Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #31

Well, here we are, we've finally arrived to the last day of the year, so of course I feel the need to post a New Year's Eve song for number 31.  There is one song that up until the past few years really didn't catch my attention.  Seth MacFarlane changed all that the moment I heard his performance of this song:
Originally written in 1947 by Frank Loesser and recorded by The Orioles it reached number nine on the music charts which is the highest spot it has occupied.  It had been recorded by many different acts over the years and I have heard and liked the Harry Connick, Jr. version as well as Barry Manilow's rendition.  None of them really struck me as being Hall of Fame worthy but there's just something about this version that puts it over the top for me.  Enjoy yourselves tonight and have a safe New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #30

Johnny Marks was quite the song writer; specializing in Christmas songs.  Years after writing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, he would write this song which was then recorded by a very mature sounding 13 year old Brenda Lee.  The song was originally released in 1958 but did not receive much attention until two years later when Brenda Lee's career began to take off.

The song charted as high as number three in 1965, over seven years after it was released.  A perennial holiday favorite, Lee's version is the only version worthy of note and is currently ranked at number four on the list of all time selling Christmas song in the world. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #29

Originally written by Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward Company.  The song was recorded by Gene Autry, a famous singing cowboy of the 1940's, and released on September 1, 1949.  The song reached number one on the billboard charts and stayed there until the beginning of January making it the first number one song on the 1950's.  Autry's original version alone has sold over 12 million copies.   

  Counting all sales of all the cover versions of the song and it is the second best selling Christmas song of all time just behind White Christmas originally recorded by Bing Crosby.  I can remember being in the Christmas Choir back in middle school with (who I believe was) Mr. Fritch as the director.  We performed this song and I can recall how it was the first time I ever heard the extra lines added in (as in "like a light bulb" added in after the "you would even say it glows" line) to the song.  This song IS Christmas.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #28

Released in 1981 as the B-side recording to My Kind Of Lover.  I was never much of a Billy Squire fan, I mean his songs were decent rock and roll dace songs but I never went crazy over any of them. 

It took this Christmas song to make me a fan.  This is just one of those songs that can really gets folks in the Christmas spirit and it is a great sing along song as well. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #27

Originally recorded under the pseudonym The Three Wise Men Thanks For Christmas is actually by New Wave Brit Pop band XTC.  The greatest success that XTC ever achieved in the states is with their two hits Dear Madam Barnum and The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead from their 1992 album Nunsuch.    

Thanks For Christmas was originally released as a double Christmas single with the B-side being Countdown To Christmas Party Time.  The songs would later be released on the collections of rare recording titled Rag and Bone Collection in 1990.  It's just one of those songs that I absolutely look forward to hearing as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are cleaned and put away. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


After all the presents are unwrapped, the tinsel poop has been pulled out of the dogs butt, and all the relatives and in-laws have gone home, what's left?  Christmas leftovers that's what and there's even some leftovers here at The Man Hole.  What we present to you is a collection of songs that almost made the Hall of Fame but for one reason or another they missed it by that much.  So here, have some leftovers, I'll go get a container.
If it wasn't for Darlene Love and her yearly performance of this song on Letterman, U2 would have been a shoe in for the Hall of Fame.  Maybe next year. 

Same goes for this one by Bon Jovi.  The Eagle's version edged out Jon's version but just barely.  Now if it was the 80's Hair Hall of Fame, Jon's first ballot.

 Don't usually think of the beach when I think of Christmas.  A definite for next year.  What?  Next year?  No way I'm doing this AGAIN!!


And finally we have this classic song done by John Denver and the Muppets.  Love this version and years later after hearing about John Denver's weed habit, I thing he was high for this whole show!  Shout out to my favorite Muppet lover Mike Slawinski Jr.

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #26

Sometimes referred to as Bells Will Be Ringing this song was originally recorded in 1960 by Charles Brown a blues pianist and singer.  The Eagles recorded and released their version in 1978 where it peaked at number 18 on the Billboard charts.

The choice as to which version to induct went back and forth between this version and the 1992 Jon Bon Jovi version.  In a very close decision this is the version we decided upon. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #25

 Recorded in 1966 and released as a single, this song would be Elvis' last recording of a Christmas song.  Perhaps the best sentiment of all Christmas songs is that the feeling of Christmas staying in our hearts every day of the year. 

