Christmas Song of the Day 2020: part 15

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen by Mannheim Steamroller

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So what’s up with that comma?

Today’s song, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen by Mannheim Steamroller, comes with an interesting historical anecdote on the side. “Rest ye merry” was a standard phrase in the English of the 16th century, when this carol likely originated, so the original meaning of the line would have been something like “may God grant you peace and happiness, gentlemen.”

In contrast with “ye olde-style” punctuation, this arrangement is very modern, in the driving rock style that Mannheim Steamroller does so well. It also adds a bridge in the middle that modulates into a major key, which gives the song a really interesting splash of color.

As a bonus, the album also includes a different version of this song which mixes modern punctuation with a lighter and older musical style.

You can now get the entire series of songs as a Spotify playlist.