SONG OF THE WEEK – “COLORADO CHRISTMAS”

It is hard to write a good Christmas song.  With the traditional carols and the sentimental tunes from the 1940s and 50s and the “Nutcracker” and other more serious music and each listener’s personal memories of the Holidays, anything that a person writes would almost necessarily fall short.  Years ago, I thought that I had come up with the perfect new Christmas song, but no one has ever wanted to listen to it all the way through.  I would say, “Listen to this.  It starts like . . .”

Don’t stand under the mistletoe with anyone else but me,
Anyone else but me
Anyone else but me . . .

By that point, whoever was listening thought I wasn’t serious and walked away.

Steve Goodman is someone who actually did write a good “modern” Christmas tune; and since Christmas is a time for families, his words are meaningful for me.  Steve was born in Illinois, just a few miles from my birthplace, and about 4 months after me.  He was a gifted song writer, best known for “City of New Orleans,” but he passed away too young, in 1984, from complications of leukemia.

You may not know it, but there are many forms of leukemia.  Steve Goodman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while he was still in college, in 1968.  Eventually he developed a more serious form – myelodysphasia.  He received a stem cell transplant and had periods of remission, but eventually the cancer did what cancers do.

As I was growing up in Colorado, the person with whom I spent the most time was my brother, Lonny.  Many years later, he was diagnosed with a bone marrow disorder called myelofibrosis.  He also received a stem cell transplant, for which I was the donor.  It looked as though the procedure had been a success, but a year later he developed acute myeloid leukemia, a condition that could not be cured.  He passed away a little over two years ago.

I don’t mean to be maudlin.  I am happy and grateful for all my family and friends and for the Holidays which are here once again.  I just wanted to explain why this last-week-before-Christmas Song of the Week is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version of Steve Goodman’s “Colorado Christmas” – and it is not a sad song.

Merry Christmas!

Colorado Christmas
By Steve Goodman

Looking out the window of this Hollywood hotel,
You’d never know that it was Christmas Eve.
The billboards and the neon took the place of silver bells,
And the temperature is 84 degrees.

I can hear the traffic on the crowded strip below
As the palm trees poke their heads above the scene
But there’s not a single reindeer and it hardly ever snows,
And Santa drives a Rolls Royce limosine.

But all along the Rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow

I remember Christmases when I was just a boy
In the morning I would run to see the tree.
And the carolers on the hillside sang their songs of Christmas joy
Well, I always thought they sang them just for me.

Now the sun is setting in the California sky
And I can’t find the spirit anywhere
So I think it’s time for me to tell Los Angeles goodbye
I’m going back home to look for Christmas there

But all along the Rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow

(I do not know the copyright information for this song)

2 thoughts on “SONG OF THE WEEK – “COLORADO CHRISTMAS”

  1. I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED IF THERE IS A MINOR DIFFERENCE IN LYRICS BETWEEN IBBY AND GOODMAN

    The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
    Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow

    BUT SUBSTITUTE
    THE CLOSEST THING TO HEAVEN ON THIS PLANET THAT I KNOW
    IS A QUIET CHRISTMAS MORNING IN THE COLORADO SNOW
    THAT RHYMES

    EITHER WAY IT’s A GREAT SONG……..
    CHEERS FROM CANON CITY, COLORADO

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