Sunday, 21 December 2014

ADVENT CALENDAR: Dec 21st - Nat King Cole - 'O Holy Night'

A very unlikely thing for me to feature on the site, since it certainly doesn't fit into the category of "alternative" Christmas songs, quite the opposite in fact. When I was a kid, I was crazy about all the big Xmas hits, even more so when I was playing them at the Christmas discos that took place at the club my Dad used to manage (I was a very young DJ in the mid 90's). Even though my Dad would have disagreed with me, Xmas songs by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were the sort of thing I found very "boring" back then. But as the 90's went on, all things indie had took hold of me, and the likes of 'Last Christmas' no longer did the business for me. Then in 2000, a compilation released by XFM took my fancy. Entitled 'It's A Cool, Cool Christmas', it featured some of the indie scene's brightest stars playing original Yuletide compositions, as well as a few covers. Back then it was the only festive thing I'd ever listen to. 

By 2003 I had become obsessed with the world of punk rock, so Christmas songs were a world away from my usual listening choices. Of course that didn't stop me from finding lots of punk rock Christmas tracks, which I put together on a charmingly titled homemade compilation called 'Merry Fucking Christmas, You Cunts'. While these tracks were always humourous and upbeat, festive they were certainly not. However by 2009 I had become an all-round music lover, so genres no longer restricted me when it came to Christmas music. Through listening to BBC 6Music, I discovered a huge number of seasonal treasures mostly of the blues, soul and rock n roll variety. But this year, as well as listening to an old John Peel xmas show from 1992, I have been indulging in the warming sounds of Nat King Cole. In an even more unlikely twist, I've been listening to him via a free CD that came with the Daily Mail! This recording of 'O Holy Night' is capable of sending shivers down spines...
 Incredible. Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in 1919, and died in 1965. 
Cole was one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death.

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