We have finally arrived at the greatest Christmas song ever. And I’m willing to bet it’s one you’ve never heard of.
In 1972, thriller writer Frederick Forsyth wrote a novel called The Odessa File, about the hunt for a former concentration-camp commander. It was turned into a movie in 1974 starring Jon Voight and Maximilian Schell; I haven’t seen it. (Very Christmassy story so far, right?) But they got Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to do the soundtrack, and they got Perry Como to sing Webber and Rice’s theme song, “Christmas Dream”. I have heard Como’s version of the song, and it’s pretty bad.
Skip forward to the 1990s, when we find noted singer John McDermott assembling a bunch of colleagues together as the Mistletones and releasing a couple of albums, Hello Christmas and A Cappella Christmas, both recommended. The first track off of A Cappella Christmas was their cover of “Christmas Dream”. And I don’t know what they saw in it, or why they thought an Andrew Lloyd Webber song from a freaking spy movie was worth their time, but they made it amazing.
Here’s one other thing I like about it. It looks forward. Lots of Christmas stuff looks backward. “Just like the ones we used to know.” “Tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago.” “All the fun we had last year.” And never mind the preoccupation with some kid being born two thousand and change years ago.
Well, I have no problem with remembering or learning from the past; not at all. But I am not a nostalgist. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of blogging about the Legion of Super-Heroes, it’s that nostalgia doesn’t get you anywhere. It just gets in the way of the future. And, as has often been said, the future is where we’re going to be living the rest of our lives, so we might as well get used to it now.
The point of “Christmas Dream” is that Christmas can make the world better, now and in the future. It’s not about how things were good; it’s about how things can be better, if we make it that way.
At this point I’d like to link you to a YouTube clip or something of the song, but they ain’t one. It is available on iTunes; I can do that much for you. You used to be able to buy the CD off of John McDermott’s website but now for some reason you can’t.
Merry Christmas to John McDermott and the Mistletones; their rendition of “Christmas Dream” is everything that is good about Christmas, and Merry Christmas to all of you as well.
I like this list format; I think I’ll stick with it, but for, you know, other stuff. (Probably not daily.) Watch this space.
#25: Sleigh Ride
#24: Huron Carol
#23: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!/Count Your Blessings/We Wish You a Merry Christmas
#22: The Twelve Days of Christmas
#21: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
#20: Fuck Christmas
#19: Jingle Bell Rock
#18: What’s This? & Making Christmas
#17: Oi! To the World
#16: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
#15: Blue Christmas
#14: Christmas in Hollis
#13: We Need a Little Christmas
#12: Marshmallow World
#11: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
#10: Step Into Christmas
#9: Jingle Bells
#8: Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Christmas in Carrick)
#7: Christmas Wrapping
#6: Silver Bells
#5: O Holy Night
#4: Carol of the Bells
#3: All I Want for Christmas Is You
#2: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)