Good Christmas Pairs

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.


7 thoughts on “Good Christmas Pairs

  1. Excellent choice. The richness of Garlands voice (not to mention MMiStL being one of my favorite movies) is perfect for this song. And Ella, well, what can one say about Ella? A balm to my sore ears after the last six abominations! Thanks.

  2. Those are both great, HP. Very well done, and thanks.

    But be advised, you have a lot more repenting to do if you intend to make up for the damage you have done. I’m not sure it is humanly possible.

  3. Interesting choices on the Martin/Blaine song. Both Judy (the original singer of the song in Meet Me In St. Louis) and Ella sing the original, very melancholy lyric, with “until then then, we’ll have to muddle through, somehow” which was replaced on the sheet music with “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”

    Ella Fitzgerald couldn’t help but make every song sound sunny. It was just her nature.

  4. Can I ‘fess up and admit I don’t like the Judy Garland version at all. (She sounds a tad drunk as well)

    To me my favorite version is the Tony Bennett cover.

  5. I love Judy Garland, and I’m a sucker for a melancholy song. Love her version. I’ve never heard Ella’s, it’s really nice too. Her raspy voice sometimes makes me want a drink of water though.

  6. “[U]ntil then we’ll have to muddle through somehow!” Cool. Certainly makes more sense in context. I mean, “hang a shining star upon the highest bow” is a lovely sentiment as far as it goes (not very). The original makes for a better song. Thanks for posting.

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