December 31, 1999: Millennium Mix

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(Pictured: fireworks over San Francisco as 1999 turns to 2000.)

December 31, 1999, was a Friday. Tension is high in the developed world over fears that computers might go haywire when the date changes to 1/1/2000 tonight. Worldwide, over $300 billion has been spent preparing for the so-called Y2K or Millennium Bug. Around the United States, at least six babies are born minutes before midnight tonight while awaiting twin siblings to be born after midnight, not just in a new year but a new millennium. Cities around the world prepare for record crowds of revelers to see in the new year. Not seeing the new year is Sarah Knauss of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who died yesterday at the certified age of 119, the oldest person in the world. Today, former US Attorney General Elliott Richardson, who resigned from office in 1973 as a casualty of the Watergate Saturday Night Massacre, dies at age 79. Boris Yeltsin, who became president of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, resigns from office. He is replaced by Vladimir Putin. By the terms of a treaty concluded in 1977, the United States hands control of the Panama Canal to the government of Panama.

Four college football bowl games are played today. Two are decided late: Oregon beats Minnesota 24-20 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso; in Shreveport, Louisiana, a field goal as time expires gives Mississippi a 27-25 Independence Bowl win over Oklahoma. Six more bowls will be played tomorrow, including the Rose Bowl, with Wisconsin against Stanford. The NBA is on a New Year’s break until Sunday. Two games are played in the NHL tonight: Dallas beats Anaheim 5-4 while Chicago and Detroit play to a 4-4 tie.

Television networks of all sorts are airing special programming themed for the millennium. ABC 2000 Today, a 23-hour show anchored by Peter Jennings, begins at 5AM Eastern time. Tonight, CBS has a special primetime edition of Late Show With David Letterman, a Grammy Awards special, and a live broadcast from the White House millennium gala. NBC presents Dateline NBC and millennium programming hosted by Jay Leno. Fox airs the theatrical movie Star Trek: Generations and a special from Times Square in New York City. Prince performs a pay-per-view show from his studio in Minneapolis, at which he plans to play “1999” for the last time. Metallica plays Detroit with Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and Sevendust; some of the show airs on MTV. Phish plays the Big Cypress Festival in Florida; some of that show airs on ABC. Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden and KISS plays Vancouver, British Columbia. Gloria Estefan plays Miami and Bruce Hornsby plays Williamsburg, Virginia. Barbra Streisand opens a two-night stand in Las Vegas, for which she is reportedly being paid $15 million. The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne play the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A story that ran in the Los Angeles Times on Christmas Eve noted that many of the New Year’s Eve shows around the country were seeing sluggish ticket sales. Most of the $1000 seats at the Eagles show are expected to be empty tonight; promoters of Jimmy Buffett’s show at the Universal Amphitheater in LA have slashed ticket prices and reconfigured the theater to hide empty seats.

On the new Hot 100 that will come out tomorrow, the top three songs are in the same positions as last week. “Smooth” by Santana with Rob Thomas is in its 11th week at #1; “Back at One” by Brian McKnight and “I Wanna Love You Forever” by Jessica Simpson are #2 and #3. Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love” trades places at #4 with “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden, now at #5. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is Christina Aguilera’s version of “The Christmas Song,” up to #18 from #47. Kenny G’s “Auld Lang Syne (The Millennium Mix)” jumps to #54 from #89.

Perspective From the Present: On this night, The Mrs. and I had dinner out but planned to be in early. Some friends invited us to stop by their house for a drink, which we felt we could safely do and still get home before our town hit the streets to celebrate the new millennium. But it was so pleasant, with cool people hanging out drinking, talking, and watching the celebrations on TV, that we stayed. At midnight, we all sang “Auld Lang Syne” around the piano, and it was 1AM before Ann and I left. It was our last profoundly memorable New Year’s Eve to date. We have spent a few with the family since then, but we’re far more often long in bed by the time midnight comes, as we expect to be tonight.

We Bop

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(Pictured: Cyndi Lauper on stage in 1984.)

We continue here with American Top 40‘s countdown of the Top 100 hits of 1984. This is AT40‘s own tabulation of the hits and not Billboard‘s, a distinction that will be important later.