Growing up I was exposed to high doses of Elvis Presley by my Aunt Jane.  This is one of her favorite Christmas songs and as she is having a rough go of it this year I wanted to put this on here and dedicate it to her.  God knows she will never read this as the woman does not own a computer and has no intentions of ever owning one but it's more important that all of you reading this know why this song is on the list and how important she is to me.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #24

Written by George Michael, Last Christmas was released in 1984 back when he was still in Wham!.  The song charted at number two only being outdone by Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas.  Wham! would go on to donate all of the monies they received for the Christmas release to the famine relief fund as well.  Last Christmas holds the record for being the song that has sold the most copies but never made it to number one on the charts. 

The video for the song marks the last time a clean shaved George Michael would appear in a video.  The next video the group released was for Everything She Wants and he was already sporting his soon-to-be trademark beard.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #23

Sometimes Christmas magic comes to us in weird ways.  In 1977 David Bowie was trying to "normalize" his career and only appeared on the holiday TV special because his mother liked Bing Crosby.  The writer of the Peace on Earth half of the song Ian Fraser said it was never clear if Crosby knew who Bowie was either.  "If Bing didn't know him, his kids certainly did.". 

The Piece on Earth part was written for the performance because David Bowie hated the Little Drummer Boy and requested to sing something else.  Even though Crosby was oblivious to what was going on and Bowie was ignorant to how big of a pain in the butt he was being this performance resulted in a duet that became an instant classic.  Sadly Bing Crosby died five weeks after the recording of the Christmas special which aired in the states on November 30, 1977. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #22

I mentioned in a previous post that I have seen Elton John in concert more than any other musical act so you just had to expect a Christmas song by Sir Elton would appear sooner or later.  But it might not be the one you expected.  Step Into Christmas is the song that gets all the air play on radio stations around the holidays.  Which is fine, I like Step Into Christmas alright but it's not his best Christmas song.  This is:

Originally recorded and released as the B-Side to Step Into Christmas in 1973 it was always the one I listened to instead since I hear the A-side enough on radio, in stores, on TV etc.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #21

Seeing as how today is Yule or the Winter Solstice for all you non-heathens, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to induct the following song.  The Christians and The Pagans was released in 1996 by folk singer-songwriter Dar Williams on her EP of the same name.   
This song, although about religious beliefs, is really about family.  It tries to show that no matter what the differences between people are we should not allow those difference to estrange us from one another.  Some nice sentiments in this one. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas In The Movies Part 2 Turtle Doves

Now we conclude the Man Hole's favorite 20 movies with Christmas appearing in them.  Not necessarily a Christmas movie but a movie that just happens to occur around Christmas is acceptable as well.  Thems be my rules on the subject.  Here then is the second half of the list or the top 10 biggies.  I'm guessing that everyone has seen at least one of the top 10 and probably more.

10. The Family Man (2000)
Starring Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, and Don Cheadle.  Directed by Brett Ratner.  Box Office gross of nearly $125 million. 
Part A Christmas Carol and part It's a Wonderful Life.  A wealthy Wall Street executive gets to see what his life would be like if he had made a different decision 13 years prior.  A mushy family drama to be sure.  
"I know we could both go on with our lives and we'd both be fine, but I've seen what we could be like together. And I choose us."    

9. Die Hard (1988)
Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedellia.  Box office gross of nearly $141 million. 

New York City Detective John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife.  Unfortunately, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone.
"Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker."

8. A Christmas Story (1983)
Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin.  Written and narrated by Jean Shepherd.  Box office gross of over $19 million not counting the countless times it's on TBS every year.
Ralphie, a young boy growing up, dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun. He sets out to convince the world this is the perfect gift. But along the way, he runs into opposition from his parents, his teacher, and even good 'ol Santa Claus himself.

 "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."

7.  Home Alone (1990)
Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.  Written by John Hughes and Directed by Christopher Columbus.  Box office gross of over $476 million.

An 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas must defend his home against idiotic burglars.   
"Keep the change, ya filthy animal!"

 6.  Elf  (2003)
Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, and Bob Newhart.  Directed by John Favreau.  Box office gross of over $225 million.
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.
"You smell like beef and cheese, you don't smell like Santa."

 5. The Santa Claus (1994)
Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, and  Wendy Crewson.  Box office gross of just under $190 million.
When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.   
"The Santa Clause: In putting on this suit and entering the sleigh, the wearer waives any and all rights to any previous identity, real or implied, and fully accepts the duties and responsibilities of Santa Claus, in perpetuity until such time that the wearer becomes unable to do so, by either accident or design."

