Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Believe In Father Christmas

If you have been reading my blog for the last few years, you probably know how I feel about Christmas, since I have blogged about it before.  I suppose having two children has probably softened me up a little bit about this whole Christmas thing :-)

Last year, I got kind of deep and personal, and posted a synthesized rendition of one of my favorite carols, "What Child Is This".

In 2008, I posted a much less serious cover of Peter Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" (be sure to listen to it all, as it has a surprise genre-spanning ended).

Doing "cover tunes" is fun.  I don't do it that often, but I always learn from the experience.  This time, I actually learned a song (note-for-note) that I have always loved, and previously only dabbled with.  I did the entire learning and recording session in one four-hour span, with a single hour-long follow-up session of final overdubs and the mixdown.  The song is "I Believe In Father Christmas", recorded and released by Greg Lake in 1975, and then again by Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1977, and yet again in 1993.  In addition to the Wikipedia link above, you can read more trivia about this song, and about the controversy it created at this songfacts link.

Bottom line is, I believe that lyricist Peter Sinfield left the lyrics to this song ambiguous on purpose.  Unlike some of his other blatantly atheistic lyrics (for instance, in ELP's "The Only Way" from the album "Tarkus") the lyrics to Father Christmas, the middle verse anyway, can be interpreted several ways.  In an attempt to make my version a little less ambiguous, I altered the lyrics in very subtle ways (just one word really, and a couple of pronoun substitutions is all, hardly worth mentioned fact, forget I mentioned it).

I will let you draw your own conclusions.  I hope you enjoy my rendition of this timeless holiday classic.  The lyrics, as I sang them, are posted just below the song links.

I Believe In Father Christmas (Lake/Sinfield)

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me the fairy stories
Still I believe in the Israelite
But they believed in father Christmas
And they looked at the sky with excited eyes
'till they woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And they saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve