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Official Review [Single]: 24. "CHRISTMAS SONG"/"MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING" (1991-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 9, 2017.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Christmas Song"

    6 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Side B: "Merry Christmas Darling"

    18 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    US
    For me, Nat King Cole's version from his Christmas Song LP is the definitive version of "The Christmas Song." (He recorded it a few times, but this version is the one that nailed it, and is the one most often played.) Few others are able to bring that same magic to the song, even Mel Tormé (who wrote it, and does a nice version of it himself)...yet most of the others just seem like a "color by numbers" version that go through the motions without really creating anything special. With "MCD" being the definitive version of that tune (and by now, a holiday classic), I agree it completely overshadows the A-side. It is not really an overall favorite of mine either (I don't like holiday music in general, to be honest), but I appreciate it for its stature as a classic and ongoing popularity.
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Richard said he was too busy to record a Christmas album for the MCD single. However the duo loved seasonal music and missed an opportunity. I think CarpenterS Santa Claus 1974 single is quintessential version.
     
  3. michiganguy

    michiganguy Member

    Merry Christmas, Darling has become such a classic and holiday standard, its clearly the most played Carpenters song on radio these days. In fact, Christmas Portrait as a whole has immense popularity. What is surprising is how often you hear the Carpenters on the radio during the holiday season and how little you hear them during the rest of the year (on soft rock/classic stations). It makes no sense...classic talent either way.
     
  4. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    US
    @michiganguy There is an HD radio station around here that seems to play a lot of Carpenters. Sunny Radio (WNIC HD2, which is a "soft AC/oldies" format). It is based on iHeartRadio's "Sunny Radio" broadcast, as they own WNIC. HD radio is kind of a dud, though--it never really has taken off.
     
  5. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    It's funny how we can remember "where we were when..." sometimes when we get hit with a certain tune out of left field. Of course I grew up with Christmas Portrait and knew there wasn't a bad cut on the record (even as a little kid). Years later, Time Life put out that Christmas With The Carpenters set, and I remember during the TV ad and hearing a hard cut to the line "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose". Like many people here, it was always a double 'warm and fuzzy' when you're channel surfing, and out pops the voice of Karen Carpenter, in her best smoky rich contralto singing a classic.

    I agree with @Rudy , Nat's is by far the definitive version and always will be. But like others have mentioned here, with MCD having already been released as a single and Christmas Song being a classic (and let's face it, Karen sings the heck out of it), I had to go with the latter.
     
    Jeff and Rudy like this.
  6. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    I've only ever heard 'Merry Christmas, Darling' once on the radio. That was the original 1970 version and it was played around 1976 or 1977. I loved what I heard. When I bought 'Christmas Portrait' soon after it came out, I recognised that the lead vocal on 'Merry Christmas, Darling' was different, and was a little disappointed.

    After years of searching, in the 80s, I finally found a copy of the original version of the song, b/w 'Superstar', on single. Of course, getting the 'From the Top' CD collection in the 90s cancelled out the need to listen to the single.

    I have never heard the 1978 version of 'Merry Christmas, Darling' on the radio, (nor 'The Christmas Song', for that matter).
     
  7. michiganguy

    michiganguy Member

    Thats just crazy to me! Must have a very different idea of popular Christmas music down under.

    Each and every holiday season, Carpenters are heard all the time on Christmas music stations in the US. The most played songs seem to be: Merry Christmas, Darling, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Sleigh Ride, and Home for the Holidays. But you will also hear The Christmas Song, Carol of the Bells, Ill be Home for Christmas, & Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
     
    Jeff and Brian like this.
  8. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Christmas occurs at the height of the Australian summer, so that might have something to do with it. Most Australians have probably never experienced snow or extreme cold in person, and are as likely to see reindeer as I am to see kangaroos or wombats in my backyard. They wouldn't really relate to some of the Christmas songs that are popular in the northern hemisphere. I don't imagine that your average Aussie would think that "the fire is so delightful", during bushfire season.
     
    Brian likes this.
  9. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Here in Canada I find that I hear the Carpenters version of “The Christmas Song” more than “Merry Christmas Darling” when I’m in stores. Up until 2003, Global used to on alternate years play the Carpenters “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” during the closing credits to the annual broadcast of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

    I’ve also heard in stores Richard’s medley of Rudolph-Frosty-Santa-Wenceslas being played.
     
    Brian likes this.
  10. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Last listen the original 1970 single has Karen at a young, huskier edge in voice. I don't prefer 78 over 70 just appreciate the novelties.
     

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