Un(covered): Christmas Time is Here

Vince Guaraldi vs Family Force 5 By | December 4, 2015 at 1:30 PM

“Christmas Time is Here”
Writers: Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi
Original Release Date: December 1965

It’s the most wonderful time of year! Christmas is less than a month away, which basically means I’ve been listening to festive music for the past two weeks. And what better way to ring in the holidays than with the classic “Christmas Time is Here”.

If you were born at any point after 1965, you’ve probably seen one of the greatest animated movies of all time: A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s pretty much unavoidable during the month of December, though I can’t imagine why anyone would want to ignore it, since it’s amazing. The opening scene with Charlie Brown and Linus is soundtracked by the sweet rendition of “Christmas Time is Here”, which was written specifically for the special. The clear vocals—recorded by the choir of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in California—are unmistakable, and set the tone for Charlie Brown’s melancholy musings, against the backdrop of his friends skating on a frozen pond. For fans of the special, the tinkly piano immediately brings to mind simple cartoon lines and memories of sitting inside on a cold winter’s day.

If the original version is soft pastels and warm fires, then Family Force 5’s cover is vibrant metallics and Christmas crackers. Kicked off with clapping and a stronger drum beat, this is a version that could have you shimmying around the Christmas tree, rather than discussing the true meaning of the holiday with your blanket-wielding friend (I still love you, Linus!). Tinkly pianos are traded in for a mini guitar solo and some gang vocals, but the festive spirit is still there.

I’ve been a fan of the Peanuts gang for years, so of course I love the original (you should also check out the mellow instrumental version!), but I have to be honest: I absolutely adore FF5’s entire Christmas Pageant album. Christian crunk rock isn’t for everyone (how is that even a genre?), but it sure is fun to dance to. Plus it makes a great conversation-starter the next time you play it at a holiday party.

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