The 60s are relatively bereft of Christmas pop which has stayed the course fifty years on. The exceptions are The Beach Boys Christmas Album and Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift From You though even The Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick is not heard with anything like the ubiquity of offerings from the 70s (you know which ones).
Looking to see what has been forgotten, I came across Look Around You (It’s Christmas Time), a chugging, self-penned 1968 single by Bobby Goldsboro with a Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell feel.
Conscience at Christmas
What’s interesting is Goldboro’s take on 60s’ social conscience given a seasonal twist.
The lyrics paint a dismal, dysfunctional picture of plastic trees, empty churches and a one armed beggar selling pencils for a dime.
The twin contemporary evils are materialism and alcohol, especially the latter:
We will deck the halls with holly if we make it off the floor.
Sometimes the social commentary is heavy handed, bordering on the unintentionally comic:
Santa Claus on every corner
As he braves the winter night
Bells are ringing in his left hand
And a bottle in his right.
Yet despite the imploring title, the message is ultimately reassuring: to simply remember the true meaning of Christmas.
I don’t think this obscurity is about to be revived anytime soon but it’s interesting to discover a piece which sits a little differently alongside Bobby Goldboro’s resolutely conservative back catalogue.