|Screen grab from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"|
Sky Radio from Amsterdam is broadcasting 100% Christmas songs during this coldest December in Europe in 100 years. That’s making for some super-charged Yuletide with the most seasonal songs I’ve heard since I was a kid looking at my white front yard that time in South Jackson. Most songs are from contemporary artists from England and the U.S. ranging from the 1980’s up to the present, and the most popular are played about 5 or 6 times per day. The Sky online station starts even earlier with holiday songs from 1 October through 31 December.
Frans van Dun is the music director of the self-proclaimed ‘Christmas Station’ that has been spinning the holiday tune tradition during the month of December since the station began in 1988. “We started as a station that November, and Christmas songs were first thing we did because nobody was doing that in Holland at the time.” Sky Radio now has about 10 million people in its broadcast area, and estimates that easily more than 1 million people listen daily during the season. He said that the station begins receiving requests for holiday music starting in August.
Other top holiday tunes on Dutch radio:
“Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea
“Last Christmas” by Wham
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid
“Christmas Time” by Bryan Adams
“Lonely this Christmas” by Mud
The Elvis live recording of “Blue Christmas” is still a sure winner, complete with screaming girls to enhance the mood. Happy Xmas (War is Over) from John Lennon is a staple of the season that resists growing old. A surprisingly fun and quirky – and distinctly English - tune is “Stop the Calvary” from Jona Lewie. And “Jingle Bell Rock” - via the Hall and Oates version - is guaranteed to get someone to forget about work for a few minutes and reach for a cocktail. “Father Christmas” from Greg Lake, with its haunting melody and backing choir, rounds out my list of favorites. Of course Bing, Dean and Nat still hold their places in Christmas music fame, but I’m checking out the ‘newer’ classics here.
Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah,
Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.
And my pick for most annoying Christmas song of all time is “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with its painfully repetitive list of material-based efforts to win affection.
How about that white Christmas? Do they happen often here in North Holland? “I’m in my 50s and I can only remember 7 or 8 white Christmases,” said van Dun at Sky Radio. Well turn on the stereos, light a fire and look outside for the snow men as we head for the home stretch. Happy Holidays!