4. Christmas Vacation (1989)
Starring:Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and Juliette Lewis.  Written by John Hughes.  Box office total of over $71 million.
It's Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids.
"Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, and Catherine O'Hara.  Produced and written by Tim Burton.  Box office gross of over $75 million.
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween but alas, they can't get it quite right.
"'Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems in a place perhaps you've seen in your dreams. For the story you're about to be told began with the holiday worlds of auld. Now you've probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven't I'd say it's time you begun."

2. Scrooge (1951)
Starring: Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison.  Brian Desmond Hurst directed and produced this adaption of  Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.  
The Man Hole's favorite version of this Christmas classic.  
"Well, my friend, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I'm simply not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. Which leaves me no choice, but to raise your salary."  

 1. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.  Written, produced, and directed by Frank Capra.  Box office totals of over $3 million dollars when first released; it has since been watched by countless millions each holiday season.  A Christmas classic that consistently ranks in the top ten of the AFI 100 best movies of all time.  
An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
"My mouth's bleeding, Bert! My mouth's bleeding!"

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #20

Darlene Love has performed this song on David Letterman's late night talk show on the last new show before Christmas since 1986 with the only exception being in 2007.  Due to the writers strike there were no shows being produced at the time.  This is one of those Christmas traditions that I wait for every year.   

Tonight, Darlene will perform the song on The Late Show With David Letterman for the 26th time.  Set your DVRs or stay up and watch it I promise you won't regret it.  You can also see if Jay Thomas can knock a giant meatball off of a Christmas tree with a football as well.  Now that's what I call entertainment!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #19

Not many people know this but after Elton John, Willie Nelson is the person I have seen in concert the most amount of times.  Willie wrote Pretty Paper in 1963 and it was recorded by the late great Roy Orbison.  Sixteen years later Willie recorded it for his 1979 Christmas album.   

I've always liked Roy Orbison's version but Willie's version is the one we are inducting here simply because Willie sings it with the emotion he intended.  A very sad, sad song but it gets the message through that at this very festive and joyous season, for some, it's anything but. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #18

As much as I feel O Holy Night needs to be sung by a guy, I like it when a woman sings Silent Night.  The longer a song has been around the more times it will be covered by different artists.  The version I present here is by Sinead O'Connor. 
I find this version hauntingly beautiful.  Originally recorded in 2007 the song appeared in the movie Fred Claus as well as appeared on the movie soundtrack. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #17

Another song where it needs to be a specific performer or the song just isn't the same.  Christmas Island by Leon Redbone is the only version that matters.  I know all the parrot heads out there will say that about the Jimmy Buffet version but this is my favorite version.

Being a Jersey boy through and through, I've never spent Christmas anywhere in a warm climate.  All but two of my 44 Christmases have been spent in my home state, the other two being spent in Virginia.  I always wondered how it would feel spending Christmas somewhere warm like Florida.  Disney World more specifically!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #16

We are just about half way through and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that I stole this idea from my dear close friend Rickster who I have been friends with for longer than I care to remember but it's been around thirty years.  Over at Rickster's blog The Land of Cerpts and Honey, during the month of October, Rickster inducted a song into his Halloween Song Hall of Fame.  One song was inducted every day of October for a total of 31 inductees. 

O Holy Night is one of Rickster's favorite Christmas songs (or I think it is unless I'm getting old and senile which is absolutely possible) and one of mine as well, so I wanted to take this opportunity to dedicate this inductee to my doddily do.  There are countless versions of this song but I don't care much for any versions done by females because I think the song needs the deeper voice of a tenor.  Josh Grobin does a  more than acceptable version but I'm not sure how RickyRickyRicky feels about that version so I opted to use Michael Crawford's rendition.  Eric Cartman does a surprisingly good and hilarious version also if you like a little comedy in your holy night. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #15

As with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, Blue Christmas has got to be the Elvis version or it just isn't worth listening to.  Blue Christmas is Elvis' song in my opinion.  All other versions are just cover versions.  But, you may ask, how can a version that was recorded before Elvis' version be considered a cover versions since that one came first. 

