The Holiday Music Fest 2017
This is a sort of duel, competing Christmas songs with the same title. Oddly, both are both very successful -- and even more oddly, one of them (while very successful) isn't that well-known in all circles.
The song...well, song title is, "All I Want for Christmas is You."
And yes, the best-known version by far is the one with and co-written by Mariah Carey in 1994. I'm not going to post her rendition directly, but the wonderful "mash-up" done last year by James Corden, that edited together many of the "Carpool Karaoke" performers he had on earlier in the year -- having recorded them singing it earlier in the year, when they were initially on, but withheld showing it until the holiday. And in some ways it is Mariah Carey's version, since the video starts with her, and then is the underlying music everyone sings along with.
And the other song is...well, as I said, "All I Want for Christmas is You." And though some of you may not know it, was a massive hit on country music about 20 years ago and still gets played a great deal there. (In fact, it was written before Marah Carey's, in 1989.) It was recorded by an odd group, Vince Vance and the Valiants, with Lisa Layne as the leader singer. Whenever I've heard the song, this is the only version, in large part because the rendition is so vibrant -- but as it happens, just last week, while wandering the grocery store, I heard it for the first time in a cover version piped in with their other holiday music, and the singer (whoever it was) did a very good job.
But -- this is the version. While Mariah Carey's version of her song may be most people's favorite, so many others have recorded it and done it very well. But as good a pure song as is the Vince Vance Version, it's Lisa Layne's gut-powerful performance that ratchets it up for its popularity. How big a hit was it on country radio? I remember the year it finally caught on (it had been written a few years before) the country station in Los Angeles would literally tell listeners when they would next be playing it -- usually within the hour.
The Valiants have an official video of the song, but they have a model in it lip-synching the song. So, on her own without the Valiants, I decided to post a video of Lisa Layne singing it on camera in a concert. She softens it a bit for the live audience, compared to the grittier version of the recording, but it still has her rasp.
Which of the two songs is the best? Oh, who knows? The joy is that they're both wonderful. Mariah Carey's is probably the most fun. Lisa Layne's performance is probably the best. Or vice-versa.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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