Richard Crowson: Have Yourself A Perry Little Christmas
Now that we’re past Thanksgiving, it’s time to turn toward the season of Mr. C.
No, no, I’m not talking about the Claus guy. At my house “Mr. C” means Perry Como. Although I listen to Perry all year round, the Christmas season is when his music becomes especially meaningful to me. I harken back this time of year to when I was around age 6 and my family gathered in front of our big old black-and-white tv to watch Perry’s shows, and his Christmas specials in particular. Our television set had a “hi-fi” record player built into it and that part of the unit was also occupied by Perry. We had a total of one Christmas record. It was Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music. And it was all we needed.
There’s still a little bit of eye-rolling that’s evoked whenever you tell someone you really like Perry Como. I don’t care. In my book Perry is tops. Granted, my infatuation started with nostalgia for an earlier, carefree time in my own life. But as I’ve researched Perry and dug deep into the archives of his recording career, I’ve come to appreciate the man as much for his exemplary life as for his musical gifts.
There’ll never be a tell-all book by Kitty Kelley about Perry. His private life was quiet – no rat-packing arrested adolescence such as Frank Sinatra had. No Daddy-Dearest books from his children like Bing Crosby’s son wrote. Married once and for all and devout Catholic son of Italian immigrants, Perry treated people kindly and in his understated way, left us with a fifty-year legacy of angst-less easy listening.
So, in your face, Como-phobes. Sneer if you must. I’m listening to Mr. C and too mellowed out by the experience to care.
Hot diggity-dog diggity! Can’t we all use a little calming down this time of year? Have yourself a Perry little Christmas.