Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Song of the Week: Give Love on Christmas Day

by Corey Sheppard

“Give Love on Christmas Day” is such a beautiful, moving Christmas ballad. Released in 1970 on the only Jackson 5 Christmas album ever (and only Christmas album released by any Jackson, what a shame), the song shows the brothers taking on a serious ballad about caring and looking after another during the holiday season. This song has taken a life of its own for soul Christmas music fans and I take much pride in knowing that the song was written exclusively for the Jackson 5.

Written by the Corporation (Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Freddie Perren, and Deke Richards) “Give Love on Christmas Day” has many memorable moments. First the intimate production provided by the session musicians helps set the mood for the record. The drums are fantastic on this record. The high hats on the record frequently changed from a four count to an eight count, as well as the drummer hitting the rim on the verse then the snare drum on the choruses.

Twelve-year-old Michael Jackson lays down a beautiful vocal for this record. He truly had a gift of opening himself to any emotion a song could have. Most adults don’t have this gift, let alone a twelve year old in his first year of professionally recording, His vocals swift from first being very soft and adorable, to being urgent and pleading. Not many singers can do that, let alone a child. He never fails too impress the hardest critic! The background vocals are excellent too. You can clearly hear Jermaine and Jackie singing the harmony notes with Michael on the chorus. They sound excellent, and completely in tune.

The only little thing I can say about this record is that I would have loved for the songwriters to have written a bridge to this beautiful song. I guess it’s just my selfish way of saying “I wish the record were longer.” Every time I listen to “Give Love on Christmas Day,” there’s always a bit of sadness on my part when it comes to an end. I truly feel this record could’ve been stretched a bit more. I would even turn up the volume at the very last seconds of the record. I could clearly hear MJ singing: “Every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and Susie, too…” In my mind I thought “why, oh why, would they not let the record play longer?” Boy did I get a big surprise last year.

I, myself was already head-over-heels in love with “Give Love on Christmas Day” by the time the Ultimate Christmas Collection was released in late 2009. This beautiful set compiled by Motown contained several perks. One major perk for serious J5 fans was the color picture of the Jackson 5 around the Christmas tree in 1970. But the major, major highlight for myself and many J5 fans (including the owner of this page!) is the a capella version of “Give Love on Christmas Day” found near the end of the re-issue. All the vocals are here and, boy, does it sound good. The first time I heard it, I swear I got chills. Such beautiful vocals provided by the brothers, plus we received nearly an extra minute of vocal harmonies and extra lyrics provided by the boys. For J5 fans, this feels like a lifetime. What a nice little addition to this album, showing how much care Motown put into this package just for us.

his holiday wouldn’t be the same without the Jackson 5. The eleven tracks they made in summer 1970 have been a part of my life since the very beginning of my childhood. Recently, Jackie Jackson stated that the Christmas Album was one of his favorite J5 albums, and it is still to this day a big seller. That means the world to me and several others, proving that good tunes never die.

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Corey Sheppard, 21, has been a Jackson 5 fan since 1993. His favorite hobbies are listening to music, playing racquetball at the YMCA, and hanging out with friends. Corey’s life passion is centered on music. His latest project is an all-new production company shared with Robert White Jr. entitled "Ask About It Productions."

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I missed your blog Corey!
    I enjoyed reading this one again and I agree with you 100%!
    This song is SO beautiful and the a capella... *sigh* ... it's incredible.
    I've got a part in a Christmas play and we always play christmas songs during the break. I gave the technician my 'ultimate christmas collection' cd and I insisted he just HAD to play that a capella!