Three under the tree, Vol. 1

Might as well start this at the beginning.

It was 1969, when I turned 12, that I really started listening to music. That Christmas, I got the best gift ever. A Panasonic AM-FM radio. This model.


I put it atop the filing cabinet where I kept my baseball, football and basketball cards, tuned it to 920 AM — WOKY, the Mighty 92 out of Milwaukee — and let the tunes roll. WOKY was one of the big Top 40 stations of the day.

When it came to this time of year in 1970, I heard a song that absolutely blew me away: “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by the Jackson 5.

I had no idea there was that kind of Christmas music — pop, rock, R&B and soul versions of Christmas songs, all played only at a certain time of year. I’ve been hooked ever since.

So over the next month or so, I’ll be digging through my Christmas music collection and sharing some tunes here at AM, Then FM. I have a lot of Christmas music. It tends to be like the rest of the music I enjoy — a mix of rock, R&B, soul, country and even a little jazz.

Though I’ve loaded more than 300 songs into the Mac — and that is the tip of the iceberg, trust me — we’ll roll them out three at a time.

Today’s trio consists of three songs from the beginning. I dug them then, and I dig them now.


“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” the Jackson 5, from “A Motown Christmas,” 1973.

This is a classic album, also featuring Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It is not Christmas at our house without this one.


“Snoopy’s Christmas,” the Royal Guardsmen, from “Snoopy and His Friends,” 1967. A guilty pleasure. The link is to the double CD shown.


“Happy Xmas (War is Over),” John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir, released as a single, 1971. I found it on “Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon,” a 1998 compilation.

Their message rings true today.

Hope you will enjoy this series. Much more to come.

If you have requests, drop me a note. I’ll see what I can do.


Filed under Christmas music, November 2007, Sounds

4 responses to “Three under the tree, Vol. 1

  1. jb

    A fine selection of tunes. I have always found the Motown Christmas albums pretty spotty–brilliant performances (like the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”) alongside the cringe-inducing (like the Jackson 5’s grossly inappropriate uptempo performance of the beautiful “Someday at Christmas”). And there’s nothing more to add to “Happy Xmas”–it is an essential among essentials.

    Nice holiday decorations on the blog, too.

  2. Nice new look for the holidays! And good tunes, too. I agree with jb about the Lennon selection: Nothing more to say.

  3. Pingback: Three under the tree, Vol. 22 « AM, Then FM

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