Dean Martin comes to mind as one of my choices. Of course, his informercial comes on daily so he is constantly brought to mind. An article in “People” magazine, by one of his family members, stated that his lack of sobriety was just an act. He had a flare for the dramatic and the ” drinking” only intensified his voice range. His rendition of Silent Night was always so devout.
Bing Crosby is another great crooner. His Christmas songs are brought back year after year to entertain generations. The movie, “The Bells of St. Mary’s” is a favorite and is rerun many times. His “White Christmas” movie is shown every holiday season, and I never tire of seeing it. The song with the same name is always so joyful and appropriate for any year.
Perry Como was another of my favorites. Born and raised in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, he was a barber by profession. His soft, lilting voice, was a joy to hear on the radio. My children loved to hear his song, “Hot Diggity, Dog Diggity,” when they were little. His “It’s beginning to look like Christmas” always got the season started for me. We had a local five and dime store in our neighborhood and they would hold a Christmas open house after Thanksgiving. They always played this song on their speakers for the early shoppers.
Bobby Vinton was also one of my favorites. He was from Pennsylvania, also. I saw him several times when his band played at local dances. One of the highlights of my holiday season was when he sang to me in Branson, Missouri, and presented me with a long stem red rose. He sang, “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.” He is Polish, and I can remember my mother sending me his Christmas record, “Santa Claus is Polish.”
Elvis Presley is another favorite. His “Blue Christmas” always made me cry, if I could not be home for the holidays. It was especially sad for me, when my husband was stationed overseas for Christmas.
Christmas would not be complete, unless we heard Tony Bennett sing “The Christmas Song.” You can see the chestnuts roasting on the open fire, and hear the sleigh bells ringing, when he sings about it. It reminds me of my Christmas growing up.
Kenny Rogers is another of my favorites. When he sings “Mary, did you know?”, the Christmas story comes alive. His melodic voice gives you the impression that he is actually talking to Mary.
Barry Manilow is perhaps my all time favorite. He is small in stature, but his voice makes him six feet tall. He can make the ladies swoon with his soothing renditions of some old favorites. His Christmas album is filled with standards that are popular every Christmas.
Trace Adkins can sing a love song. His slow, calculating voice, gives the impression that there are only two people in the room and he is singing to you alone. He has a Christmas album singing some traditional Christmas songs in his own way. Adding his twist to some of the favorites gives them new life.
Johnny Mathis was another of my favorites. His “Sleigh Ride” was the start of the season at my house. It was a large 33 1/3 RPM album, which had a few songs that stuck on the needle. I recall his “O Holy Night” which gave me goose bumps every time I hear it.
These are my favorites. Every year I look forward to hearing their old songs. There might be new artists, but there is only one man who can sing “White Christmas.” That man is Bing Crosby. I feel the same about the others and their signature songs. I am glad that some of the albums that have been re-mastered so they can play on modern equipment, and we can hear their voices with our favorite Christmas songs.
references: www.perrycomo.com, www.bingcrosby.com, www.deanmartin.com, www.bobbyvinton.com, www.tonybennet.com, www.barrymanilow.com, People Magazine