Monday, December 15, 2014


For the last couple of weeks, I have posted about some of the Christmas titles I have acquired over the years.

But today is the Battle Of The Bands, so rather than feature one of those titles, I am going to put one song each from two of those titles into the arena to battle to the death....or at least until you wandering bloggers tire of commenting and go back to searching for that elusive holy grail of Christmas gifts.

Yes, the Battle for Christmas will be fought

There can be only one!

I'll post two versions of a song, and all you have to do is stop wrapping gifts long enough to listen to them.

Then you pick the one you like best and say why in the comments.

As quickly as that you can go back to baking those  chocolate chip cookies (and I know you will send a little care package to Arizona, right?)

Since you're already way behind on your holiday preparations, it really won't set you back any more if you check out these other bloggers who are doing the same thing.

Far Away Series   (the one who started all this)


Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

Curious As A Cathy

Everybody loves Christmas! 

Even atheists love Christmas. 

And every year, artists release albums of Christmas songs, many of which have been done a million times.

But I think I speak for all men when I say that few have every worn the red suit as...ahem...proudly as this individual....

Mariah Carey has sold over 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. Her first Christmas CD, titled (oddly enough) Merry Christmas, has sold 5.3 million units, putting it in the top ten best selling Christmas titles of all time (Elvis' Christmas album has sold ten million copies, but he had a forty year head start).

Here is "Oh Holy Night" from Ms. Carey's Christmas album.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an American progressive rock band founded in 1996 by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O'Neill, who brought together former members of Savatage to record a series of holiday-themed concept albums (Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic and The Lost Christmas Eve).

Described as "Pink Floyd meets Yes and The Who at Radio City Music Hall," TSO has sold more than 10 million concert tickets and as many albums, and while I have watched their DVD (The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve) every Christmas Eve since it’s release in 2001 (sort of a tradition since I do not live near family), I never saw their live show until this year, an elaborate stage presentation that includes a string section, a light show, lasers, pyrotechnics, a two-story storage trunk with a moving lid that houses the band on a rising platform, video screens, and effects synchronized to music. 

Well worth seeing if you have not already.

Here is "Oh Holy Night" as rendered by TSO. It features Michael Crawford on vocals, and is a little more mainstream than some of their music.

Well if you're reading this, the rest is up to you. Which one do you like better? 

Scroll down and leave a comment!


  1. This is among my most favoritist Christmas songs.

    Michael Crawford with TSO somewhere in the background certainly pulls this off with drama and traditionality, but I've gotta cast my cheery vote for Mariah. I prefer her voice to the Phantom singer's and I really dug that gospel organ and chorus interlude. Nice rendition.

    Mariah Carey for me.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Lee-

      I know from a couple years ago what kind of a holiday season you are having (my dad died December 1, 2012), but I hope you know you have a lot of friends in the online community who have you in their thoughts and prayers...hang in there my friend, and Merry Christmas.

      I love MC's voice but I have deplored her vocal showing off since her second record-I get that she has a multi-octave range. Yay! I do not need to hear it on every song.

      But I never saw a better-looking Santa. If she were in my local mall, I'd be reading her my Christmas list from 10am to closing!

  2. Merry Christmas!

    Two stellar versions here!

    I'm really surprised how straight-forward TSO did this song -- it was all about the vocal. No disco drums, no blazing guitars, no rocking liberties with the melody. I'll lay you a significant wager that the vocals were pre-recorded, but they were excellent none-the-less -- I liked the blend with the children's choir.

    On the other hand, Mariah is a diva icon. She takes a lot of liberties with the frequent insertion of a vocal-acrobatic glissando (yes, FAE -- it's a legitimate musical term, lol), but it's a very soulful version. This has a gospel choir instead of a children's, and there is no denying the power of the rendition and the stunning range that Mariah has.

    Either could win and I'd be OK with it, but I guess I'm going with Mariah in this battle -- I give the edge to her range, her soulfulness, and for the way she fills out that red suit.

    1. Merry Christmas to you as well, Chris.

      I've said it a few times since I do not work the comments in any particular order, but as much as I appreciate Mariah's range, I think she would do herself a favor with less focus on showing off said range and more focus on feeling the song.

  3. I didn't even have to listen to this to know who I voted for, but I know that's not what BOTB is about, so I listened to them both. And I made it a grand total of 30 seconds through Mariah's version before I threw up in my ears and shut her off.

    Yes, you can sing, lady, I get it. But the vocal acrobatics get tiresome, fast.

    Easy, easy vote for Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

  4. O Holy Night is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I've sung in enough choirs to experience the sheer joy that comes from singing this praise song with a group. The harmonies, the build of the song... it all feels holy when you perform it. While other Christmas songs are fun to sing (heck, who doesn't enjoy singing Jingle Bells?), it isn't the same. This song feels reverent. A truly wondrous experience.

    That said, I didn't enjoy Mariah Carey's version at all. I know that over 200 million people would disagree with me, since they bought the record, but all of those "vocal acrobatics"... tumbling around the note... well, that just doesn't appeal to me. I told FAE that I was sure there was one case of this I might like if someone looked hard enough. Safe to say, this wasn't it.

    Now, I heartily enjoyed Michael Crawford and the TSO's version of this song. So, they easily garner my vote in this battle.

    Merry Christmas, LC!

