Rhino Factoids: A Solid Gold Christmas
32 years ago today, the TV landscape was brightened by a two-hour special which offered a thoroughly confusing conglomeration of musical artists for the ostensible purpose of instilling viewers with the Christmas spirit.
Solid Gold, as children of the '80s well know, was a syndicated series that offered a weekly look into the US pop charts, sometimes with the actual artists performing their songs, while other times the song would play as the troupe of spandex-clad beauties known as the Solid Gold Dancers gyrated their hearts out on the Solid Gold stage.
For Christmas 1983, the show decided to count down the greatest holiday tunes of all time, again splitting the difference between artist performances and Solid Gold dance interpretations, but looking back at the guest list for the show, it's hard to work out if the producers were trying to provide a little something for everyone's musical tastes or if they were just flipping madly through their rolodex to see who was available.
That's not to say that any of the artists who performed weren't talented, but the words “all over the place” don't begin to describe this cast of characters:
Sister Sledge, “Jingle Bell Rock” / “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree”
Marie Osmond, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” / “The Christmas Waltz”
Peter, Paul & Mary, “A' Soalin'”
Donna Summer with Marilyn McCoo, “O Come All Ye Faithful”
The Chipmunks, “Chipmunk Jingle Bells”
Crystal Gayle, “Silver Bells”
John Davidson, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” / “Winter Wonderland”
John Schneider, “Silent Night” / “Blue Christmas”
Andraé Crouch, “Joy to the World”
America, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Oak Ridge Boys, “Thank God For Kids”
Laura Branigan, “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” / “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
Donna Summer, “O Holy Night”
Jerry Reed, “Please Come Home for Christmas”
Andraé Crouch with Peter, Paul & Mary, “Go Tell It on the Mountain”
Roberta Flack, “The Christmas Song”
John Davidson with Marilyn McCoo, “White Christmas”
In addition to the above performances, Jeff Altman and Wayland Flowers and Madame show up sporadically to offer some comedy gems, and then the whole thing wraps up with an all-star jam, as it were, on “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” leaving viewers bewildered and still wondering, “How do you have The Chipmunks on a Christmas show and have them sing something other than 'The Chipmunk Song (Christmas, Don't Be Late)'?”
You're just dying to watch it now, aren't you? Fortunately, we can arrange that.
Having provided you with access to this gem, we'll close by offering you one more thing - a palate cleanser for when you're finished - and we thought it would be only appropriate to spotlight probably the biggest star on the special: Laura Branigan. (Hey, this was 1983, remember? Laura Branigan was the bomb!)
Happy holidays, everyone, and we'll see you post-Christmas!