Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Cavacade 3

Here we go then, this year’s penultimate Christmas instalment. One more week of this garbage then, I promise, back to normal at WWR Towers.

First up is Snoopy’s Christmas, the follow up to the Royal Guardsmen’s inexplicably popular 1966 hit Snoopy Versus the Red Baron – a number eight hit in the UK and number two in their native America. Although this particular song (just one of a slew of tracks the band released about either the Red Baron, Snoopy or both, including The Return of the Red Baron, Snoopy for President and 2006’s Snoopy Vs. Osama) did not chart in the UK or US it was, for some peculiar reason, a number one hit in New Zealand. Originally released on Laurie records in the US (and on London in the UK), the song tells the tale of how Charlie Brown’s mutt had to go out and fight the Red Baron on Christmas Eve, the two mortal enemies setting aside their differences for the night, sharing a drink and then flying off to meet another day.

The ridiculously flat bass playing on Snow Man, from Bob Gerard, is typical of a great number of the offerings from Tin Pan Alley, one of my absolute favourite song-poem labels. Luckily this particular horror clocks in at just 97 seconds. Bob was the ‘performer’ of one of the best song-poems ever, Tin Pan Alley’s Jodey Is a Wise Guy, a real stinker which I may well bring you once the festive season is through.

Track number three, The Christmas Shoes, came my way courtesy of Ross Hamilton. Its perpetrators, Christian rock phenomenon NewSong, should have been shot for this horrifically sentimental pap: written by Eddie Carswell and Leonard Ahlstromy this garbage, about a small boy who wants to buy his mother some new shoes that she can wear when she meets God later that night, provided the inspiration for an equally sickening film of the same name. Truly music to slit your wrists to, The Christmas Shoes made the coveted number one spot on Billboard for one week in January 2001. This song made me feel so ill I was forced to play Rock Music by the Pixies incredibly loudly just to get the evil noise out of my head. NewSong are one of the biggest acts on the Xian music scene, and founders of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the United States' largest annual Christian music tour.

Today’s final two ‘songs’, if you can call them that, come from Christmas in the Stars, the Star Wars Christmas Album. You may recall that we featured another track, R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jon Bon Jovi’s professional recording debut, here last year. Today we present a bunch of droids singing Merry, Merry Christmas and C3PO, aka Anthony Daniels, retelling the classic T’was the Night Before Christmas (retitled here A Christmas Sighting) with a suitably Star Warsian bent. It won’t be long before George Lucas decides to remaster this album, add in a CGI JarJar Binks and repackage it as Star Wars Episode 5a, or some such nonsense.

On Friday I’ll bring you the final instalment in this year’s Christmas Cavalcade. Until then…enjoy!


  1. Shurely shom mishtake... The first song is the IMMORTAL Snoopy v. The Red Baron, one of the finest Xmas songs written in modern times (this past century, I mean). A rousing chorus, an exciting dénouement, and then an ending as moving as that of City Lights or Casablanca. I assume you had meant to submit 'Snoopy's Christmas', a song I am not admittedly familiar with, but instead inexplicably replaced with a wonderful, sentimental song that is as much a must this season as Happy Xmas (War is Over) and Jingle bell Rock. No doubt you will remedy this ASAP.

  2. Thank you Darryl, 'The Christmas Shoes' is perhaps the most awful thing I have ever heard.. Cheers! Great blog

  3. Nope. Wrong. Snoopy's Christmas rocks. Utterly incorrect, and I would bet me ass most of the world agrees with me. Catchy hook, 60's pop with a positive message? LOVE IT!
    They're back together, you know. Check em out at facebook.comtheroyalguardsmen!

  4. 3/3/12 wrote:
    I'm sorry that you don't like "Snoopy's Christmas". I've always loved this one as a kid, being a fan of the Peanuts comic strip. Another music journalist/ critic that always hated The Royal Guardsmen was former Rolling Stone/Cream journalist Dave Marsh. His dismissive quote of all of The Royal Guardsmen records in a 1981 edition of Rolling Stone's Illustrated Album Guide: Quote: "All of The Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy" records ought to be buried" while reviewing a then-re-issued Laurie Records' oldies' collection of their hits. Incedentally, Charles Schulz was skeptical of the Guardsmen at first when they hit with "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" in 1966. Apparantley Phil Gerrard and Laurie Records founders Gene & Robert Schwartz didn't check in with Schulz's lawyers for proper copyright laws for permission to use the Peanuts characters,so instead of suing them, he came to acknowledge their proper permission to use Snoopy's likeness on the album covers of their 3rd and 4th Laurie albums "Snoopy & His Friends The Royal Guardsmen Vs. The Red Baron In Story & Song"(1967) and "Snoopy for President"(1968),with Schulz agreeing to draw the Album covers as a return favor. Mr. Schulz eventually came to like the songs and the concepts of Snoopy and The Red Baron eventually.

  5. My late father was Gene Schwartz owner of Laurie Records. The song was a smash and beloved all over the world. It's always amazing to me how somebody who has accomplished nothing in the record business could have all these negative things to say. Do me a huge favor, produce a hit record or sing in one, then talk. Until then, your opinion has zero credibility. You are an absolute joke.

    1. Dear Anonymous, Thanks for getting in touch - however I'd love to know what exactly I've written about your father that you take such offence with: I do not mention him, I am not rude about him nor am I overly critical of the record itself.

      Your last phrase 'you are an absolute joke' kind of sums everything up. The whole point of this blog is to have some fun. Sorry if you were offended.

  6. The odds are 10 billion to five - shouldn't that be 2 billion to 1?


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