lennon would have done in the later years of his life, but let’s not forget all that the man accomplished. Lennon left an indelible testament that spoke to the very greatest aspects in humanity, and “Happy Xmas (Was Is Over)” certainly demonstrates that. The song’s message has only become more relevant with each passing year. So yet again, have a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.

Here are four different versions.

The Polyphonic Spree

Sarah McLachlan

Sense Field

John Lennon


Anonymous said...

I hate to ruin the mood of this wonderful piece, but Sam Cooke had nothing to do with "Christmas Means Love." The song was recorded by the Soul Stirrers in 1968, 4 years after Sam's death. It appeared on the Chess LP "A Christmas Dedication," which has never been issued on CD so far as I can tell, though several of the individual tracks have.

Sam Cooke was a member of the Soul Stirrers in the early fifties and recorded some fine gospel music, which has been collected on a "Complete Recordings" Box Set you'll find at Amazon

"Christmas Means Love" was not among those early Soul Stirrers recordings.

Much as we wish it were otherwise, Sam Cooke never recorded a real Christmas song. I've heard rumors that he may have performed one on a television program, but I'm still waiting for that to surface. Sam Cooke has appeared on a few Christmas compilations, most frequently performing "Any Day Now," but occasionally on one of the early Soul Stirrers sides.

JV said...

Well I'm gonna eat my hat. For some unknown reason the song I have lists none other than Sam Cooke. Thanks for the information and the correction! We mean well, but are imperfect. One look at my diminishing hairline will tell you that.

Anonymous said...

I noted when I downloaded the song that the tag was from another website's posted mix (the leather canary). This is usually how these things spread. One guy posts it wrong and everybody else gets it from there.

Same thing happened with "White Christmas" by Bob and the Dylantones being credited as Bob Dylan and "Punk Rock Christmas" by the Ravers being credited to the Sex Pistols.

I have a file of "White Christmas" credited to Shania Twain, but I'm dubious. Certainly nothing's been released, but since Shania was reportedly working on a Christmas album a few years back the possibility does exist. And it does sound like her, so maybe I go ahead and post it as... That's how these things happen.

No harm intended. I love your site!