Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #8

“My Christmas Wish,” Johnny Colla, 2020.

One of the founding members of Huey Lewis and The News (who’s a capella version of Winter Wonderland landed on 2015’s list), Colla has released two solo albums and gives us this peppy ode to holidays spent heartbroken, yet hopeful.

TRIVIA: Johnny co-wrote 80’s classics “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” “The Power of Love,” and “If This Is It.”

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #7

“What Christmas Means to Me,” Stevie Wonder, 1967.

This classic was featured on Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” album. I thought I had already added it to my list, but here it is now!

TRIVIA: Despite containing two songs that would go on to become holiday classics (with the title track being the other), “Someday At Christmas” failed to chart on its original release.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #6

“Merry Christmas Baby,” Otis Redding, 1968.

This R&B Christmas standard was originally recorded in 1947 by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown on vocals. Redding’s cover ups the tempo and adds a distinctive electric organ.

TRIVIA: Charles Brown would go on to sing the classic “Please Come Home for Christmas” in 1960.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #5

“Twistin’ Bells,” Santo and Johnny, 1960.

Just based on their names, I always thought this instrumental duo were Latinos, but brothers Santo Anthony Farina and John Steven Farina are Italians from Brooklyn. Their distinctive sound comes from Santo’s steel guitar.

TRIVIA: The beginnings of Santo and Johnny’s most famous song, “Sleep Walk,” came about when the brothers decided to work on music one sleepless night after a gig.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #4

“All Alone On Christmas,” Darlene Love, 1992.

When I first heard this song, I thought it was much older than it actually is. Come to my surprise, the song is was featured in the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Darlene Love also recorded 1963’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which is also one of my faves, and likely accounts for my confusion.

TRIVIA: Members of The E Street Band and The Miami Horns perform.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #3

“Same Old Lang Syne,” Dan Fogelberg, 1980

This is one of the few Christmas songs that is based on a true story. Dan Fogelberg bumped into an old flame sometime in the mid 1970s and the encounter inspired this song. Naturally, he took a few poetic liberties.

TRIVIA: The woman Dan bumped into is Jill Anderson Greulich, who told her side of the story in a December 2007 article following Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #2

“When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter,” Gene Autry with the Cass County Boys, 1950

The Singing Cowboy fills us in on what happens to all those letters that end up at the North Pole.

TRIVIA: The Cass County Boys were accordionist Fred Martin, guitarist Jerry Scoggins, and bassist Bert Dodson. The Boys regularly performed with Autry on his radio program “Melody Ranch” and appeared in several of Autry’s films and TV shows.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #1

“Step Into Christmas,” Elton John, 1973

This wonderfully self-aware tune (the first line is “Welcome to my Christmas song!”) was written and composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and would go on to reach #1 on Billboard’s Christmas Singles chart.

TRIVIA: “Step into Christmas” was mixed to imitate Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” technique.

Click here to hear all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Eighty Favorite Christmas Songs!

Every Christmas for the last few years I have posted a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs. Some classic, some modern, some weird, but all full of Christmas cheer! 

Click here to listen to all of them on YouTube!

I tried to pick some of the more eclectic songs and different renditions of classics the first time around in 2014:

Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles

Winter Wonderland – The Eurythmics

Little St. Nick – The Beach Boys

If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas – Gene Autry

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin

Christmas Vacation – Mavis Staples

What Child is This – Liona Boyd

White Christmas – The Drifters

Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid

Santa Claus and His Old Lady – Cheech and Chong

There’s Always Tomorrow – Janice Orenstein

Feliz Navidid – Jose Feliciano

Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney

Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town – Bruce Springsteen

Last Christmas – Wham!

Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry

Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Someday at Christmas – Stevie Wonder

Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” – Barenaked Ladies Feat. Sarah McLachlan

We Need a Little Christmas – Percy Faith

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack – Vince Girauldi Trio

Christmas at Ground Zero – Weird Al Yankovic

2015 featured more standards but there were still plenty of oddballs to be found.

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole

Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Gene Autry

Happy Holiday, Andy Williams

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee

You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch, Thurl Ravenscroft

Frosty the Snowman, Willie Nelson

Winter Wonderland, Huey Lewis and the News

Let it Snow, Dean Martin

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays, Perry Como

I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas, Gayla Peevy

Mannheim Steamroller

Santa Baby, Madonna

The Twelve Days of Christmas, John Denver and The Muppets

I’ll be Home for Christmas, Fats Domino

The Chipmunk Song, The Chipmunks

Sleigh Ride, Leroy Anderson

Carol of the Bells, Mykola Leontovych

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Jingle Bells, The Singing Dogs

Give Love on Christmas Day, The Jackson 5

Chrissy the Christmas Mouse, Debbie Reyonlds and Donald O’Connor

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, Elmo and Patsy

Christmas Dragnet, Stan Freberg

Things slowed down in 2016 with only ten songs, with some fairly recent ones catching my ear.

It Must Have Been Ol’ Santa Claus, Harry Connick, Jr.

