Jim Bartlett's Blog

Christmas Classics History

It's the time of year when radio stations bust out the holiday classics, those songs you look forward to hearing every single Christmas. Here's the story behind four of the most popular ones, with links for you to click in case you're not hearing them often enough.
Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" was recorded live on December 12, 1975, at C.W. Post College in New York, although it wasn't released until 1982, and it was mighty hard to find until Springsteen put it on the flipside of "My Hometown," one of the many singles from his legendary Born in the USA album. You can hear Bruce laughing because his saxophone player, Clarence Clemons, has come onstage in Santa regalia, and it's cracking him up.

The Eagles' "Please Come Home for Christmas" is an R&B song originally recorded in 1960. The Eagles' version was first heard at Christmas 1978, and was unusual in that it actually made the Billboard Hot 100, which Casey Kasem used for American Top 40. If you had been listening to Casey in January 1979, you would have heard it on the show even though Christmas was over, because it reached #18 in that month.

Elton John's "Step Into Christmas" celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Released as a thank-you to the fans after Elton's highly successful 1973, it's never been off the radio at Christmastime since. This vintage video is worth a click, although I don't think it's from 1973--Elton's hairline dates it to somewhat later in the 70s.

John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" was released in 1971, but the slogan "War is over if you want it" dates back to John and Yoko's "Bed-in for Peace" campaign in 1969. They bought billboards with the slogan in major cities around the world that year; two years later, they turned the sentiment into a song that's going to be on the radio every Christmas until the end of time.

Hear these and plenty of others on "Saturday at the 70s," all week long on Magic, and on "98 Hours of Christmas Magic" starting on Sunday, December 22.

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Locations : Hometown
People : Bruce SpringsteenCasey KasemClarence ClemonsElton JohnJohn Lennon

12/17/2013 12:28PM
Christmas Classics History
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