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Immortality through Christmas music

January 1st, 2007 · No Comments

No I’m not talking about the composers of Silent Night, Away in a Manger or Jingle Bells, who are remembered each December through their creations. I’m talking about George Michael, Wham! and Last Christmas (wow, it has its own Wikipedia entry) which , in an ironic and oxymoronic sense, has never seemed to have a last Christmas.

This year the girls and I made a rare excursion to a large mall in the Seattle suburbs, the same mall where I once sold Orange Julius drinks for my first job, when lo and behold I heard the same Christmas music playing from twenty years ago. Now this mall currently prides itself on having a family-friendly holiday show at 6:45 each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas that will “brighten your spirits and fill your heart with holiday cheer” (I can’t count how many times the girls and I were asked if we were going to see the show), yet while we were waiting for the entertainment to begin, George Michael, someone whose behavior in recent years would probably not qualify as “family-friendly” or “spirit brightening” started bemoaning the woes of Christmas past. “Holiday cheer”? I do believe in the recycling of paper, plastic and glass but this recycling of old pop songs and old pop stars each December can become a bit stale. Especially with said song has the substance of twenty year old bubble gum.

Until I typed “Last christmas” into Google, I had no idea how many were devoted to this song. This year, someone took the time to track down and blog 191 versions of the Wham hit and write an analysis usually reserved for English class and Shakespeare. Here’s a snippet.

So in other words, he was presenting the object of his affection with some sort of sign or placard that said “Happy Christmas,” and as part of the gift-packaging, included a note that said, “I love you.” A note? He didn’t take the time to compose anything more substantial than a note?

I suppose I don’t mind Irving Berlin again and again, but George Michael? Oh when will Last Christmas have its last Christmas?

The surest way to immortality, I muttered to myself while standing outside the mall in this Seattle suburb one cold evening, is to record or perform Christmas music. Then every December, you are remembered.


Shaun Groves posted a song he wrote for the Backstreet Boys Christmas album years ago, Christmas Without You. The album was never recorded but he still has the demo. It’s a fun listen and a fun story. Perhaps if it had been recorded it would have come and gone or maybe it would have hit the jackpot and been recycled each season. As a fan, I hope someday Shaun receives the immortality of a Christmas music hit, that it will be more than a might-have-been amusement, but I also know that he is already focussed on what lasts longer than recycled-bubble-gum-songs.

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