Yesterday, I thought I had covered all 2017 singles, but well, already one day later, I am back with three other Christmas singles – well, only two are really a Christmas single. The third one has one Christmas song and two non-Christmas songs, but as all three songs are listed as A-sides, and it is a charity release, I will write a little bit about it anyway. Also one of the other singles is a charity singles, and both these singles are by or related to musicians who are not among us anymore, here on this earth. The third single is a re-release of a single that was originally releaed in the early 1980s.
Joey Ramone: Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
(Mutated Music Inc., USA, 45 rpm, red vinyl, 500 copies)
I always check the new single releases on Discogs, and that is how I discovered earlier today that a Joey Ramone charity Christmas single was released just a few days ago. As we all know, Joey Ramone was the lead singer of the Ramones, one of the most influential punk bands ever, who sadly died, aged only 49, in 2001. In 1987, his band released 'Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)', a Christmas song that would become one of the classic rock Christmas songs, and has been covered many times.
After the Ramones broke up in 1996, Joey started a solo career recorded a new version of the song produced by his brother Mickey Leigh, who also played guitar on the recording. This new version was much slower and less agressive than the original version had been, while Joey's voice also sounded much sadder. The song was posthumously released as a CD single for Christmas 2001, soon also a 7” version of the single appeared, but that turned out to be a bootleg. Ramone's version of the song finally got an official vinyl release in 2014, when it was included on a 5-song 10”, called 'Christmas Spirit... In My House', a repress on vinyl of a 2002 CDEP.
And now, the song is for the first time officially released on 7”, on red vinyl, and in an edition of 500 copies. The B-side was recorded in Joey's apartment, the previously unheard cassette demo of the version that became a Ramones classic. According to the words Mickey Leigh wrote on Joey Ramones' website, is this the recording the Ramones listened to the first time they heard the song. Recorded in Joey's apartment on a 4 track cassette recorder.
The single is not cheap, it costs 20 US dollar, but 100% of proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross of America, so I guess, the fact that is it more expensive, also means the Red Cross will get more, so I am not complaining. I guess they will be gone very soon, so if you want a copy, head over to the website of Joey Ramone, and order yourself a copy.
Listen to Joey Ramones version of the song here:
Walkway featuring John Coghlan / Massive Wagons / CJ Wildheart*, Boss Caine, Ben Marsden and Jason Hodgson with Sound Of Status and The Quo Choir: Rock Remembers Rick E.P., including Christmas Eve (Nanana)
(Barrel And Squidger Records, RIP RP 241216, UK, 33 rpm, black and blue vinyl, blue vinyl limited to 200 copies, black to 1000 copies)
On Christmas Eve 2016, so exactly one year ago, Status Quo singer and guitarist Rick Parfitt sadly passed away. He was already some time suffering from health issued and had been forced to stop performing with his band because of this, a few months earlier. To commemorate Rick's passing the 7” EP 'Rock Remembers Rick' has been released by Barrel And Squidger Records, an independent vinyl record label based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. The EP has three songs, 'Rain' by Walkway featuring John Coghlan, 'Back Too The Stack' by Massive Wagons and the song that is of interest here, 'Christmas Eve (Na Na Na)' by CJ Wildheart, Boss Caine, Ben Marsden and Jason Hodges with Sound Of Status and The Quo Choir.
In 'Christmas Eve (Na Na Na)', The song remembers how they heard the news, last Christmas Eve, that Rick had passed away, and how they lit a candle for him that evening. Rick Parfitt was first and foremost a guitarist, so the song features a lot of loud guitars and a sparkling solo by CJ Wildheart. That's good, as the guitars give the song an extra boost and prevent it from being overly sad. After all, Rick Parfitt himself was someone who enjoyed and celebrated life, so a sad song would not have been fitting. As a side not, Status Quo did release a Christmas 7” in 2008, the very festive sounding 'It's Christmas Time', that probably would have been a big hit if the band would have recorded it in their heydays, as it was catchy enough. 'Rock Remembers Rick' comes in a black and a blue edition. The EP is released in aid of children's cancer charity The Shona Smile Foundation. It can be ordered from the Barrel And Squidger's website.
Watch the video of 'Christmas Eve (Na Na Na)' on Youtube:
And see Rick Parfitt and his band mates in the video of 'It's Christmas Time'
Amy Cannon: Daddy's Coming Home For Christmas (Self-released, USA, 45 rpm)
A Christmas 7” that I seemed to have overlooked in my daily checks of Discogs is that by Amy Cannon (or Ami Cannon; the front cover lists her as Amy, but elsewhere I see her listed as Ami Cannon; her full name is Anne Marie Cannon). It is titled 'Daddy's Coming Home For Christmas', and it features two versions of the song: a piano version and a country version. The story behind the song sounds a bit like a classical Christmas story.
A long time ago, two girls, Amy and Mary (Owens), were living in an orphanage in Los Angeles. They became best friends. One day, a man came to the orphage and each child was allowed to request one gift for Christmas. Amy asked a guitar, as she wanted to learn to play guitar, to be a singer and songwriter someday. And yes, on Christmas Day, Mary got the present she longed for. The story does not tell if this man happened to have a long white beard and was dressed in red. Fast forward to the 1960s, the time of the Vietnam war. Amy's husband was fighting in Vietnam, and her daughter Danielle missed her father a lot. This inspired Amy, together with her BFF Mary to sit down and write a song for all the children who were missing their father, because of the war: 'Daddy's Coming Home For Christmas'. As Christmas stories should have a happy end, Danielle's daddy indeed returned, and the family was re-united.
Amy recorded the song, accompanied by Seattle pianist and arranger, Forrest Kinney. This version is on the A-side of the record. Amy would record the song again in 1982, this time backed by a country 'n western band. The country version of the song 'is dedicated to our courageous soldiers stationed all over the world, to their loved ones, and to our Gold Star families who have given so much to our country', to quote the artist. Both songs have been released before, probably in 1982, on a label called Cannique Publishing (or is that the name of the publishing company?) and are now re-released on 'a Limited Nostalgia Edition Vinyl 45 RPM of the original 7” record'. It can be bought from CDBaby.
The piano version sounds like a song from a 1970s musical, also because of the way Amy sings the song. Her voice sounds very pure and strong. The country version has a more full sound. In a way, this single is a bit of an artifact of the past, but as also today, in 2017, all over the world wars are happening, and because of it many people will not be with their loved ones... and I'm not only talking about soldiers here,as there are many more people who have been forced to fled from where they were living because of war, leaving loved ones behind - or even losing loved ones. You can listen to short previews of both songs on the website of CDBaby.