Stories Behind the Greatest Hits of Christmas
2010 / Zondervan
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have been collecting music trivia for the past twenty-five or so years, mostly as a regular feature in my monthly Pianotes newsletter. I have quite a large collection of trivia about Christmas music, so I wasn’t expecting a lot of new material from Ace Collins’ Stories Behind the Greatest Hits of Christmas. Boy, was I wrong about that one! I also have Collins’ 2001 Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but this new book really sparkles! Where the first book covered the history and inspiration of thirty-one mostly traditional Christmas songs, the new one gives the full story of thirty-four songs that have graced the upper echelons of air play and record sales charts since about 1925 through about 1999. Collins really did his homework on this one, and writes as though he personally interviewed all of the principal players in the composing, arranging, performing, and producing aspects of these songs. There is a great deal of irony in how and why several of these songs became hits, and there is also a fascinating look at the history of the recording industry over the past century. A couple of quick enticements - did you know that “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” became a hit after the Catholic Church banned it as being indecent for suggesting that Santa was fooling around on the side? Or that “Silver Bells” was originally titled “Tinkle Bells” until the wife of one of the songwriters laughingly told them that “tinkle” was what many mothers had their children say when they needed to use the rest room? Or that “Jingle Bell Rock” originally referred to the motion of riding in a sleigh and had nothing to do with the rock music genre? Great stuff and a wonderful read! I highly recommend it!
December 8, 2010