• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

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

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Christmas Song"

    Votes: 7 25.0%
  • Side B: "Merry Christmas Darling"

    Votes: 21 75.0%

  • Total voters
    28

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
“CHRISTMAS SONG"/"MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING"

ChristmasSong2.pngChristmasSongSINGLE.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

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.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
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.

Well get ready my friend because history is about to repeat itself with only a couple of more months to go! :wink:
 

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!
 

Another Son

Well-Known 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. :)
 

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
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
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. :)
Well, I've got the song for you then... by my two favourite Aussie girls! :love:
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known 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.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
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. :)
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.
 

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:.
 

John Tkacik

Well-Known 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.
 
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. :)
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!
 

Another Son

Well-Known 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!
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.
 

Carpe diem

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".

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?
 

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....
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
X
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!
I got my single thru the Downey Fan Club. Didn't think to write A&M.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
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.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
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.
 

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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