Faithful readers will recognize this as a re-blogged item from last year, but nothing kicks off the Christmas season for me like listening to Cliff Richard signing “21st Century Christmas.” Don’t know this artist?
In the early days of rock ‘n roll, while the kids on my side of the Atlantic were idolizing Elvis, kids in the U.K. were growing up on the pop music of Cliff Richard. Years later, at a Billy Graham crusade, Cliff would reveal his Christian commitment. (If you click the Wikipedia link in this paragraph, check out the list of awards toward the end of the page.)
Cliff’s Christmas songs are a staple on British radio, and rather than embed the YouTube vids, I’ve linked a few here along with highest chart position.
- Little Town – 1982 #11 – This was the first Christmas song I heard Cliff do, and now when people talk about “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” this is the tune that first pops into my brain, not the one we sing in church.
- Mistletoe and Wine – 1988 # 1 – “Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, children singing Christian rhyme.” Not sure what ‘Christian rhyme’ truly means, or how the Baptists in the U.K. dealt with the whole wine thing. Ends with a boy soprano solo. (If you Google “Cliff Richard Christmas” you’ll find some far worse songs, like the one that spells C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S with a lame attempt at spiritualizing it at the end. Hey this one was a #1 song in the U.K.)
- Savior’s Day – 1990 # 1 – It actually took YouTube for me to hear this one the first time. Be sure to catch the kid towards the end of vid on Cliff’s right; definitely a Cliff Richard wannabe. With some modifications, this song can be used year round.
- Millennium Prayer – 1999 # 1 – Cliff appropriately ended the millennium with the Lord’s Prayer lyrics sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. Surprised more American worship bands didn’t pick up on this for the last Sunday of the year. They still could.
- Santa’s List – 2003 # 6 – Another one I heard for the first time on YouTube. It’s too bad that North American is so quick to dismiss what’s happening across the pond.
- 21st Century Christmas – 2006 # 2 – Somehow he manages to mix Christian sentiment and Santa Claus into this song which also highlights every form of recent technology out there. (Note to Americans: mobile = cell phone.) Your kids might like this.
- Good on the Sally Army – Not strictly speaking a Christmas song, but it’s hard to think Christmas without thinking of the Salvation Army. This classic from the Small Corners album of all Christian songs doesn’t have a true music video, but you can link to YouTube audio here.
Speaking of the Salvation Army, don’t forget you can still contribute to our iKettle. We want to raise another $870 by Christmas Day. Here’s the link.
And speaking of iKettle don’t forget the contest at Rick Apperson’s blog, Just a Thought on Tuesday. It was Rick that first alerted us to the Salvation Army online fundraiser. Refer back to Saturday’s post. (Two posts back.) Twenty people will win a book from Zondervan just for sharing stories about sharing faith. Look for “Blog: Just a Thought” in the blogroll at right.