Where Are You, Christmas?, Taylor Momsen

Chiron Beta Prime, Johnathan Coulton

Believe, John Groban

Merry Christmas (Exclamation Point), Jon Lajoie

All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas from Cell Block 2, Matthew Ebel

The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack, Danny Elfman, et al

Welcome Christmas, M-G-M Studio Orchestra & Chorus

Snoopy’s Christmas, The Royal Guardsmen

Another ten for 2017:

Dominick The Donkey, Lou Monte

Christmas Time, Bryan Adams

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home), Darlene Love

All I Want For Christmas Is You, Vince Vance and the Valiants (feat. Lisa Layne)

Here We Come a-Wassailing, Under the Streetlamp

Hard Candy Christmas, Dolly Parton

Up On The Housetop, Gene Autry

Mele Kalikimaka, Bing Crosby

Love on Layaway, Gloria Estefan

The Snow Miser Song, Dick Shawn / The Heat Miser Song, George S. Irving

Another ten for 2018:

Marshmallow World, Dean Martin

Auld Lang Syne, B.B. King

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Texas Tornados

Santa Got Lost in Texas, Michael Landon

Here Comes Santa Claus, Elvis Presley

Frosty the Snowman, Flaco Jimenez and Freddy Fender

Sleigh Ride, The Ronettes

Santa Claus is Coming (in a boogie-woogie choo-choo train), The Tractors

Jingle Bells, The Ray Conniff Singers

When It’s Christmas Time in Texas, George Strait

Sadly, I missed out last year but I’m going to try and knock out ten more for 2020 because God knows we could use some Christmas cheer!

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300 Seconds, ANIME, CONS, CREATIVE, Eduardo Soliz, Fiesta Equestria, FURRY, Furry 101, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, PANELS, Podcasting, PODCASTS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, SAN JAPAN, WORDS

300 Seconds Episode #112: “A Furry Thing Happened on the Way to the Convention”

NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉

Click here to listen to this episode!

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number one hundred and 112, “A Furry Thing Happened on the Way to the Convention,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

For the last eight years and change, I have been a member of the furry community.  I have gone to furry conventions, written furry stories, published furry story collections, given furry presentations, taken lots of pictures of fursuiters, and made many new furry friends.  While my furry experience has been wonderful so far, like so many things in my life, it sometimes gets a little weird.  Okay, make that weirdER…

While not my first furry convention; Furry Fiesta 2013 was significant for me, because unlike the previous year, which was my first furcon, I now had a number of friends that were also going also to be there.  Just like everything else in life, having friends around makes conventions a lot more fun.

One evening during the convention, I went with some friends to eat at a restaurant.  The food was good, the company was pleasant, and we all enjoyed a nice meal.  While waiting to receive our checks, the manager approached our table and asked us how everything was.  We let her know that we were happy with the food and service.  She noticed that some of us were wearing our convention badges, so she asked if we were in town for a convention.  We answered that yes, we were, but nobody had an answer for the obvious follow-up question:

“What kind of convention is it?”

Everybody at the table, including myself, instantly froze up.  I have never before, in my entire life, seen seven grown adults go totally deer-in-headlights.  Everybody looked back and forth at each other, expecting somebody else to say something.  Finally, after about ten seconds of awkward silence, somebody said: “It’s an ART convention!”  That answer immediately snapped everybody out of their daze and the rest of the evening went on as expected.

For what it’s worth, I came up with a five-word explanation of furry that tends to satisfy most folk’s curiosity, and those five words are: “Nerds who like cartoon animals.”

For the last few years, I have presented educational panels at various conventions in Texas including RealmsCon, Comicpalooza, Fiesta Equestria, and San Japan.  I’ve talked about publishing e-books, recording audio, and of course, furries, in a panel called Furry 101.  The point of Furry 101 is to give outsiders the low-down on what furries are all about.  In the interest of full disclosure, I do also include some of the weird stuff, but since the panel is for an all-ages audience, I can’t go too far.

A few years ago at San Japan, I was presenting Furry 101 to an audience of about two hundred people, my largest audience ever.  As I’m doing so, I’m looking over my audience, making sure that I have their attention and looking to see that I don’t have too many people walking out.  One person that stuck out was a gentleman that looked to be a bit older.  Not super-old, mind you, but in an anime convention, if you’re over 40, you’re going to stick out a little bit.  I figured he was there with his child.  Much to my delight, he looked to be engaged in the presentation, but the expression on his face became, shall we say, less happy once I got to the weird stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that weird, but the presentation slide that mentions adult art certainly got his attention.  I felt terrible after the fact, thinking: “Oh my God. I have totally ruined furry for his kid.  They’re going to be locked away in their home forever and never be allowed to associate with those ‘animal people weirdos’ ever again.”

Fast forward a few months. Come to my surprise, I bumped into the gentleman and his child at Furry Fiesta.  If I remember correctly, his name was Kevin.  He thanked me for the presentation, much to my relief.  I’ve spoken with a few more parents after Furry 101 since then and have even come across a few folks that have joined the fandom after attending my panel.  Granted, the panel is not supposed to be a recruiting tool, but if folks want to join the club after the fact, who am I to argue?

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I insert more subliminal messages into my Furry 101 panel slides.  I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe via your favorite podcast app and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com.  Thank you for listening!  Be good, take care, and God bless.

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