Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'll Be Home On Christmas Day

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the biggest daily newspapers in Sweden ranked Elvis' "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day" as the second best Christmas song ever. The article was published in Aftonbladet, and you'll find it here.

In reality it's an impossible task to choose only one of Elvis' Christmas tracks, the writer of the article points out, and wonders how one can choose between "Blue Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Back In Town. Or between the beautiful ballads "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "If Every Day Was Like Christmas."

But, the choice gets to be "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day," the reason being that the song deserves more attention, the writer goes on. And because "Elvis takes the train between country, gospel and soul and creates a song that would have qualified for a place on his best album ever, From Elvis In Memphis."

Well, he seems to know what he's talking about. I think it's a great song, and have a soft spot for the bluesier June remake version, first released on the Memories of Christmas album. And thanks to Ernst Jorgensen there's a couple of more versions available, from both the May and June sessions, most of them featuring the alternate verse:

"Been so long since I've seen little John, Michele, Christine and Kelly; And I almost forgot with all the presents, that I bought a purse for little sister to carry. If I could set aside my pride, I just be on my way. I'd catch that train tomorrow, I'll Be Home On Christmas Day."

By the way, there's a photo montage video, capturing the feeling of the song, on Youtube. I found it thanks to Elvis Information Network's Youtube favourites. Be sure to pay it a visit and get in that Elvis Christmas mood.

6 comments:

Rocker said...

Merry Christmas! And all best wishes to you and your family.

By the way: Isn't the long version of Merry Christmas Baby on this album?

Thomas said...

Thank you, Rocker, and merry Christmas to you too!

Yes, the unedited/undubbed master (7:59) is on it. Also, the album kicks off with a beautiful, longer running version of "O Come, All Ye Faithful."

MĂ„rtenbrother said...

Merry Christmas! I believe that the long "Faithful" is edited together, consisting of two takes including the master? And happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas
What is the complete lis, who beat Elvis to the #1 spot?

Thomas said...

MĂ„rtenbrother: According to Ernst Jorgensen's book A Life In Music the long version of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is take 2, the master being take 1. Joe Tunzi also lists it as take 2 in his Sessions III book, but in his Session II and I books says it's a splice between take 1 and 2. Confusing stuff!

Anonymous: The winner was Darlene Love and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from Phil Spector's 1963 Christmas album A Christmas Gift For You. (As a member of The Blossoms Darlene Love later sang backup vocals for Elvis on his '68 Comeback Special.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Thomas, funny to see there is a link to Elvis :-)
Regards Kees aka Anonymous.