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Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas Hardcover – September 27, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
This year, at least three different titles explore the origins of well-known Christmas carols. Ace Collins's Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas takes on more than 30 popular songs and hymns, from classics such as "O Holy Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" to the contemporary Christian hit "Mary, Did You Know?" Secular numbers such as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" also get their due in this attractively designed gift book.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Collins is an ace at song history, dispensing compendiums of song backstories that are nothing if not tasty--quite a feat, given the saccharinity of popular-music commentators in general. His custom is to tell how a song came to be written and popularized, capping the resultant article with a snippet about its commercial track record, if appropriate; quite often in this book, it isn't. Many a Christmas song peaked in popularity long before Bing Crosby or Judy Garland could have had a first-time chart-topper with them. Of course, Bing did make "Silver Bells" a hit, Judy scored with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and Collins is fully in his element with those and other twentieth-century entrants into the Christmas canon. Not that he doesn't tell a good tale about each of the 31 entries in this book. It's just that, with the old songs, he can't impart facts such as the one he drops about "Silver Bells"--to wit, as Der Bingle moaned about many other things, Hope did it first. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Note on Kindle formatting: Poor. And strange. Each chapter deals with one Christmas carol, but the words to the carol are given in the middle of the chapter - and in the middle of an unconnected paragraph. Sometimes even in the middle of a sentence! You'll be reading along and get to the middle of a sentence talking about some aspect of the carol, then it suddenly breaks off and the words to the carol (in italics, and not always properly formatted themselves) intervene. After turning the page, you can pick up where you left off in the middle of that sentence. The illustrations (bad) do the same thing.
Based on content - 2.5 - 3 stars; based on formatting 1.5 stars.