Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today In Oldies 12/21/2010

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Everything Oldies.......where Santa comes for Oldies news

Oldies on TV

  • Bette Midler - Regis and Kelly - syndicated (check local listings)
  • Los Lobos - Conan - TBS (11:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 p.m. Central)

Behind The (Christmas) Music

This week, Everything Oldies tells the stories behind the classic pop Christmas songs and albums you've come to know and love.  From the original titles of some of your favorite Yuletide standards to the story of how unforeseen bad timing kept a classic 60's Christmas album from being fully appreciated upon its release, we hope you enjoy the tales that go along with the songs that have made Christmas merrier for many years.....

  • When is a Christmas Song NOT a "Christmas Song"? 

A 1984 song that has become a holiday classic is a Christmas song in title only.  In spite of being just a failed relationship song that happens to reference Christmas, it has become as big as many established Christmas songs that revolve around the season and its traditions.  In the 26 years since its first release, it has been covered by more than 70 artists across all musical genres!  It is the biggest selling single, holiday or otherwise, of all time in the UK to never reach #1.  While it was not a chart hit in the U.S., it has become a staple around the holidays on radio stations who play continuous Christmas music.  Ironically, what was conceived as a charity single to benefit an organization for Ethiopian famine relief was kept out of the #1 slot in Britain by another all-star Christmas charity single written by the organization's founder. 

Wham! was the most dominant pop group on the British charts in the 80's, and George Michael wrote a song about a failed relationship referencing the Christmas season as a charity single.  It was expected to be in a battle for the #1 spot on the British chart at the time with another hot pop act at the time, Frankie Goes To Hollywood.  The song Michael wrote, "Last Christmas", was indeed involved in a race to the top of the charts, but from an unexpected competitor and one with which Wham! had some involvement.  "Last Christmas" was a smash, hitting #2 on the British pop charts and ultimately selling over a million copies, but the song which kept it from reaching the pinnacle was also a charity single.  Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof formed an all-star choir known as Band Aid, featuring most of the superstars on the British music scene from the era, including members of Culture Club, Genesis, Duran Duran, Bananarama, U2, and Kool and the Gang.  Wham! had also participated, with George Michael doing a few solo lines in the song.  Geldof's song, "Do They Know It's Christmas", garnered much of the attention due to its starpower and became the holiday song that year.  With proceeds from "Last Christmas" also benefitting African famine relief, millions were raised from sales of the two singles alone to fight hunger.  In fact, Wham! had the last laugh, eventually raising more money via "Last Christmas" than Band Aid thanks to subsequent annual re-releases of the song until Wham!'s breakup in 1987. The song actually was a much bigger smash worldwide than "Do They Know It's Christmas?", hitting #1 in Ireland and Top 10 in several countries around the globe. 

Along with the charitable benefits of "Last Christmas", it clearly struck a chord with the Gen X crowd.  It has been covered dozens of times since Wham! had a hit with it, being done by current chart topping acts such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and the cast of Glee.  You certainly don't have to listen too long to hear the Christmas song that isn't really a Christmas song on the radio this time of the year........

Golden Hits Radio & GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

Two Billy Joel songs have doubled as TV show theme songs over the years.  Name both of them.

Check back tomorrow @ Everything Oldies for the answer, and leave a comment here with your best guess!

Yesterday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

"Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" began as a promotional vehicle for what now defunct department store chain?

Answer: Montgomery Ward


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