Christmas Clash of the Titans: George Harrison vs. Ringo Starr
The holidays are all about peace on Earth, goodwill to men and all that, which your friends here at Ultimate Classic Rock fully support -- but first, we need to pit a pair of former Beatles against each other in a Christmas-themed Clash of the Titans.
The Beatles recorded no shortage of Christmas music, releasing an annual holiday gift to fan club members every year between 1963 and 1969, and the band's individual members drew on the holidays for inspiration even after they split; in fact, some of their Christmas cuts -- like Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime' and John Lennon's 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' -- still return to heavy rotation during the yuletide season today. But today, we're focusing on two lesser-known songs from the Beatles Christmas canon: George Harrison's 'Ding Dong, Ding Dong' and Ringo Starr's version of 'Christmas Time Is Here Again.'
Harrison released 'Ding Dong' as part of his 1974 'Dark Horse' LP, and like a number of other songs from the era, it was partially inspired by his Friar Park estate, thanks to a series of scrawlings left behind on the grounds by a previous owner, Frank Crisp -- who was immortalized for his troubles in the Harrison song 'Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll).' For this particular song, Harrison credited a pair of carvings on either side of his fireplace: 'Ring out the old, ring in the new' on the left, and 'Ring out the false, ring in the true' on the right. (As Harrison later noted, those lines are from the Lord Tennyson poem 'Ring Out, Wild Bells.')
Starr, meanwhile, wouldn't get around to releasing his version of 'Christmas Time Is Here Again' until 1999, as part of his Christmas album 'I Wanna Be Santa Claus,' but the song goes much further back -- to 1967, in fact, when it was initially written and recorded as that year's Beatles fan club holiday single. While Starr's version truncates the original's full six-minute length, it makes up for those missing minutes with a Joe Perry guitar solo.
So which holiday song gets your vote in this Clash of the Titans challenge? Listen to both tracks below, and remember: You can cast a ballot once an hour between now and 11:59PM ET on Dec. 29.
Listen to George Harrison, 'Ding Dong, Ding Dong'
Listen to Ringo Starr, 'Christmas Time Is Here Again'
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