64. “All Through the Night”/Cyndi Lauper
34. “She Bop”/Cyndi Lauper
24. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”/Cyndi Lauper
21. “Time After Time”/Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi, Huey Lewis and the News, and Lionel Richie are the only artists with four songs among the Top 100. (Nine others have three.) “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” will be in the first paragraph of Cyndi’s obituary, but “Time After Time” and “All Through the Night” are immeasurably better, and “All Through the Night” (which is down at #64 because it hadn’t finished its chart run when the Top 100 was tabulated) is another nominee for best song on the show.

63. “Love Somebody”/Rick Springfield. Does anybody remember “Love Somebody”? How about the movie it’s from, Hard to Hold, in which Rick Springfield starred? Anybody? Hello?

62. “Almost Paradise”/Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
15. “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”/Deniece Williams
6. “Footloose”/Kenny Loggins
Casey says that the Footloose soundtrack has tied Urban Cowboy for the most Top-40 singles from one movie soundrack, with six—three of which are on this show. (It is not, however, the #1 soundtrack album of the year; that’s Purple Rain.) Thirteen movie songs are on this year’s Top 100 in all, the most since 1978, when there were 12.

57. “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”/Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson. This didn’t really happen, did it?

56. “State of Shock”/Jacksons
27. “Somebody’s Watching Me”/Rockwell
The way the rest of the Jackson family glommed onto Michael for the Victory tour in 1984 was a distasteful hype, and so was the lazy, uninspired Michael/Mick Jagger duet on “State of Shock.” Similarly, “Somebody’s Watching Me” wouldn’t have gone anywhere had it not featured Michael, although the fact that Rockwell was Berry Gordy’s son couldn’t have hurt it.

40. “Twist of Fate”/Olivia Newton-John. It’s a legitimate shocker to hear this at all, let alone up so high on the list. More than practically any other record on this list, it’s gone down the memory hole—and it went down fast. I don’t think anybody played it for long after it fell out of recurrents. ONJ herself quickly fell out of fashion, too. “Twist of Fate” was her last big hit.

38. “Oh Sherrie”/Steve Perry
37. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”/Elton John
33. “Love Is a Battlefield”/Pat Benatar
32. “Break My Stride”/Matthew Wilder
30. “Self Control”/Laura Branigan
In the 30s the show becomes a largely a blur, with a string of songs nobody really needs to hear again.

35. “99 Luftballons”/Nena. Casey plays a special hybrid edit of both the German and English versions.

22. “Talking in Your Sleep”/Romantics
12. “Out of Touch”/Hall and Oates
I’m not surprised either of these are on the list, only that they’re up this high. I can’t remember the last time I heard “Out of Touch” on the radio; if you’re going to program, for example, a dozen Hall and Oates oldies, there are a lot of better ones in line ahead of it.

17. “Dancing in the Dark”/Bruce Springsteen. Casey flashes back to the Time and Newsweek covers of 1975 that called Bruce “rock’s newest superstar” and says that fans and critics believed it. Then he says, “It wasn’t until 1984 that the entire nation discovered Bruce Springsteen,” with the release of Born in the USA. All except for The River doing a month at #1 in 1980, yeah, Bruce Springsteen was a virtual unknown.

16. “The Reflex”/Duran Duran. Casey says that from #16 on up, it’s all #1 singles. They include some of the most memorable records ever made in any decade. “The Reflex” doesn’t seem like one of them. Sometime in 1984, the Durans reached a point where it ceased to matter if their records were all that good; they hit big regardless.

10. “I Just Called to Say I Love You”/Stevie Wonder. Casey back-announces this by saying, “Stevie Wonder, phoning in the tenth most-popular song of the year,” thereby being inadvertently truthful.

5. “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”/Phil Collins. Casey says this was the most-requested song of 1984 for Long Distance Dedications.

4. “What’s Love Got to Do With It”/Tina Turner
3. “Jump”/Van Halen
2. “When Doves Cry”/Prince
“When Doves Cry” was #1 for 1984 according to Billboard, but this isn’t Billboard‘s chart. 

