Monday, December 18, 2006

A little merry

Entertainment Weekly's look back at the history of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is interesting reading in and of itself. Suffice to say that while I'm far from the biggest fan of Christmas, this is one of a handful of Christmas songs that I genuinely like, in large part because of how it captures the melancholic ambivalence of the holiday rather than sweeping it under the rug like most holiday songs, and also because I have some fond memories associated with the song.

But the article also reminded me of something I tracked down a few weeks ago and then forgot to link to. In December of 2001, Hugh Jackman hosted Saturday Night Live and, in lieu of the traditional opening monologue, simply sang this song, with backup provided by the show's female cast members. What made the performance memorable was the context -- to sing that particular song, in New York City, just three months and a few blocks from September 11, gave it a resonance that made it genuinely unforgettable.

I scoured YouTube and peer-to-peer networks with no luck trying to find a copy to link to. But eventually I did find a Hugh Jackman fanpage that featured an abbreviated version of the audio from that performance. It's not perfect, but then, Christmas never is, is it? If you'd like to hear it, go here and scroll down past the abundant pictures of Mr. Jackman in various hair styles for a link to the mp3.

UPDATE: A more dedicated commenter than I -- or perhaps one with a higher tolerance for Hugh Jackman fan sites -- posted a link to the video of the performance in question. Not long after that, a video of it was posted to Google. Enjoy!

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