Yes it did come first but it would still be just pale comparisons to The Kings' version.   Elvis recorded the song in 1957 and cemented the song as a rock and roll Christmas song.  I'm not saying that if you like a different version that you are in any way unable to judge good music when you hear it but then again sometimes there's no accounting for taste.  Shakin' Stevens does a very good version as well but then he's just doing a pretty good Elvis impression.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #14

I feel the need to lighten the mood so what better way to do so than with a bunch of 50 something year old men in makeup and corsets?  In 2006 Twisted Sister, of We're Not Gonna Take It fame released A Twisted Christmas.  Most of the songs on the album are average (at best) 80's era sounding heavy metal versions of Christmas standards.  All of the songs are nothing to write home about except for one or two,.  

  O Come All Ye Faithful is not typically a favorite Christmas song of mine.  For some reason this version hits all the right chords (pun intended) for me.  Maybe it's because the song works best as an 80's metal song.  Maybe it's because it takes me back to 1983 and sophomore year when I bought my first Twisted Sister album.  Maybe it's because I like 50 year old men in makeup and corsets.


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #13

A yearly Christmas tradition that started over at my original blog, The Dharma and Greg Project, was that it wasn't officially the Christmas season until I heard The Pogues and Kirsty McColl sing Fairy Tale of New York.  It is one of the only features to have carried over to The Man Hole.  And, well, I guess it's now officially the holiday season. 

In Britain and Ireland this is considered to be one of if not the best Christmas songs of all time.  To me what better way to ring in the holidays than with a song about drug and alcohol abuse and a couple arguing about who crushed who's dreams first.  Originally released in 1987 the song marked it's 25th anniversary with a re-release celebration in 2012.  Sadly, Kirsty McColl died in 2000 while scuba diving off of the coast of Cozumel Mexico.  McColl pushed her 15 year old son out of the way of an oncoming speedboat.  McColl saved her son but in doing so she put herself directly in the path of the speedboat.  She was killed instantly.    My apologies for the awkward segue.  Happy Holidays.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #12

A song as good as todays inductee being performed by a band as talented as Queen should be more popular than it is.  However, I hardly ever hear this during the holidays.  Released as a single in 1984 the highest the song reached was #21 on the British charts and #8 on the Irish charts.  The song was released once more when it was included on Queens Greatest Hits volume 3 as a bonus track.

One of the reasons the song may not have become popular is because a video for the song was never made.  Back in 1984/1985 the MTV video boom was what would make or break a song.  Even a good song by a legendary rock group had difficulty getting a foothold on the charts back in the mid 80's without a  video.  That was when MTV played videos of course. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #11

And I can begin the countdown to the arrival of the first piece of hate mail I get in three... two... one ...  I hate the John Lennon/Yoko Ono version of this song.  There, I said it.  I don't know why I hate it either, I just do.  However, I absolutely love this version of which I have no idea why there is not a better version of this on YouTube. 

John and Yoko first recorded the song in 1971 and released it in 1972 as a protest to the war in Vietnam.  Melissa's' version was recorded live in concert in 1994.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #10

When I was gathering the list of songs I would be putting into the Hall Of Fame, the lovely and talented Denise, better known as my main squeeze, was almost in complete 100% agreement.  She only had one request and that was for this song to be on the list:

Originally released in 1981, the song has become a modern day classic.  The Waitresses hit the music charts with their song I Know What Boys Like that was released in 1980.  Christmas Wrapping actually ranked higher on the charts so guess technically they wouldn't be considered a one hit wonder.  Sadly the lead singer Patty Donahue died of lung cancer in 1996 at the age of 40.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas In The Movies

Let's take a break from the music for a while and take in some movies.  Ten movies to be exact.  Here are numbers 11-20 of the Man Holes favorite movies where Christmas makes an appearance.

20.  Trading Places (1983)
Starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.  Directed by John Landis.  U.S. box office gross of over $90 million.
Philadelphia at Christmas time is the perfect backdrop for this loosely and comedic retelling of Mark Twain's Prince and the Pauper. 
"Looking good Louis!" 

19. 1941 (1979)
Starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.  Directed by Stephen Spielberg and written by Robert Zemeckis.  Box office gross of over $94 million. 
Frantic Californians react to a possible U.S. invasion after Pearl Harbor in the middle of December.  More drama than a comedy but still has some funny parts. 
" You won't get shit out of me. I've been constipated all week!" 

 18. Love, Actually (2003)
Starring Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth.  Written and directed by Richard Curtis.  Box office gross of over $246 million. 
A romantic comedy following the lives and stories (maybe too many stories) of eight different couples in London all taking place in December.
"Hello, David. I mean "sir". Shit, I can't believe I've just said that. And now I've gone and said "shit" - twice. I'm so sorry, sir."       

