Modern Talking scored no hits on this side of the Atlantic during their heyday in the 80s, nor during their first comeback in the late 90s, but you may have heard a few of the Europop pair's grooves in the dance clubs. Their biggest hits in Europe included "You're My Heart, You're My Soul", "You Can Win If You Want", and "Atlantis Is Calling". Dieter Bohlen and Thomas Anders did release the seasonal track "Give Me Peace On Earth" in 1986 (which doesn't actually mention Christmas or anything related...except of course "Peace on Earth") and recorded another, "It's Christmas", in 1987. And the synthpop New Wavers are certainly not beyond revisiting their old hits. We'll have to wait a bit to find out what this one is, but if you were a fan of groups like ABC, Heaven 17, and the Pet Shop Boys, you might want to look into this one (I can practically hear someone screaming at their monitor, "Modern Talking is nothing like those bands!").
I haven't heard enough about Secret Garden's "Winter Poem" album to know how deep the seasonal tie-in goes. But I have heard one of the vocal tracks and that's enough to interest me musically.
Secret Garden consists, primarily, of Norwegian pianist Rolf Løvland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry and, together, they make very beautiful music with appeal to audiences of New Age, Classical, Celtic and Pop. The duo scored their big breakthrough in 1995 when their instrumental performance of "Nocturne" took top honors in the Eurovision song contest. It was the first and only time an instrumental has taken first place. Since then, Secret Garden has released 6 albums and sold over 3 million copies world wide.
"Winter Poem" features all new music written by Løvland. Most of the tracks are instrumentals, but three vocal performances are included. The one I heard, "The Dream", features Moya Brennan of Clannad and it is stunning. I'll be honest; I didn't pay all that much attention to the lyrics because Moya's performance was so emotive and evocative, the lyrics were almost superfluous. Moya imbues the song with the kind of longing I frequently associate with some of the great songs of the season.
The one title that is clearly of interest to us here is "All On A Christmas Morning", this one featuring the vocals of Irish lass Fionnuala Gill. The third vocal track is "Powered By Nature", sung by Espen Grjotheim and Tracey Campbell. The titles of the instrumental pieces were not in the materials I read.
"Winter Poem" sports a release date of November 8.
But just as Saint Etienne did last year, this year David will be collecting up all those singles and putting them on a Christmas album. Knowing Dave, the album is likely to be limited. And it's almost certain to be released on vinyl. Whether or not there's a CD...that's the question. In the past, Dave's Christmas singles have arrived anywhere from early October to mid November. No announcement yet. We'll keep our eyes and ears peeled and you do the same.
"I was inspired to do the Christmas album by my grandchildren's visits and seeing them going through changes each Christmas. I've never written about that before, and decided to do it."
Floyd, who began his career with the doo wop Falcons, sang with that group on the 1957 Christmas song "Can This Be Christmas" and recorded the song solo in 1964 (backed with "I'll Be Home For Christmas"). He also released "Special Christmas Day" on Malaco in the 70s and recorded "I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas" for the bizarre "It's A Waffle House Christmas" CD in 2001 (most of which was by "Pac Man Fever" dudes Buckner & Garcia, who owned the chain). But, aside from the Falcons track, none of those songs is currently in print and Floyd has not previously released a full Christmas album.
Expect Floyd to keep it real. "I realize there are new styles that have come up after what I did, but they wouldn't work for me. I'll let someone else do that with the songs, because I want to stay rhythm and blues and doo wop."
Since the album will be available candle free at Amazon Canada, we can give you the full track list now (the artwork is not yet final).
1. Reba McEntire - I'll Be Home For Christmas
2. The Band Perry - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
3. Martina McBride - Please Come Home For Christmas
4. Rascal Flatts - Mary, Did You Know?
5. Eli Young Band - Wonderful Christmastime
6. Edens Edge - O Holy Night
7. Justin Moore - Run Rudolph Run
8. Steel Magnolia - It's Christmas Time
9. Sunny Sweeney - One More Christmas Beer
10. Jewel - Angels We Have Heard On High