I grew up in a very musical home. Dad played the Violin, Mom played Piano and Organ, my brother played Trumpet, then piano and organ and I played drums, Saxophone and Baritone when I broke my left pinky. Dad listened to old country, mom listened to easy listening, Boston Pops and Opera, my brother covered the Beatles and other groups from the 50’s to the late 60’s and I finished it off with Rush, Queen, Aerosmith, Kiss and Chicago.
Christmas Music was always big in our home. From the day after Thanksgiving, mom’s multi-record console Stereo was stacked with multiple Christmas Albums. We did everything from “The Mormon Choir,” to “Big Crosby,” to “The Grasshoppers.” If mom was in a really snarky mood or mad at one of us kids, we got a whole afternoon of “Mario Lanza” and “Luciano Pavrotti” always on the loudest setting possible. While both are solid singers, they are murder to two kids stuck in the house.
Fast forward…the decade is the 1980’s, and I was working at the mall, selling all sorts of overpriced electronics for Radio Shack. I was one of two lead salesmen in the store and we had a blast. He’d sell a stereo, I’d sell a stereo, He’d sell a television, I’d sell a television. One of the things we had to sell was a pair of Mach 1 speakers. These things were huge and put out one heck of a sound. The trick was to find the perfect music to demo them. Someone suggested Mannheim Steamroller’s “Christmas Album.” “What’s that?” I said, I had not heard of them. One of the guys had a copy in his car, so he went to get it while we set up the Mach 1’s and our best stereo right by the door, which sat directly across from the food court.
We put in the disc and cranked up the stereo. What came blasting out of the speakers was some of the coolest music I had ever heard. Everyone in the food court stopped talking and some of the people started dancing. Within 10 minutes we had a store full of people and sold 4 stereos with speakers. We also had a visit from The Mall Cops. They demanded we turn the music down and stomped away. We waited till they were about half way down the mall and then cranked it up again. Mall Cops can run. This time they talked to our manager who promptly reminded them that Radio Shack was paying rent on two locations and as soon as we could, we would be setting up a second stereo at the second location too. We turned down the music a little and kept selling
For those of you who are not familiar with Mannheim Steamroller, they have been around a long time now. They have a website you can visit http://www.mannheimsteamroller.com There you can read about the group, see where they will be on tour and have some fun. You can also visit their store. (Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this endorsement.) I found a few selections up on YouTube but they were pretty poor copies. So much for YouTube protecting Copyright. This is my favorite among their albums. Especially the “Deck The Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” tracks.
No matter what kind of Christmas Music you like, put some on! It’s already half way to Christmas!