Christmas is here, and a whole new passel of singers are taking on the holiday classics we grew up listening to. Because who needs Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas when we’ve got… Chris Brown! I say SACRILEGE.
Some Christmas classics need to stay classic. Still, there are some great updates on the Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole standards, and every year new artists add to the list. I reached out to my Twitter friends to ask what their fave Christmas covers were, and got some great responses. Pisces in Purple loves John Cougar Mellencamp’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. DJ Diva loves Destiny’s Child singing Carol of the Bells. Jawnita, self-described HBIC of my favorite music magazine The Fader, shouted out Mariah’s So So Def remix of All I Want for Christmas is You.
My top 5 is a little more traditional, but hey – it ends with a giveaway! The last for the season!! So without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas cover songs.
1. Aretha Franklin’s Silent Night.
The Queen of Soul released her very first holiday album this year, This Christmas, exclusively for sale at Borders. It’s all about Christmas classics, sang as only Aretha could — big and majestic and soaring. If you like your holidays traditional, you’ll love Aretha’s album. Her voice can fill a cathedral. And this song brings the reason for the season to mind immediately.
2. Whitney. Do You Hear What I Hear?
On a personal note — Whitney Houston, I miss you and that magnificent voice. Come back soon!
Goodness gracious, her voice is so big and so beautiful. I’ve always loved this particular song, written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962. Bing Crosby’s was the first popular version, but Whitney’s is absolutely my favorite. And don’t get me started on her version of Joy to the World!
3. What Child Is This, by Vanessa Williams.
I think Vanessa’s smooth, warm, jazzy version of this song — originally recorded for A Very Special Christmas, Volume 2 is the business. And she’s stunning as ever in the video. This song would fit in equally well around the fireplace, opening presents with your family, as it would at a crowded bar, sipping hot toddies with your friends. I’ve celebrated Christmas in both ways, so I know of what I speak.
4. Ledisi’s cover of Give Love on Christmas Day.
I am so late to the Ledisi party! She’s so talented, beautiful, all natural… an obvious candidate for the return of Afrobella of the Month in 2009. The songstress has recorded a brilliant holiday album, It’s Christmas, and it’s a must-have for any bella who’s feeling the holiday spirit. And AOL Black Voices reveals, she’s planning a tour! If you’re looking for a new holiday album to add to your collection, this is the one. Her voice just floats so beautifully on tracks like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and her original songs, are sure to be classics in our holiday rotation eventually. I absolutely adore that she covered a contemporary classic, one I grew up listening to on the Jackson 5 Christmas Album.
Aww. Young Michael’s voice still touches my heart.
5. Brian McKnight’s take on The Christmas Song.
Brian McKnight’s version of The Christmas Song gives a delicious update to the holiday classic that speaks most to my Christmas memories. I almost didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do, because Nat King Cole is so close to my heart. But Soulbounce dubbed him the heir apparent, and his version reveals why. It’s like Nat King Cole with a little Marvin Gaye flava. I love it. I think Brian McKnight’s album, I’ll Be Home For Christmas is a beautiful update for families who own Nat King Cole’s Christmas album. I am listening to it and loving it, and I’m proud to offer it as my final Christmas giveaway!
FIVE lucky winners will win a copy of Brian McKnight’s album, I’ll Be Home For Christmas AND a copy of Ledisi’s It’s Christmas.
And I’ll make this an easy one. All you have to do is tell me, what do YOU want to find underneath your Christmas tree this year?
I will close these comments on Sunday, and announce winners on Monday! I gotta get this moving in order to get these items mailed out before the holidays.
Happy Friday, bellas and fellas!! And Merry Christmas!!