Since I have been delinquent in my promise to supply good Christmas music, I’m going to try and make up for it by putting up a lot of music to wash all that nasty ol’ bad music away. I am fascinated with how different arrangements of the same song results in completely different songs. This is something that really struck me when I first listened to the two songs featured here today. It is probably inevitable with Christmas music, as there are a number of standards that are redone by everyone. Luckily, people often get it right, as they did in the following two versions.
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland/Ella Fitzgerald
These two versions are night and day. Judy Garland’s version is a melancholy cry for help. She is trying to keep it together in the face of a depressing holiday, clinging to the hope that next year will be better. But you go out and have a good time, why don’t ya?
Ella Fitzgerald’s version is carefree and joyous. Though life is tough, you don’t have to cry about it. Have fun anyway! There is very little sorrow in Ella’s voice and when she contemplates “muddling through somehow,” she seems certain that she will.
Both of these are definitive versions, if such a thing is possible.