1. “Say Say Say”/Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. As Casey introduced this, talking about two superstars pairing up on the #1 song of the year, I honestly could not remember what record he was talking about until he spoke the names. True, it did six weeks at #1 (in December 1983 and January 1984), but who plays it now?

Can’t Slow Down

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(Pictured: Lionel Richie performs at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.)

On the weekend of December 29, 1984, American Top 40 counted down the Top 100 hits of 1984. It was an eight-hour show that stations were required to air on either the 29th or 30th; if they wanted to repeat it over New Year’s, they were free to do so. The show was structured so it could be played in two four-hour blocks, should a station prefer to air it that way. In the intro, Casey says the year-end tabulation ends with the second week of December, making it a more accurate representation of the year than shows from earlier years, when the chart ran from November to November.

The music on this show is peak 80s, with a literal ton of iconic records that have never been off the radio in 36 years. We’ll need two installments to get it all in, and we’re going to skip around a lot.

100. “Lights Out”/Peter Wolf.  Introduced with a “number 100” jingle. When you have the top syndicated radio show in the world, you can afford to pay for a production element you’ll use once a year.

95. “Breakin’ (Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us)”/Ollie and Jerry
94. “I Still Can’t Get Over Loving You”/Ray Parker Jr.

89. “Think of Laura”/Christopher Cross
87. “Got a Hold on Me”/Christine McVie
84. “Desert Moon”/Dennis de Young
77. “They Don’t Know”/Tracey Ullman
73. “Breakdance”/Irene Cara
65. “Let the Music Play”/Shannon

Lots of iconic records on the countdown, yes, but also a few that were already being forgotten by the end of 1984 (even Christine, sadly).

93. “Head Over Heels”/Go-Gos. The Go-Gos are a band I respect more than I like, and “Head Over Heels” is the best thing they ever did, by a mile.

86. “Wrapped Around Your Finger”/Police. This is probably my favorite thing by the Police, although it’s slathered with the insufferably showy erudition that makes Sting’s solo work unlistenable. I imagine him writing in his study at home, thinking up the rhyme of “tuition” with “fruition,” and then saying to the cat, “Listen to this, it’s great.”

82. “Cruel Summer”/Bananarama. Casey was always quite interested in the breakdown of foreign acts vs. Americans, male vs. female, the number of songs with girls’ names (six on this countdown, by the way) and so on, although your mileage may vary as to whether it’s information worth knowing. That said, he notes that Bananarama is only the second all-female foreign act to hit the Top 40 in America. Silver Convention was the first.

79. “Penny Lover”/Lionel Richie
48. “Running With the Night”/Lionel Richie
31. “Stuck on You”/Lionel Richie
8. “Hello”/Lionel Richie
In addition to putting four songs on this show, Richie was also Billboard‘s Album Artist of the Year thanks to the mega-gazillion success of Can’t Slow Down. It was not, however, the #1 album of 1984. That honor went to Thriller, just as it had in 1983. Thriller was #1 from December 1983 into April 1984, even though all of its seven singles had been released by the end of ’83. Only four other albums hit #1 in 1984: the Footloose soundtrack, Sports by Huey Lewis, Purple Rain, and Born in the USA.

78. “I’m So Excited”/Pointer Sisters
70. “Strut”/Sheena Easton
58. “Sister Christian”/Night Ranger
47. “I Can Dream About You”/Dan Hartman

46. “Automatic”/Pointer Sisters
44. “The Heart of Rock and Roll”/Huey Lewis and the News
28. “Jump (For My Love)”/Pointer Sisters
20. “Caribbean Queen”/Billy Ocean
14. “Missing You”/John Waite
13. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”/Wham
11. “Ghostbusters”/Ray Parker Jr.

I’ve told the story before, how we switched to a Top 40 format at my radio station in the fall of 1984, and how “The Heart of Rock and Roll” was the first song we played. These and other songs on this countdown remind me of the early days of that format, when it was a thrill to hear my station coming in hot.

69. “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again”/Peabo Bryson
61. “Borderline”/Madonna
52. “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”/Elton John
39. “Union of the Snake”/Duran Duran
36. “Drive”/Cars
29. “Joanna”/Kool and the Gang
25. “I Feel for You”/Chaka Khan
18. “Say It Isn’t So”/Hall and Oates
One of these is the best record on the countdown, but I can’t decide which. Is it “Drive”? It’s probably “Drive.”