    1. Before I forget (I did on StMcC's comment), Merry Christmas to you, too!

      It is sad, because Carey has a lovely voice, but she overuses that gimmick-y showing off her range trick to the point of distraction.

      Even if TSO would have had a fully loaded electric arrangement behind Crawford, their version would have taken it for me because of the straightforward vocalizing.

  5. Right out of the chute, Mariah Carey had her typical note-bending going on and it didn't take her long to get to the word-belting. Amidst all the vocal affectation, I don't believe a single note of her singing. She took a gorgeous, Sacred song and made it horrible. I'm quite certain she's satan (NOT Santa) in disguise! ...Pretty clever disguise, though.

    I'm not a huge Trans-Siberian Orchestra fan, as you could guess, but I absolutely adore their song 'Christmas Canon', and it sounds like they put on one really fantastic show. I'd be more interested in seeing them in concert than in collecting their albums.

    This recording of 'O Holy Night' was subdued when it should be and then built nicely to an emotional peak. It was traditional and... really quite good. Not my favorite version (see: Johnny Mathis), but it's far, far better'n I expected it to be - I could listen to it repeatedly with pleasure.

    Easy, easy vote for Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

    Merry Christmas, my friend, LC!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. It was a cool show...Netflix may have their concert DVD...

      And if MC is Satan....well that's a good looks for tempting you, huh?

    2. And I almost forgot...Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend!

  6. Replies
    1. Alex-somehow I knew you were gonna vote TSO.

      Just saw them live for the first time a couple weeks ago (after a decade and a half) of watching the live DVD-one heckuva show1

  7. Mariah Carey is nice but I can hear, before she even starts the song, how it's going to play out. And so it did.

    Mike Crawford, the band, and the kids took my vote. I don't usually get chills around the kneecaps - this was a first.
    SMcC mentioned Johnny Mathis... Mathis would have taken out TSO & Crawford. I've gotta go fine me some Mathis tonight.
    Vote: TSO.

    1. Yeah-most people feel the same way about her. She's got a voice but she needs a producer who will keep her In check...

  8. Hmmm... Mariah by a whisker. I guess I was expecting to be blown away by TSO and wasn't.

    1. I will post about TSO a little later in the season with some songs that are more their style

  9. TSO with Michael Crawford all the way! It is so beautiful and done with reverence the way it should be. Mariah has a good voice but I hate when that typical beat is thrown in which I hear in so many songs. I also can't stand it when she hits that high C because she can...who cares? Julie Andrews did it better anyway

    1. I never knew it was a "C"...all I know is that my cat was plugging his ears!

  10. This is more a battle between Mariah and Michael Craford.

    I didn't know Mariah had such a deep voice. I haven't listened to her in years, not really a fan, but somehow her voice shocked me. She sings well, her voice is suited to this song. And the music is good.

    Michael has an awesome voice, wide range for the vocals and boy can he hold a note. I got out of breath just listening. And, this song is suited for an orchestra. Any orchestra could have backed him up well; but dang it, I adore TSO. And the little once for the chorus was a stroke of genius. I loved how Michael let the little girls share the mike. That one kid almost burst a lung singing her heart out. Awesome.

    Crawford and TSO have my vote. I bet I would have liked it with Pink Floyd also :)

    1. If you get a chance, watch their DVD-I watch it every Christmas Eve...

  11. Michael Crawford and TSO did a top notch job. TSO kept their music clean and traditional with Crawford's pristine vocals. However, Mariah soulful rendition made me feel every note that she sang and besides...she looks hot in her Santa outfit! Give Mariah my vote, please! Here's hoping you have the merriest Christmas ever!

  12. While I like Mariah Carey's lower-register voice, it didn't sound like her until she started with her trademark upper-register shrieking. Trans-Siberia Orchestra's version was a little too mainstream, and I'm sorry, the children made it just a little too precious for my tastes. So I'm voting for Mariah and her Santa suit.

    John Holton
    The Sound Of One Hand Typing

  13. I hate it when BOTB falls on Monday (I just checked my calendar and found that that won't happen again until June - thank goodness), I'm just too busy to make the rounds. It's lucky if I get my own BATTLE posted. Anyway...that's the backdoor apology for taking so long to get here. (I also had to stop off and listen to Joan Osborn's 'Children God Where I Send You' - I love that song, but my favorite is by PP&M.

    I can see I really should have gotten here sooner seeing as how I got so much mention in YOUR comment box. Ha, ha, ha!

    Anyway...when it comes to vocal acrobatics, make mine Celine Dion. You might remember that I used this song with her and someone else whom I can't remember last year. As for Mariah, I feel pretty much the same as everyone else, nuff said.

    TSO - I'm not a big fan of Prog rock, but I DO REALLY like most of their stuff. I was expecting something completely different from them here, BUT I was pleasantly surprised. This was beautiful and gave a beautiful reverent tone to one of the most spiritual Christmas songs (IMO) I can think of. Give my late but whole hearted vote to TSO on this one. REALLY nice BATTLE LC.

    Have a Very Merry Christmas and a most Joyous New Year. I hope you have many wonderful concerts planned for 2015 and that you'll share them with us.

    I plan to try and look up that TSO DVD if I ever get the chance. Part of my Monday hectic schedule was a call back for a third interview at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino that will be opening in Tahoe in Jan. How fun does that sound?