But fortunately, constant reader Exposito has jumped into the fray in our absence, and as a result, here's a fabulously exciting and ethnically inventive project for us all:
MOST MEMORABLE CHRISTMAS SONG OR RECORD PERFORMED BY A LADY OR GENTLEMAN OF THE HEBRAIC PERSUASION!!!
Okay, take it away, Exposito!
I culled these from some old LPs given out as holiday premiums at Gulf stations and A&P supermarkets, as well as more recent recordings.
The criteria I used to select the recordings on this list were:
The performer should have been raised in a Jewish home (e.g., Sammy Davis, Jr doesn't qualify).
The songs must be traditional Christmas songs (e.g., Randy Newman 's "Christmas in Cape Town" and Lou Reed's "Xmas in February" are good, original songs about Christmas, so they don't make the list).
Tracks must include vocals (e.g., Leonard Bernstein conducting The Nutcracker Suite doesn't make the list).
The performer may not be the songwriter (this means Mel Torme singing "The Christmas Song" is out). [Uh, I don't think Mel is Jewish. But I get the point. -- Ed.]
Good interpretations of songs are discouraged (this is what disqualifies the rest of Mel Torme's recordings of Christmas songs, as well as Bette Midler's).
The inclusion of entire albums is discouraged (otherwise Neil Diamond would have over half the tracks on this list).
The song should actually make reference to Christmas, Jesus, or the New Testament (e.g., "Winter Wonderland" doesn't qualify).
Harry Connick, Jr. just didn't seem to worth including on a list of such curiosities. [Good idea -- Ed.]
Okay, and my totally top of my head Top Nine (not quite enough for a Minyan) are:
9. Barbra Streisand: I Wonder as I Wander
Barbra wanders quite far on this song, actually.
8. Richard Tucker: The Lord's Prayer
Tucker was a great singer, but this cover brings Philip Roth's story The Conversion of the Jews to mind.
7. Steve Lawrence: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Almost a dramatic reading.
6. Eddie Cantor: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
An early recording of this perennial.
5. Neil Diamond: Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
When peace meets Diamond, Diamond wins by a knockout punch.
4. Carly Simon: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
A reggae version, actually.
3. Eydie Gorme (with Steve): It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
In English and Spanish. [Uh, I think Gorme is actually Greek. Just saying. -- Ed.]
2. Neil Sedaka: What Child Is This?
Any other song on his Christmas album would work as well.
And the number one Jews of Christmas Ditty, like you thought it was something else, obviously is --
1. Barbra Streisand: Jingle Bells
An exception to the rule that the songs on the list should refer overtly to Christianity; here because of Streisand's unique interpretation of the word "Upsot."
Until David Lee Roth and Courtney Love collaborate on a Christmas album, this list might have to suffice.
So alright already -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: Best Fiction Film Reflecting the Spirit of the 60s!) is now up over at Box Office. If in the spirit of the holidays you could manage to get over there and leave a comment, it would definitely increase my viability with management.]