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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)
  2. Side B: "Merry Christmas Darling"

    18 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    ChristmasSong2.png ChristmasSongSINGLE.png MCD2.png
    Side A: Christmas Song 3:39 (Torme/Wells)
    Side B: Merry Christmas Darling 3:02 (Carpenter/Pooler)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1991-S

    Date of Release: 11/77
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US

    Side A Arranged by Billy May/Produced by Richard Carpenter, Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter
    Side B Arranged by Richard Carpenter/Produced by Jack Daugherty

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
    Jeff likes this.
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    I went with Merry Christmas Darling. My fave Christmas single by anyone. I used to wait with baited breath each holiday season for that am radio dial to feature the duo making merry.
    BarryT60 and A&M Retro like this.
  3. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Well get ready my friend because history is about to repeat itself with only a couple of more months to go! :wink:
    BarryT60 and Jeff like this.
  4. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    MCD- and I love the video of Karen singing it.
    Jeff likes this.
  5. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    While I love both tunes, the original version of 'Merry Christmas Darling' just can't be beat. I still remember waiting for it to be played and and finally capturing it in 1973 on WHB 71AM with my cassette player. It was the only single that I never saw in stores as a kid, so hearing it on the radio was a big treat.
    In late '74, I wrote A&M asking about obtaining the single. They sent me back a note saying, 'Thank you for your letter. You will be receiving it shortly!' A few days later, the 'Merry Christmas Darling'/'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' single arrived for free direct from the A&M lot. What a thrill!
  6. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    When 'Christmas Portrait' was released in 1978, I used to think that 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' should have been the single, but now I can see why the more relaxed and laid back vocal of 'The Christmas Song' was chosen.

    Out of the two songs that actually were on the single, I chose 'Merry Christmas, Darling'. It's such a 'Carpenters' classic. It's very Carpenters. 'The Christmas Song' is a classic, but not a 'Carpenters' classic.

    Of the two versions of MCD, I prefer the original 1970 vocal version.

    In Australia, 'Superstar' was backed with 'Merry Christmas, Darling' back in 1971 and neither side was a hit.

    Even so, the radio station where I grew up, which used to play a bit of everything, played 'Merry Christmas, Darling' one or two times in the mid 70s. I haven't heard it on the radio for, probably, forty years.

    I have a lot of CD albums by 'The Velvet Fog', Mel Torme, who co-wrote 'The Christmas Song'. I really like his voice, in certain settings - mainly on the slow, laid-back songs, not the jazzy ones. Interestingly, I also prefer Karen's voice on the slow, low, laid-back songs, rather than on some of the uptempo singles.

    Btw, there needs to be more songs about a sweltering Christmas, in keeping with our experience here. Nothing like the smell of melting eucalyptus leaves on a boiling hot Christmas Day and eating cassata. :)
    Walkinat9 likes this.
  7. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I have the 2 cd Christmas set and they are priceless to me now I voted for Merry Christmas darling as my favorite it goes way back to my childhood days and more recently my last Christmas when i was visiting in my old home region of southern idaho and before my now ex fiance called off our engagement we had the song playing while we were riding around town it seemed perfect and I only play it during the holidays despite the sadness of loss of people over the years I still consider it an eternal and essential Holiday classic
  8. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Well, I've got the song for you then... by my two favourite Aussie girls! :love:
  9. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Lol - Thanks for that, Murray.
  10. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I had to go with "Chestnuts", as I actually sang this in school during a drama skit at a Christmas assembly.

