December 21, 2010

Division High graduates pick their favorite Christmas songs; blogger remembers Bing Crosby's carol in Latin

The first Christmas music I can remember is from a 78-rpm album entitled "Merry Christmas" by Bing Crosby on the Decca label that my aunt Mary Barning liked to play. This goes back to about 1947. The album, released in 1945, included five of those large black discs and came in a heavy-duty, full-color cover with a sleeve for each record. Therefore, 10 songs were included. The album cover pictured above is from an LP (long play) version of the album issued a few years later.

Aunt Mary loved to play music and at that point I was the only grandchild in the Barning family, and an appreciative captive audience. I memorized all the words to the Crosby songs and at about the same time knew all the lyrics to the score from the Broadway smash, Oklahoma, thanks to my wonderful aunt's record collection.

To me the most intriguing song was Bing's Latin version of Come All Ye Faithful, Adeste Fideles. Young Frankie did not have access to the Latin words in written form, so they were memorized as best I could. As it turned out, I was pretty close in my interpretation. Here are the Latin lyrics via Google:

Adeste fideles,
laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem!
Natum videte,
Regem angelorum
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus

We asked a few of our Division Avenue High School friends to list their favorite Christmas songs. The results show a mix of traditional, rock and novelty songs.

Sandy Adams '60
1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
2. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
3. Angels We Have Heard on High – Andrea Bocelli
4. Silver Bells – various artists
5. Winter Wonderland – various artists

Larry Bory '60
1. Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
2. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
3. Carol of the Bells - Swingle Singers
4. O Holy Night - Perry Como
5. 12 Days of Christmas - Muppets and John Denver

Patricia Kraft McDonald '60
1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. White Christmas by Bing Crosby
3. Emanuel - Amy Grant
4. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
5. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Bing Crosby

Frank Barning '60
1. Adeste Fideles - Bing Crosby
2. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - The Ronettes
4. We Need a Little Christmas from Mame
5. Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

Ann Crescenzo Fazzino '61
1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
3. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
4. Little Drummer Boy - Johnny Mathis
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra

Arnie Galeota '61
1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
3. Silver Bells - Johnny Mathis
4. Miracle of the Bells
5. Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale

Dewain Lanfear '60
1. Mary Did You Know - Billy Dean
2. Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

Lillian Smith Handleman '62
1. Winter Wonderland - Johnny Mathis

Pat Stanley Share '62
1. All I Want for Christmas is You - from Love Actually
2. We Need a Little Christmas - from Mame
3. White Christmas
4. Jingle Bells
5. Silent Night
Irving Berlin knew he had just written a classic. When he asked his secretary to take down the song he had just written, he said, “I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written. Hell, I just wrote the best song anyone’s ever written!” Bing Crosby sang it on his radio show in 1941 and recorded it in 1942. It was the best-selling single in any music category until Elton John’s version of Candle in the Wind for Princess Diana took over in 1998.


Anonymous said...

Susan Padgett Termini '61..
I'd like to add my favorite Christmas songs. #1. Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie #2. Happy Christmas (So This is Christmas) by John Lennon #3. O Holy Night. Winter Wonderland, I'll Be Home for Christmas by Johnny Mathis #4. Merry Christmas Darling by Karen Carpenter"

Marilyn Monsrud Frese said...

Good choices Susan- I would name Oh Holy Night as my #1 pick. Frank, again you found a great subject for a blog...along with lots of interesting facts. I'm learning more from your blog that I learned in 4 years at DAHS!

Anonymous said...

Damon Solomon '60 wrote:
Every day, like a child, I await your e-mail to transport me back in time to a 16 year old kid again; a time of joy, peace and “Happy Days”! God, do I miss those times of our school years and growing up in the paradise that Levittown was. I never realized how wonderfully rich our childhood years were...until they were gone.

Anonymous said...

Michael O'Boyle:
Baby Please Come Home by Darlene Love