Saturday Top 5: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and dad treated me and Marcela to a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert.  We have been fans of Mannheim Steamroller for years, so it was such a cool concert for us.  If you are not familar with them by name, I am sure you have heard their music.  They are most popularly known for their Christmas music which is described by some as 18th Century Classical Rock.  Chip Davis, the group’s founder said he does not believe in all accoustic, all electronic, or all digital.  He wants to make music where all those converge.  So when you hear “Angels We Have Heatd on High” with tympany drums, solid brass section, and a Moog Synth, that is Mannheim Steamroller!  This list will compile my top 5 favorite Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tunes.  It is definitely one of the toughest lists for me, because there were so many great songs to choose from.

#5. Pat-a-pan – From Mannheim’s third album, this is a very percussion infused song about a little boy who received a drum for Christmas, and when he went off to war as a drummer boy, he used the drum he was given.  The song is another medieval sounding combination of flutes, percussion, and synthesizers.

#4. Deck the Halls – I would imagine this is Mannheim Steamroller’s most famous Christmas rendition.  It’s the first cut off the first Christmas album, and like many of the songs Chip Davis composed or arranged, one layer builds on another until it releases you.  Since you are already familiar with the song, the tension that builds from expecting the song to go where it does not makes the chorus more rewarding.

#3. Good King Winceslas – This may be the most rockin song Mannheim Steamroller does.  It’s also off the first album.  They take a very traditional Christmas song and lay a model with great percussion and a synth lead.  Very cool.

#2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman (both the Christmas Sweet followed by the electronic version) – This is off the first Christmas album which sold over 6 million copies.  The way it comes out of the medieval sweet into the electronic synth version is one of the twists that makes this song so good.  I hope you enjoy the videos.  I found both to be more than entertaining, especially the air performance.

#1. Fum, Fum, Fum – Every time I hear this song, I want to grab a flute and dance around the room.  To me, it is the most happy and lively song from all of the Christmas songs Mannheim Steamroller does.  The composition by Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller sounds very Gaelic when in fact it is Catalan.

In conclusion, I could have listed 20 more songs that were worthy, but these were my favorites.  If you get a chance, check out Los Peces en el Rio, Faeries, the Carol of the Bells, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Hallelujah.  That’s still not enough.  Your best bet is to go out and buy a couple of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums.  My suggestion is to grab the Christmas Celebration album as it has some of their best tunes compiled on one CD.

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3 Comments

Filed under music, top 5

3 responses to “Saturday Top 5: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

  1. Ol' Atom-Splitter

    Very enjoyable post.

    The air guitar/piano/trumpet/violin electronic version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” on youtube was Grrrrreat.

    I wonder why you left out “Angels We Have Heard On High” in favor of “Fum, Fum, Fum” or “Pat-a Pan”. Pat-a-Pan is really a war protest song. It only tie to Christmas was the fact that the drummer/soldier killed at the end of the video got his drum as Christmas gift when he was child.

    But its your list, so have at it.

  2. Pat a Pan is on their Christmas album. S0 regardless of its origin, if I were to hear the song I would immediately recognize it as a Christmas song. Since it is one of my 5 favorite Mannheim Steamroller Christmas songs, it made my list. I do enjoy Angels We Have Heard on High, and it was just barely outside of my top 5. As for Fum, Fum, Fum, it’s definitely my favorite Mannheim Steamroller song, and since it is an ancient Christmas Carol, it’s perfect for my list.

  3. ritzcrackah

    I should do a Top 5 of Relient K’s Christmas songs…But I have something else planned for my blog. =P

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