    MCD I find is an okay song, but I never really liked it. And, considering this single was promoting the first Christmas Special, it would've been nice if another song from the special, like "Sleigh Ride" had been the B side.
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I was expecting- and wanting - Olivia. :)
    Walkinat9 likes this.
  12. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Actually, I just realised why 'Superstar' was not a big hit in Australia. It was the 'B' side of the single and 'Merry Christmas, Darling' was the 'A' side. It would seem strange that the record company should release a festive song as the 'A' side when the 'B' side was a smash overseas and Christmas songs are rarely huge hits, except that Colleen Hewitt had a hit with 'Superstar' three months before Carpenters' version was released in Australia. (She obviously rushed into the studio and recorded the song when Karen and Richard's version entered the US charts). Even though Carpenters' version of 'Superstar' was the 'B' side, it still reached Number 35 nationally, whereas 'Merry Christmas, Darling' didn't chart.
    Jeff likes this.
  13. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    :laugh: Sorry I disappointed you Mark! To make up for it, here's 17 year old Olivia, singing about Christmas down under!

    To get back on topic, I prefer "Merry Christmas Darling" over "The Christmas Song".
  14. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Had to go with side B. It has become a holiday standard and I think it was a nice tribute by the duo to their former choir director Frank Pooler. However, nothing is quite so moving to me as Karen singing I'll Be Home For Christmas :cry:.
  15. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    If this had been the initial release of both songs, Merry Christmas Darling would have been my pick hands down. But since this was the 3rd release of MCD, I went with the Christmas Song as something new and fresh to hear.
    Walkinat9 likes this.
  16. michiganguy

    michiganguy Member

    Both excellent songs, but Merry Christmas, Darling is THE Carpenters standard & classic.
    BarryT60 likes this.
  17. michiganguy

    michiganguy Member

    Do they not play popular christmas music in Australia? Merry Christmas, Darling is a yearly standard on most US Radio stations in Nov & Dec.

    I think it would be neat to visit down under, but I do not envy you. I like cold and snow at Christmas!
    Brian likes this.
  18. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    I'm not sure whether any of the radio stations in my city play popular Christmas songs or not, but I reckon it's unlikely. There's really only one station that I know of that plays pop as such from days gone by and, as far as I know, that plays songs from the 80s and onwards. I remember hearing Mariah Carey Christmas songs at some stage, but they are not to my taste. That might have been many years ago, though.

    Australia bows to the same stigma about Carpenters as many other places. For the last X- number of years when I used to listen to the radio in the 90s, I didn't hear one Carpenters song. A friend requested 'Superstar' on a likely 70s soft rock / pop station in the mid-90s and was told that they didn't play Carpenters. I don't know whether things have changed since Dami Im's Number One Carpenters tribute album of a year or so ago.

    I love a hot Aussie Christmas. I guess it depends where you've grown up.

    Maybe I'll get to experience a Christmas with snow sometime. That could be nice.
  19. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I haven't been able to get that jingle out of my head all day:whistle:! It was interesting to see ONJ performing at such a young age. I know the girls were making pudding, but what did the boys have going on? Some sort of bottling operation?
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    " Merry Christmas Darling "
    not only a great song, but,
    a great Carpenters' Classic,
    with great vocals, great arrangement and great harmonies.
    (Did I use 'great' enough ?)
    One of my top five songs of all-time by any artist....
    BarryT60, A&M Retro and Jeff like this.
  21. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    I got my single thru the Downey Fan Club. Didn't think to write A&M.
    A&M Retro likes this.
  22. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I figured I'd give it a shot. :) Pretty resourceful 12-year old, if I must say so myself.
    BarryT60 and Jeff like this.
  23. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Went with "MXD." I just find this version of "Christmas Song" is an unremarkable "by-the-numbers" rendition. Good as an album cut, good for radio exposure, but nothing I care to hear often.
  24. Technically, because the single version of "The Christmas Song" has a clean open on the 45, I'd go with that. Other than that, I'd agree with Rudy that Carpenters version of this standard is perfectly fine, but not magical. "Merry Christmas Darling" on the other hand *is* magical and perhaps, even as a b-side, overshadows its a-side.
  25. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I'm in the minority, but I prefer the Christmas Song. . .I was just never that taken with MCD. . .the BG vocals always sounded a little muddy and distorted.

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