68. “Legs”/ZZ Top. Me, at the top of this post: “The music is peak 80s, with a literal ton of iconic records that have never been off the radio in 36 years.” It took 32 songs to reach one of those icons, although your mileage may vary with “Thriller” (#77) or “Heart and Soul” by Huey Lewis (#80).

Coming in the next installment: distasteful hypes, big-but-forgotten singles, and a surprising #1 song of the year.

December 25, 2000: The Grinch Stole Christmas

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(Pictured: Destiny’s Child. L to R: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams, on stage in 2000.)

December 25, 2000, was a Monday. There’s subzero cold across much of the American Midwest today. Moline, Illinois, sets a record with a low of 18 below. In Madison, Wisconsin, it was 21 below. A partial eclipse of the sun is visible across much of North America, reaching its maximum just past noon Eastern time. Up to 60 percent of the sun is covered in the northeastern U.S., but only about 20 percent in the far southwest. Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem are either scaled down or canceled in the wake of renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinians; outgoing president Bill Clinton has presented both sides a new plan to stop the violence. Meanwhile, the family Christmas celebration of president-elect George W. Bush is interrupted when 19-year-old Jenna Bush is hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. Today’s newspapers contain stories about the new president’s cabinet choices. Liberal groups oppose the nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general given his conservative record on civil rights and abortion. Also in the papers today is the obituary of Billy Barty, who appeared in dozens of TV shows from the 50s to the 90s. The 3-foot-9-inch actor died on Saturday at age 76.

The top movie at the box office this past weekend was Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, which took in a record $30 million. Other popular movies include What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt; The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage; and Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The top-rated TV show of the night is ABC’s Monday Night Football, where the Tennessee Titans blow out the Dallas Cowboys 31-0. Tonight on CBS: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, and Family Law, which stars Kathleen Quinlan, Dixie Carter, and Tony Danza. NBC presents its annual broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life. Fox airs Boston Legal and a Christmas episode of Ally McBeal.

The NBA’s made-for-TV Christmas doubleheader features the Indiana Pacers beating the Orlando Magic 103-93 despite Tracy McGrady’s 43 points for Orlando. In a battle of Western Conference contenders, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-104. Rasheed Wallace of the Trail Blazers leads all scorers with 33; Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers scores 32. In college football, Boston College beats Arizona State 31-17 at the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu. The Titans/Cowboys game today was the last of the NFL regular season. The playoffs begin this coming Saturday. The Titans are the #1 seed in the AFC; in the NFC, the New York Giants are #1. Both teams will have the coming weekend off. The wild-card weekend schedule has St. Louis at New Orleans and Indianapolis at Miami on Saturday; on Sunday, Tampa Bay plays at Philadelphia and Denver visits Baltimore.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child is #1 for a sixth straight week. “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy moves up to #2. “Case of the Ex” by Mya is #3. “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed is at #4; it’s also the oldest record on the chart, in its 38th week. There’s not much chart action, apart from “Liquid Dreams” by O-Town, which makes its Hot 100 debut at #21, and Madonna’s “Don’t Tell Me,” which zooms from #54 to #35. On the Billboard 200 album chart, 1 by the Beatles is back in the top spot. It was knocked from the #1 spot two weeks ago by the Backstreet Boys’ Black and Blue, which is now #2. The compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 5 is #3, Human Clay by Creed is #4, and Oops! I Did It Again by Britney Spears is #5.

Perspective From the Present: I have had better Christmases than the one in 2000. We visited the family in Michigan, Ann’s brother, his wife, and our three nephews, then aged 7, 4, and seven months. My journal records that we drove through two different snowstorms to get there on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was chaotic with general family buzz and I craved quiet that I could not find. On the 26th, I awoke with the flu, which required Ann to do the driving on the way home while I moldered in the passenger seat. On Wednesday the 27th, I was back in my corporate cubicle, although as I wrote in my journal on that day, with the bosses out of town for the holidays, “there’s little motivation for me to do much of anything. If I liked this job and thought it mattered, I might have more remorse about malingering—but as it is, I don’t.” I’d had the job for nine months; I would somehow stick it out for nearly three more years.

