Christmas Songs Still Stuck In The ’50s – What Gives?

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Dec 24 2014
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Tomorrow is the big day – the Christmas Day. Shopping and Christmas songs are everywhere. The holiday season will continue after Christmas – New Year, Chinese New Year and whatnot. However, if you care to stop playing with your smartphone and spare some minutes to think, it seems the Christmas songs and music are so yesterday. In fact those music were decades old as if they were stuck in a time machine.


Based on a compilation by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), nearly two-thirds of the top-30 Christmas songs were written in the 1940s and 1950s. Those were the years when the baby boomers were small children. Those were also the years when the world was in crisis – World War II. The question remains why the geniuses could composed such a magnificent music post-war but not today?

When 30 Top Christmas Songs Were Written

Some suggested that post-war era was an exceptional time in American history where jobs were plentiful and the economy was booming. Hence, the rich resources in writing great Christmas songs for the babies. Today, we still listen to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, written by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow” written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, and tons other offerings from the 1940s and 1950s.


Do we really need another world war and baby boomers to simulate great Christmas music creation once again? Or could it be that today’s composers simply had lost their talents? Like it or not, today’s music is garbage with lots of jumping up and down, swearing openly and showing fleshes in order to make as much money as possible. Perhaps composers nowadays couldn’t produce Christmas songs which are driven by lyric and melody.

Children singing Christmas Song

Perhaps technology has hindered their creativity, resulting in little inspiration, thanks to auto-tune function, for example. Perhaps composers today do not appreciate festivals such as Christmas as much as the 1940s and 1950s generations did after the World War II. The rush to produce the already over-production of love-songs in order for teenagers to buy more albums could be another reason why good Christmas music is so rare today.


However, this does not only happen to Christmas songs alone. Elsewhere, Chinese New Year and Ramadan and Aidilfitri songs, be it from Hong Kong or Malaysia are facing the same fate. Festival music aside, the best artists, lyricists, songwriters, composers are mostly dead. People like James Wong “Uncle Jim”, Joseph Koo (still alive), Danny Chan were some of the legends from Hong Kong.

Uncle Jim and Danny ChanSudirman and P Ramlee

In Malaysia, you’ve  the legendary P. Ramlee and Sudirman. In fact, you will be greeted with Sudirman’s “Balik Kampung (return to village)” infamous song every year during Ramadan Hari Raya Aidilfitri. As exaggerated as it may sound, today’s festival songs – be it Christmas, Chinese New Year, Ramadan Aidilfitri – are no match compares to those in the 1940s or 1970s. Sadly, today they have simply lost the basic talents in music.


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