 17. Lethal Weapon (1987)
Starring Mel Gibson (before he was nuts), Danny Glover, and Gary Busey (also before he went crazy).  Directed by Richard Donner.  Box office gross of over $120 million. 
Buddy-cop movie about miss matched partners whose friendship grows as they are on the hunt for drug smugglers.
"I'm too old for this shit!"

 16. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, and John Payne.  
The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the impact of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa.  One of the classics.
"Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind and that's what's been changing. That's why I'm glad I'm here, maybe I can do something about it."

 15. Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)
Starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, and Colin Firth.  Written, directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis.  Box office total of over $325 million.
Disney's animated take on the Dickens's classic.
"BAH! Humbug!" 

14. Scrooged (1988)
Starring Bill Murray, Karen Allen, and John Forsythe.  Directed by Richard Donner.  Box office total of over $60 million.
Another modernization of the Dickens's classic more loosely based this time. 
"If you TOUCH ME AGAIN, I'll rip your god damned wings off! Okay?"  

 13. Bad Santa (2003)
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham and Tony Cox.  Box office total of over $76 million.
A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot. This also marks the last movie appearance of John Ritter before his death.
"He's not going to say fuck stick in front of the children, is he?"    

 12. Gremlins (1984)
Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton.  Written by Chris Columbus.  Box office of over $153 million.
A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.   
"Bright light!  Bright light!"

 11. Jack Frost (1998)
Starring Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, and Joseph Cross.  Box office of over $34 million.
A father, who can't keep his promises, dies in a car accident. One year later, he returns as a snowman, who has the final chance to put things right with his son before he is gone forever.
"My balls are freezin! I never thought I'd say THAT with a smile on my face. "

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #9

What better way to celebrate the holidays in music and song than by listening to a 68 year old Jewish man sing a Christmas tune.  Make that song sound like a polka and well only one song comes to mind.  With a raucous party in the background, Bob Dylan celebrates the holiday as well as pokes fun at it. 

That is a wig he's wearing in the video, right?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #8

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer debuted on NBC in 1964.  Aside from the animated special bringing us such memorable moments like Yukon Cornelius, the Bumble, the Island of Misfit Toys, and of course there's Santa just being an all around dick to Rudolph, the show brought us a new Christmas classic. 

Burl Ives, a popular folk singer and actor at the time, voiced the character of Sam the Snowman.  At the end of the show he delivers our eighth Hall of Fame inductee.   The stop motion animated special by Rankin and Bass is the longest running Christmas special in TV history.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #7

As far back as I can remember Silver Bells by Jim Reeves was a big favorite in my family.  The song was first introduced to me when I could barely walk by my grandmother who passed away in 1983.  Never does a holiday season go by that I don't listen to the song and get choked up singing along.  This version is by Jim Reeves who was a country singer popular in the 50's and 60's.  Elvis Presley also does a very nice version of the song as well.  

Written in 1951, the song was originally titled Tinkle Bells until the wife of one of the writers told her husband that they could not possibly give the song that title so the name was changed to Silver Bells.  The song first appeared in the 1951 movie The Lemon Drop Kid.  The stars of the movie Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell performed the song.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #6

In October of 1984 Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wanted to write a song that could be recorded and sold to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.  Bob Geldof later appeared on BBC radio and called for recruits from British and Irish music stars to help make the sales of the recording larger. On November 24, 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released four days later.       

How many artists could you name?  Of course all of them are thirty years older now!  The song still remains one of the most sold singles ever and is the second highest selling single song in British history.  Band Aid (as the group was named) would go on to spawn Live Aid and We Are The World (a group of American singers who recorded a single with the same name), Northern Lights (a group of Canadian music stars), and Hear N' Aid (a heavy metal super group led by Ronnie James Dio as well as fellow Dio members Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell).  Here's hoping for a 40th anniversary version.  But not needing a charity to feed the hunger around the world would be even better.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #5

This song I originally downloaded in February of '08.  That's right after Christmas so you would expect it would be another nine months before I would drag it out again, blow off the dust, and dial it up on my I-Pod (remember those?).  That would have been the case if the song was just a regular Christmas song.  Which this isn't.  Far from it.  I pretty much listened to this song all of 2008 and enjoyed the video for it as well.  The video, in fact, is what made the song a favorite of mine.   
Let's take stock; we have a demented puppet show, a homicidal Santa, several horrible Christmas sweaters, a festive goat, and the lead singer of The Killers, Brandon Flowers, is tied up using garland and Christmas lights.  That's just the first half of the video.  Mostly light hearted and fun however there is that one line:

"No one else around believes me
But the children on the block they tease me
I couldn't let them off that easy"

gives the song that hard left turn that takes it somewhere else.  Some songs aren't meant to be Christmas songs.  Others probably shouldn't be and although this one definitely leans towards the latter category, I cherish every second of it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #4

There are countless versions of many Christmas songs.  Most of the time it doesn't matter much who is singing the song.  I say I say I say MOST of the time.  Sometimes a song is performed by an artists and it feels like the song was always meant to be done by that particular performer.  Song number four is one of those songs. 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band originally only performed this song live in concert the few weeks leading into the Christmas holiday.  They would eventually record a version of the song while on tour in 1978, however the song wasn't released until 1985 as the "B" side to My Hometown, a single off of the Born In The USA album.  Sadly, Clarence Clemons is another who has left us far too soon but we are lucky to still be able to enjoy his "Ho Ho Ho's". 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #3

Released in 1983 this song is technically not supposed to be nor was it intended to be a Christmas song.  So what better way to make certain this list is as screwed up as we are by putting a song on it that isn't supposed to be here.       

2000 Miles is not the distance between two lovers as some suspect from the song lyrics.  The song is actually a tribute for the groups guitarist James Honeyman-Scott who had died the year before the song was released.  It's a good song for anyone who may be missing someone this holiday season or anytime for that matter.  I liked this song since the first time I heard it and over the years I have fallen in love with it.  For us here at The Man Hole this song has an extra special meaning this year.  Tell all your loved ones you love them and hold them close as often as you can because someday they won't be there anymore.  In the words of another Christmas song, this one from the animated classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, "there's always tomorrow".  Until there isn't.


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Man Hole Christmas Song Hall of Fame Inductee #2

Originally recorded in 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers (yes, the Sound of Music kids) the song was then called "Carol of the Drum".  Perhaps the best known version of the song was recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale in 1958. 
In 1987 the album A Very Special Christmas was released with proceeds from sales supporting the special Olympics.  Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band recorded the song for the album and it remains one of the most powerful versions ever performed.  I love many and nearly every version of this song that I've heard.  Jimi Hendrix also recorded a version which I highly recommend you put on your holiday listening list if you have never heard it before.  While watching this video if you are of the same age category as I am, meaning anything over 35-ish, *ahem*, you may also be a little astonished and possible even a bit depressed by how old Bob Seger looks in this recent live recording. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Christmas Corner With Denise

We all have one or two specific things we look forward to when the holiday season rolls around.  Missing one of them would be unheard of and unacceptable.  For Denise, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is one of those things.  Aside from the fact you have Dr. Seuss teaming up with horror icon Boris Karloff to narrate and you are off to a good start.  I myself have seen the 1966 animated classic more times than I can count but when it's on and Denise is watching it I find that I am watching her watch it more than I am looking at the TV. 
I almost forgot to add in Thurl Ravenscroft  appears in an uncredited roll to sing the now very famous theme. My fellow Disney addicts will recognize his voice from The Haunted Mansion ride.  But back to Denise watching the show; when she watches it she recites just about all of the lines word for word and has an undying love for Doctor Seuss. 

That's not a picture of Denise watching the show that's little Cindy Lou Who.  Denise explains to me that she loves the show because the Grinch is so miserable and mean and hates Christmas (which he says he has done for 53 years, so just how old is he and how old is considered old for a Who) because deep down he is jealous of the Who's having all types of things that he doesn't have.  

After the Grinch "takes Christmas away from the Whos" he makes his way back to his cave on Mount Crumpet and waits to hear the cries of sadness coming from Whoville.  The Grinch is surprised when even with Christmas not coming to town, the Whos still gathered in the town center and joined hands to sing Christmas  carols.  The Grinch then realizes that Christmas doesn't come from possessions but from within.  Suddenly, the Grinch does a one hundred and eighty degree turn.   

Upon realizing this fact the Grinch, with the strength of ten Grinches, plus two he saves Christmas and brings the sleigh back to Whoville and participates in the celebration of the holiday.  TV Guide ranks it as the best TV Holiday special of all time.  

Here's hoping that all of our hearts have the ability to grow three sizes this holiday season.