December 24, 1970: Awe and Wonder

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(Pictured L to R: Janee Michelle, Venetta Rogers, Erin Murphy, David Lawrence, and Elizabeth Montgomery in “Sisters at Heart,” the episode of Bewitched airing on December 24, 1970.)

December 24, 1970, is a Thursday. It is Christmas Eve. Newspapers are crowded with ads from merchants extending holiday greetings, although a few retailers advertise last-minute gift ideas or reduced-price Christmas decorations, and some restaurants plug their holiday hours. The National Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates that 50,000 retailers across the country will sell about 45 million trees this year, grossing about $200 million, comparable to 1969 figures.

The U.S. Central Command announced today that 23 Americans died in Vietnam during the week of December 12-18, the lowest weekly total since October 1965. American and South Vietnamese troops suspend offensive operations for 24 hours beginning at 5AM Eastern time this morning, which is 6PM Saigon time. The Viet Cong have already announced a 72-hour cease-fire, which was to begin at noon yesterday. American bombers will continue to hit targets in Cambodia and Laos, where the cease-fire orders do not apply. The Nixon Administration’s 1971 budget proposal, to be sent to Congress next month, will include $1.3 billion to facilitate an all-volunteer army by 1973. Money will be spent on enlistment bonuses and higher pay for those who agree to serve in combat infantry, artillery, and armored units. Up to $20 million will be spent on “prime TV and radio time” for recruiting commercials rather than relying on free public-service announcements. Elsewhere, the new budget will not include any new federal spending on health care, but a Nixon advisor says the administration wants to make medical care available to all Americans, reform the health-care delivery system, and concentrate on prevention of both disease and accidents.

No games are scheduled in the NBA or ABA tonight. The Milwaukee Bucks have the NBA’s best record at the holiday break, 26-and-6. The Utah Stars, Virginia Squires, and Kentucky Colonels are the ABA’s best teams, each with 23 wins. The National Hockey League is also quiet tonight. The National Football League playoffs will begin on Saturday.

Laura Nyro plays a Christmas Eve show at the Fillmore East in New York City with Jackson Browne opening. (The two have begun a brief romance.) On TV tonight, CBS presents Family Affair, a Christmas edition of The Jim Nabors Show, and the 1962 theatrical movie The Password Is Courage. NBC presents Christmas episodes of The Flip Wilson Show and The Dean Martin Show along with Ironside and Nancy, a sitcom about the daughter of the President of the United States, who marries a small-town Iowa veterinarian. ABC airs Matt Lincoln (with Vince Edwards, former Ben Casey star, playing a hip young psychiatrist at work in an urban neighborhood), Bewitched, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and The Immortal. Some local stations pre-empt network programming to air their own Christmas Eve choices. After the late local news, many stations broadcast Christmas Eve church services, holiday concerts, and/or Christmas movies.

A young farm family in southern Wisconsin, with kids aged 10, 8, and 4, does not watch TV on this night. The milking is done early. They have supper and attend Christmas Eve services, then return home to open presents. Later, they will begin waiting for Santa to come.

At WLS in Chicago, “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison holds at #1 again this week. “Knock Three Times” by Dawn is up to #2, and “One Less Bell to Answer” by the Supremes Fifth Dimension is at #3. “Stoned Love” by the Supremes (#4) and “No Matter What” by Badfinger (#6) make strong moves within the Top 10. New entries in the Top 10 are “Black Magic Woman” by Santana (#7) and “Domino” by Van Morrison (#9). The biggest movers on the survey are “Lonely Days” by the Bee Gees, up 12 spots to #16, and “River Deep, Mountain High” by the Supremes and the Four Tops, up 8 spots to #17. At 3:00 this afternoon, WLS suspends its regular programming, and for the next 24 hours airs a special called the Holiday Festival of Music.

Perspective From the Present: I first told the story of Christmas Eve 1970 during this website’s very first Christmas season in 2004, and have retold it many times since. I look back on that night with a sense of awe and wonder, the kind a religious person might feel while reading the creation story, because in a very important sense, the person I became, the one I am today, was born that night.

