State Eight: Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania does not boast much proud local Noel, novelty or otherwise. Double Shot A capella has a heavily Pittsburgh accented Santa song on the ‘tube with a pronunciation gazetteer and a glossary.

(And , sigh, oh yes, the Steelers sing carols badly. But, take it from me, all sports stunts songs are the briefest of curiosities. If you need some hard to understand poorly punned Twelve Days of Christmas, just ask me. I’ll find you better… Oh, okay, and the Flyers.)

Some children’s group sings an original holiday paean to Philadelphia sweetly. Like little angels, although unlike most elementary assemblages that i survived i can understand them. Joyeaux.

And here’s an odd tangent: Jim O’Connor sings “Christmas in Pittsburgh, 1943” as a tribute to his WWII sailor dad. It’s mournfully memorable Irish folk with sailing vocals. Beautiful. Not Christmas. Not really.

But, for me… I gotta go Bobby Rydell. Robert Louis Ridarelli was a wunderkind of the ’60s with hits like “Volare” and “Wild One.” He starred in the stage show “Bye, Bye Birdie” as a teen idol, wink wink. In the show “Grease,” the high school is named for him. “A Philadelphia Christmas” is a cry for help from ’03 signalling his past due date. It says nothing but cliche about Christmas or Philadelphia loudly with much lounge cheese (the personal pronoun ‘I’ is tortured to five or six syllables). At the present he is no longer recording, but he is still touring casinos closing his eyes and leaning back rather than hitting the high notes. Please visit his fan sites and let him know his hits will live forever.

Then listen to this crooning catastrophe and remember the moral of Ozymandius.