First off, Phil Spector is NOT my uncle… but he is crazy. I don’t think he was as looney back then as he clearly is today… at least I hope not… but who really knows… I am sure some folks had an inkling. It is sad. Tragically sad.
But the man gave us some amazing music and introduced many of us to the famous “Wall of Sound”. Wikipedia defines it as creating “a dense, layered, reverberant sound that came across well on AM radio and jukeboxes popular in the era.”
I say it is filling all available space with deep, multi-layered sounds.
The holiday season is here. Tonight is the annual NU Club of LA Holiday Party and Toy Drive, so I am feeling festive… especially as loaded the car up with boxes and bags of toys and stuffed animals for the kids of the Children’s Institute. It’s gonna be a good night.
So… my daughter wants a Christmas tree and a stocking. It ain’t gonna happen. It’s not that I am Mr. Bah Humbug or anti-Christmas. I love any holiday that brings people and families together to celebrate life and each other. I love that this season, INCLUDING Thanksgiving, is a chance for people to give back and be generous and donate time or toys or money or whatever they can afford to give.
But I think it is also important to honor your own traditions and religion not water them down to try to fit in. Our differences are what makes us who we are and should be embraced and celebrated. We need to be far more accepting and open about what other people believe in and make sure that our beliefs strengthen who we are, celebrate who we are and never condemn another group who thinks something different. As long as the intentions are not violent and destructive, there is room for every one.
When I was a kid I celebrated Christmas every year for my Grandma Sue… she was my step great-grandmother and to honor her we would drive to South Jersey and have a full-on XMas meal and celebration. It was great. But in our house, it was Chanukah. Period. So yes, I got the best of both worlds and never lost my identity. I am proud of who I am, as we all should be. People need to be happy with who they are… find a spirituality within that… and be open enough to embrace others and celebrate with them and for them.
Religion is at its best when it gives us a compass and is used for good and generosity and to bring people and families and the world together. When it gets fanatical and isolationist is when it is dangerous.
Wow, did not mean to hop on a soap box… Stepping down now.
Phil Spector and Various Artists – A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector
This album is my favorite Christmas album. And yes, I am a nice, Jewish boy… but so were many of the gents who wrote the great Xmas tunes!!! Further proof that is about the spirit and we can all find that spirit in ourselves and each other!
AllMusic says: “Featuring Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” in its prime and his early stable of artists, the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector stands as in arguably the greatest Christmas record of all time.Spector believed he could produce a record for the holidays that would capture not only the essence of the Christmas spirit, but also be a pop masterpiece that would stand against any work these artists had already done. He succeeded on every level, with all four groups/singers recording some of their most memorable performances. This is the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged, and it has inspired a host of imitators.”
I say grab your family and friends… sit by the fire… and celebrate the season… and maybe someday someone other than Adam Sandler can write some truly great Chanukah music.