“Feliz Navidad” celebrates its 45th birthday this year
One of the most uplifting and contagious of contemporary Christmas songs, Feliz Navidad was edited by Jose Feliciano to include the English lyric “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas” so mainstream English-speaking radio stations would play it. And play it they did!
In 1968 the Puerto Rican Feliciano interpreted “The Star Spangled Banner” in his own style at a World Series game in Detroit which was greeted with mixed response, yet his album Feliciano! went No. 2 on the Billboard charts. The following year he won two Grammys, but was still keenly aware of the challenges facing multicultural artists. When he wrote Feliz Navidad two years later he included the English lyrics to help bridge the gap.
Billboard’s Holiday 100 list includes this bright and joyous song every year as it remains a favourite, and I’d be happy to hear it more often on Australian radio too.
To our wonderful Blue Velvet Jazz community we’d like to wish you the best for the Season and a fabulous start to 2016.
Sarah, Michael, Peter, Maxwell, Darryl, Kelvin