Archive | December 2009

McCartney vs. Lennon: The Beatles Christmas Song Debate

LennonMcCartneyIn my 26 years on this planet, I’ve learned there are two types of people:  Those that prefer John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over), and those who prefer Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

Sure, there is a small minority that likes both equally, but most have a strong preference to one or the other.  The two songs are on opposite ends of the holiday music spectrum and have sparked fiery debate over egg nog sippers for decades.

Let’s discuss.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Not a traditional holiday song by any means, and it’s by design.  Lennon wanted to project his message of peace into the Christmas season, and no better way to do it than by having children repeatedly chant “war is over, if you want it.”  I get it, John.  Peace is good. War is bad.  You’re in love with Yoko (even if you still nailed all kinds of women on the side).

The song’s message is true, but depressing, and I want to be cheerful during this time of year.  Also, John Lennon seemed to take himself a bit too seriously.  Earnest for earnest’s sake.  That’s annoying.

On the other side of the coin, we have McCartney’s Christmas entry:

Wonderful Christmastime

There’s no arguing that McCartney and Lennon took completely different paths with their post-Beatles careers.  McCartney was more schmaltzy and fun, Lennon had gravitas and the critical acclaim.  That might work against McCartney when taking a look at their complete solo catalogs, but that helps him with light holiday fare.

“Wonderful Christmastime” is a perfect, if simple, seasonal song.  The video features Paul and Linda enjoying the season together.  Paul and Linda actually had  the true, loving relationship that John and Yoko professed to have in public.

The song says “hey, we know there’s shit going down in the world and that people are less fortunate, but for now, let’s appreciate each others  company and have some fun.”  Really, when you set aside religion, that’s what the holidays are all about;  getting reconnected with your loved ones and taking time to appreciate what you have.

McCartney’s song is bubbly, fun, and it has a synthesizer.

“Happy Xmas” has a similar message, just a different path to it, and one that makes me sad.  Sadness is the last emotion I want to feel.

So on this Christmas Eve, I’ll enjoy a wide variety of holiday songs, including “Happy Xmas.” When it comes down to it, though, I’m a “Wonderful Christmastime” kind of guy.

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Jingle Blog Rock

Hello everyone.  I hope this blog finds you in good spirits.  The holiday season is in full swing.  There’s a side-project I’ve been working on with my friend during December.  It’s called Jingle Blog Rock and if you need something to get your in the spirit, go there.  It will put you into holiday overdrive.  Tell your friends.  It’s what Bing Crosby and Burl Ives would’ve wanted.

http://jingleblogrock.wordpress.com

And for fun, here’s a photo of me dressed as Bing Crosby for Halloween 2006:

Jesus vs. X

nativity-scene_webTo celebrate the holidays, here’s an old “Gettin’ Later” skit that was group-written along with Ben Mitchell and Chris Demeglio.  Originally aired in December of 2003,  this sketch  has Jesus visit the “Gettin’ Later” set to spread holiday cheer. Things take a dramatic turn, however, when Jesus’ rival X threatens to claim Christmas as his own.  Some of the references are dated, but overall it stands the test of time.  Enjoy.

Thanks to Ben Mitchell for finding this.

—–
Jesus
Hello my children.

Ben & Ryan:
Hey! It’s Jesus everybody!

Ben
So JC, to what do we owe this pleasure?

Jesus
Well you know it’s the holidays and that means only one thing…it’s my birthday!

Ryan
Oh, Jesus, Jesus.

Jesus
Don’t take my name in vain, Goddammit.

(Jesus sings happy B-day)

X
Wait just a damn minute!

Jesus
Oh no! It’s X!

X
That’s right…the NEW meaning of Christmas…I mean X-mas.

Ben
Wait…what’s this all about, Jesus?

Jesus
He’s nothing…just ignore him.

X
Yes (evil laugh), that’s what I’m counting on you to do. I’m coming up through the underground. People writing my name on boxes, on the backs of photographs, and as an abbreviation on television! All the while Jesus prances around celebrating his birthday on X-mas like it’s his divine right.

Ben
Well, it kinda is.

X
Silence! I’m taking this holiday back for the people! Soon…

(Lights go out)

Ben
Wait….where’s X?

Jesus
Well, the Lord does work in mysterious ways! (wink)

(Group laugh)

Jesus
Well, I’m out like an Anglican Bishop!
(Jesus leaves)

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They Don’t Make TV Promos Like They Used To

After reading a couple status updates from the great Tommy James, it led me to view a couple classic promos from TV classic “Mr. Belvedere.”  They just don’t make advertisements like they used to. For instance:

This unforgettable promo is from the Very Special Child Molestation Episode. Superb acting all around, and in 12 seconds sucks you in to young Wesley’s journey as he tells the world, namely, Bob Uecker,  his story.  Also, take note of the accused molester’s snicker after Wesley says “that’s what he did to me.”  Makes me laugh every time.

DesigningWomenBack in the 80’s, every show had to have an episode dedicated to this serious topic. “Diff’rent Strokes,” was another shining example.

My personal favorite?  The “Designing Women” episode where Meshach Taylor is accused of diddling the paper boy.

“Mr Belvedere” was the gold standard for awesome promos.  In fact, Christopher Hewett, who played the lovable butler, often attributed the show’s longevity to their promos’ cutting edge material.  Another example:

In 20 seconds you get Bob Uecker covering a Frank Sinatra song, witty banter between the male leads, and the airdate of the upcoming episode.  Whoever put this together is a god.