Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Carols: Greensleeves

Winchester Cathedral at Christmas - Winchester, Hampshire County, England

I'm back with another of my favorite holiday tunes. Tonight, let's partake in the merriment, have a cup a cider, sit by the fire and enjoy Greensleeves.

This song is much older than you may realize. Greensleeves is a folk melody from England that dates to at least 1580. The earliest known record of Greensleeves exists with the London Stationer's Company (a massive printer and publishing house formed in 1403 which is still in business), but most music historians believe it is much older than that.

The tune's origin has incorrectly been attributed to King Henry VIII for hundreds of years, though it is highly doubtful he had any sort of connection to the writing of the song.

Greensleeves, due to its folk heritage, has been recorded in multiple variations for as long as it has been in existence. Artists from all styles of music have put their spin on the classic. One such example, a personal favorite of mine, is by jazz artist Vince Guaraldi. You may not know his name, but you're certainly familiar with his work. Here's his rendition of Greensleeves, as featured in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'.

Shockingly, Greensleeves receives a lot of praise from the world of heavy metal music. Countless guitar shredders have performed the melody on their axes of sonic fury! Here's an ass-kicking version from Charlie Parra del Riego.

Finally, how about a whimsical version from the Decade of Excess? Let's try an 8-Bit 1980's Nintendo style version of Greensleeves on for size. I rather enjoy it! It almost reminds me of a track from 'The Legend of Zelda'.

It just wouldn't be the holidays without Greensleeves. What are your thoughts?

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