So, from our bedecked halls to yours, as Nat King Cole sang to me 50 years ago on Christmas Eve:

I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to 92
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you

Doin’ the Christmas Shuffle, Vol. 22

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(Pictured: Mary J. Blige on stage at Christmas 2013.)

It has been three years since I managed two of these Christmas shuffle features in one holiday season, so pin a rose on me, I guess. This playlist covers better than 60 years and a whole lotta styles.

“Moonlight, Mistletoe, and You”/Keb’ Mo’. This is the title song from Keb’ Mo’s 2019 Christmas album, which is not so much a blues record as it is an affable soul singer providing a pleasant 35 minutes of entertainment. I believe our friend Jeffrey Thames sent it along last year, and I don’t think I ever publicly thanked him, so thank you sir.

“I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas”/Orion Samuelson and the Uff-Da Band. Samuelson, a titan of broadcasting, has been at WGN in Chicago for 60 years and will retire at the end of this year, age 86. I can’t say for sure when his Yogi Yorgesson cover was recorded, but I don’t suppose it matters.

(Digression: there’s an amazing recording from November 22, 1963, in which Samuelson interrupts his noontime farm report to read the bulletin from Dallas. All he’s got is the first brief notice, little more than one line, and you can hear him thinking, “My god, what should I do now?” before deciding to continue with the farm news. But as he reads, it’s clear that he’s looking through the studio window into the newsroom praying that somebody will bring him more information.)

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/Aimee Mann
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/Billy Idol
Both of these are on albums released in 2006. Idol’s Happy Holidays is far better than it had to be. On One More Drifter in the Snow, Mann was going for a Charlie Brown Christmas vibe, but it’s mostly just morose. (Whole album here.)

“Christmas In Dixie”/Alabama. “Christmas In Dixie” came out in December 1982, when Alabama was just beginning its incredible run of success. Country stations still play it, although pop stations that might have done so when Alabama was crossing over do not. I like it, mostly for reminding me of Christmases from when I was a little baby DJ nearly 40 years ago.

“White Christmas”/Patti Smith
“White Christmas”/Hadda Brooks
Smith’s one-time run-through of “White Christmas” was released sometime around 1978, billed to “r.e.f.m.”, put out over the years on a couple of different labels, and produced by “the Runt,” Todd Rundgren. Brooks was a ballad and boogie-woogie piano player who first recorded in 1945, and so her “White Christmas,” from 1950, includes a long and lovely piano interlude. It came to me from the always-excellent site Any Major Dude With Half a Heart, where the Dude has reupped his entire collection of Christmas mixes. Stock your collection with 90 years of good stuff here.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”/Patti Labelle. Since my Christmas library plays mostly on shuffle, certain songs get overlooked, often for years at a time, and so I forget they exist. For example, there’s this complete reinvention of the Andy Williams warhorse from a 2007 album called Miss Patti’s Christmas.

“This Christmas”/Mary J. Blige. A Mary Christmas was released in 2013 and contains this terrific cover of the Donny Hathaway standard, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“I’ll Be Your Santa Baby”/Rufus Thomas. The stars of Stax recorded a fair bit of Christmas music during the label’s heyday. Some of it which was collected on It’s Christmas Time Again, released in 1982, an album replaced by Christmas In Soulsville, released in 2007. “I’ll Be Your Santa Baby” makes the Hip Christmas List of Sexiest Christmas Records, which is a good horny read. (Hip Christmas is a fabulous site I hadn’t visited in several years until recently. You should go there too and explore its “dysfunctionally vast web archive dedicated to holiday music that rocks, rolls, swings, and twangs.”)

Note to patrons: Here’s our programming rundown for the remainder of 2020: there will be new One Day in Your Life posts here on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because they’re my favorite thing to write. Next week Monday and Tuesday you’ll read about another American Top 40 year-end countdown show. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, there will more new One Day in Your Life posts.

Also: I am not doing a Christmas podcast this year. If you want to listen to last year’s, find it here. (I listened to it again myself. It’s good.)

Also also: I will be on the air during Magic 98‘s annual 98 Hours of Christmas Magic tomorrow and Thursday from 6 til 10AM. I hope you’ll drop in for a while.