With the advent of the New Year, it’s time to have some fun and reminisce about 2012, and one of the most important ingredients of end-of-the year thoughts and celebrations is good music.
Indeed, the mood and desire for festivities, parties and get-togethers are in full swing, and appropriate music can set the ambience just right.
It’s been a long year — with an extra Leap Year day, for that matter — and it’s time to say goodbye to it. And for appropriate musical enjoyment, this article will provide links to songs that may help get you in the mood for some New Year celebrations.
Each of the following 10 selections were recorded by prominent and generally well-known artists of various types of music, from pop to doo-wop to blues and R&B, and the listed items span years as early as 1944 and as recently as 2007. However, although each of the vocalists had a number of chart hits, for some reason — unlike Christmas-related tunes — songs about New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day have only rarely graced the national pop charts.
To maintain variety, this list includes songs by men, women, groups, and even a duo, and to listen to any of the selections, simply click on the song’s title.
- “WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE?” (Dante & The Evergreens, 1960): This appropriate number was written by Frank Loesser in 1947, and this rendition is by the southern California quartet that is most noted for their recording of “Alley Oop.” Many other recording artists performed this song, including Ella Fitzgerald, The Orioles, Nancy Wilson, Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis.
- “NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION” (Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, 1968): The duo, in both duets and solos, did a lot to epitomize the Stax-Volt Memphis sound of the ’60s. They combined for two Top 40 hits in 1967 — “Tramp” and “Knock On Wood” — and Otis is best known for his No. 1 hit “Dock Of The Bay”, which was recorded just three days before his death in a plane crash on Dec. 10, 1967. Despite his death, some of his records, including this one and three Top 40 singles, were released posthumously in 1968.
- “CHRISTMAS AIN’T CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS AIN’T NEW YEARS WITHOUT THE ONE YOU LOVE” (The O’Jays, 1969): This was first released on the Neptune label in 1969, then on the Philadelphia International label in 1973 and on TSOP in 1980. This Canton, Ohio, group had a chart-topping single with “Love Train” in 1973.
- “LET’S START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT” (Bing Crosby, 1942): This song was from the movie “Holiday Inn” before it was released as a single. The recording artist was one of America’s top entertainers for many years, and his credits include the top-selling record (“White Christmas”) of all-time. The Tacoma, Wash.-born performer sold more than 300 million records and starred in more than 50 movies.
- “IT’S JUST ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S EVE” (Barry Manilow, 1977): This song was based on a melody from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, and it reached No. 33 on the Billboard Magazine’s adult contemporary charts. The Brooklyn-born vocalist/pianist/songwriter had three No. 1 records among his 25 Top 40 hits.
- “HAPPY NEW YEAR” (ABBA, 1980): This was from the Swedish quartet’s “Souper Trouper” album. It was recorded by a world-famous group that had a No. 1 hit with “Dancing Queen” in 1977 and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010.
- “HAPPY NEW YEAR BABY” (Jo Ann Campbell, 1958): This songstress from Jacksonville, Fla., made her name as a recording artist and as a star in movie musicals in the late ’50s. Her biggest single was “I’m The Girl From Wolverton Mountain”, a No. 38 Billboard pop charter in 1962.
- “BRINGING IN A BRAND NEW YEAR” (B.B. King, 2007): After more than five decades as the so-called “King Of The Blues,” the Mississippi-born singer finally recorded his first holiday album, which included this tribute to the New Year with his take of an old Charles Brown recording. Since he started recording in the late 1940s, he has released more than 50 albums, more than any other blues singer.
- “MY DEAR ACQUAINTANCE” (Peggy Lee, 1960): Subtitled “A Happy New Year”, this song was originally featured on the singer’s “Christmas Carousel” album. It’s a relaxing and warm rendition by an artist that was prominent on the pop charts as far back as the late 1930s with the Jack Wardlow orchestra and in the early 1940s with Benny Goodman’s orchestra.
- “HAPPY NEW YEAR” (Nat King Cole, 1958): This famous vocalist, who began his career with The King Cole Trio in 1939, had more than three dozen Top 40 hits before he died of lung cancer at the age of 47 in 1965. Here, he sings an appropriate tune that was written by Gordon Jenkins and recorded by Judy Garland in 1957.