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.
You probably know that Magic 98 is streaming online, and you can listen from anywhere in the world by clicking "Listen Live" at Magic 98.com. People really do listen in faraway places--I've had people check in on my shows recently from Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida. We once got an e-mail from a Madisonian who had relocated to Europe but listened online to get a little taste of home. And we know there are lots of American Top 40 fans who can't hear the show where they live, so they log on for Casey every weekend.
But what if all you have is a desktop computer? Maybe you're traveling and you don't want to carry the laptop. Maybe you don't have an Internet connection where you're going. Wouldn't it be great if there were an easy way to listen to Magic on your smartphone or tablet?
There is. Ann got me a Kindle tablet recently, and I discovered an app called TuneIn Radio that lets you choose from upwards of 100,000 radio stations around the world--including Magic 98. Whether you have an iPhone, a Blackberry, a Google phone, or you run Android apps, you can get the TuneIn Radio app free. It also works on certain TVs and connected devices for your TV, and even in your car, if you're equipped for that.
Find out how to get TuneIn Radio here. (The app is free, but as always, your own data plan charges may apply as you listen.) Then, when you're listening to us on some beach while there's a blizzard back here, you can call up and gloat. Or not. Your choice.)