If there is anyone else who cares to express their opinion by "VOTING" please do so, as the last day to so is 12-31-19!
I missed the voting, but I would have chosen. "I Like All of Them!" It is a great song and performance. All of the mixes are enjoyable to me.
Yes, it was remarkable and magical for all of the reasons Harry states- and the fact that the music was composed 20 years after Frank Pooler composed the heartfelt lyrics..Just 90 days after the initial release of "We've Only Just Begun", "Merry Christmas Darling" saw release right around Thanksgiving. I find this fact a little remarkable. The duo had just two hits, composed by others, and A&M had enough faith in them to allow the release of a Christmas single, composed by Richard and his old choral director - and it worked. Christmas singles were not that common back then. Most pop artists didn't do Christmas songs or albums, yet here was this upstart group, with just two big hits under their belts, releasing an unknown song for the Christmas season.
I truly find that remarkable. and at the time, it seemed quite magical. And as soon as the Christmas season was over, - bang - it was time for "For All We Know."
This is all very true - her voice had deepened and matured and become even more beautifully resonant (as if that were possible) - and she wanted to re-record it precisely because of this - and if Karen thought that and wanted that then that was the way it had to be...The original 1970 version showcases Karen, the drummer who sings. The girl still has no concept of what a great gift she has, and that in itself gives this reading a really special vibe. The 1978 version showcases Karen the vocalist who is also a drummer. Much more confident in her ability, using her voice in a more controlled fashion. But now she has this awareness of her gift and has learned to use it. The vocal performance has lost some of the innocence, but improved stylistically. So that is why I like both versions. They each have something I enjoy hearing. I hope this explains my take on Merry Christmas Darling.
Probably THE main reason that I don't care for the 1978 version. If she'd have sung the melody the same way as written and performed in 1970, I'd probably love the re-record, but that little liberty just rubs me the wrong way. There's a similar change at the start of the song, where the word "special" is more conversational than strict singing, and I dislike that too. But thankfully, I still have the original, my favorite of all.But on the 1978 version she stays up at the F note on "Year" instead of dropping,
This is somewhat understandable - that transition to the bridge ("The lights on my tree, I wish you could see...") is a tad difficult and primarily so because the "rhythm" of the lyrics (not the song's tempo) changes, which can seem a little awkward on initial attempts - it's in the words and their phrasing- i even had a slight problem with getting this smooth and even when playing just the instrumental version on my piano...but, thankfully, Karen had absolutely no trouble with this - just one more of the many reasons she was the consumate artist that she was.Did everyone know about this? “Merry Christmas, Darling” almost was recorded in the early 1970s by Elvis Presley, Pooler said. Presley couldn’t read music, so in the recording studio he would have the musicians form a circle around him and play him the song, while he walked around the circle trying to get the hang of the song. “He could not quite pick up on the bridge to ‘Merry Christmas, Darling,’ so he threw in the towel after three times around the circle,” Pooler said, retelling the story Presley told Richard Carpenter.
Speaking of the background vocals on MCD, they are really nice - in fact, that's an understatement. They're creatively arranged and beautifully done, culminating in a gorgeous swirl of sound at the end...Yes, it was remarkable and magical for all of the reasons Harry states- and the fact that the music was composed 20 years after Frank Pooler composed the heartfelt lyrics..
I'm a year late to this poll but just for the record I would have voted for the RPO version, primarily because it's an enhanced version of the 1978 recording with a more lush sound and with Karen's vocal somehow more up front and intimate - but believe me I will listen to any of the versions any time of the year!
I even like her live (Richard-less) rendition on the Bruce Forsyth show in 1978 that sounded great even without those amazing background vocals that she & Richard had provided for the studio recordings.
That's part of the intro, which is often handled - at least in part - in a "conversational" style by some singers. In this case the word "special" is in the last phrase and carried across 2 eighth notes in the melody, which almost guarantees that it will sound shortened or "clipped'. It would be hard to extend that out in a song-like fashion.... There's a similar change at the start of the song, where the word "special" is more conversational than strict singing, and I dislike that too. But thankfully, I still have the original, my favorite of all.
According to Billboards Top Christmas SinglesAnyone know which day in 1970 "Merry Christmas, Darling" went to no. 1 on the Billboard holiday charts?
Also did Merry Christmas Darling actually appear (ever) on the (US) Hot 100 or AC charts like most of their other "singles?"