Aside from the pure unadulterated glee one feels shuffling through a crowded mall trying to lay your hands on some overpriced piece of junk that you're sure your relatives will return within days, December doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment. I mean, Santa's OK, I guess. But I just don't trust him. He's got a sneaky look in his eye. That said, looking around for December songs proved easier than I initially thought. I even like a few of these. Wonders never cease.
"If We Make It Through December"--Merle Haggard: With the price of heating oil being what it is, this song takes on greater significance than ever. The only thing I wonder about this tune is if its author is aware that even if he makes it through December, he isn't free and clear, since I checked the calendar and the months that follow are January and February and according to my notes they're pretty much just as cold and miserable. What do you say we all move to Texas and buy lots of air conditioning?
"December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)"--Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons: We all have songs in our memory that we wish weren't there. That's how I feel about the entire catalog of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. Their songs range from barely tolerable to excruciatingly awful. It's as if they did it on purpose. I take their songs as a personal affront. Like when the neighbor's kid screams all night just so I can't sleep. To make things worse, these folks inspired Billy Joel. Where does it end?"December 7, 1941"--Lightnin' Hopkins: The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on this day and yet few people saw fit to write about it in song. Leave it to ol' Lightnin' Hopkins to nail it down for all of us. Considering Hopkins recorded something like a thousand albums you'd think he'd have a song for every day of the year.
"December Day"--Willie Nelson: Willie knows. Throughout the song he's remembering the Spring, Summer and Fall and noticing how much December sucks. All this talk about global warming these days and all the ensuing dangers when we could be focusing on the positives, which apparently would include the elimination of December! So we lose a few polar bears in the process and Santa's home washes away. Things change. Deal with it.
"December 4"--Jay Z: Rappers are often noted for their modesty, so you can imagine the shock I felt when I learned that the significance of December 4 was Jay-Z's birthday. You mean he wrote a song to celebrate his birthday? That seems a tad self-congratulatory. He weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces and was the last of four children. His parents were Gloria Carter and Adaness Revees. The things you can learn about a person in song! He did not give out his social security number, which is smart. That's why he runs the music business and we don't.