For Lisa Layne, Sept. 27, 1989 would certainly mean much more than simply her 27th birthday. She was standing at the microphone at Nashville’s Masterfonics recording studio. Surrounding were some of the town’s best studio musicians all set to document a brand-new bluesy Christmas song. The recording would be listed under the name of a retro rock and also roll band that originated in brand-new Orleans, Vince Vance and also the Valiants.

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As the tape started to roll, a funky, however melancholic saxophone solo introduced the track until the suggest when Lisa Layne leaned right into the microphone and began to sing:

Take ago the holly and also mistletoe

silver- bells ~ above string

If I created a letter to Santa Claus

I would certainly ask for just one thing…

Here was among those moments once greatness was accomplished – in a single take. The song, “All I want for Christmas is You” is one of the optimal selling Christmas songs in the world, and also arguably the holiday’s best pop song ever.

i don’t require sleigh rides in the snow

Don’t want a Christmas that’s blue

Take earlier the tinsel, stockings and also bow

‘cause every I want for Christmas is you.

Layne was born in Tyler, Texas however her household moved to Dallas when she to be three. Due to the fact that her father was a musician, music was part of she heritage. ~ graduating from high school she performed v her very own band until she was scouted by the Valiants, whose operations were break-up between brand-new Orleans and also Dallas.

“All I want for Christmas is You” was written by new Orleanian Andy Stone, who plays the role of Vance, the absent geek v the pointy hairdo, and also guitarist troy Powers. Rock was motivated to create the track in 1973 when he was touring through the band and spent a lonely Christmas in a Columbus, Ohio motel room. His words would dig deep right into the emotions of the season especially when Layne erupts after ~ a seductive mid-song sax solo:

ns don’t require expensive things

they don’t matter to me

all that i want, can’t be found

under the Christmas tree

I had come to be so captivated by the song, and its anonymous singer, that with the coming of each Christmas season I wanted to interview her. V the assist of a Valiant ns was ultimately able to make contact a pair of years ago: “I never obtained a coin for that recording,” Layne recalled, nor was her surname on the label. She was an employee for the band just doing her job. Few Valiants were connected in the session, which contained mostly Nashville musicians record under the Valiants' name. The song, nevertheless, would end up being world well known with Lisa Layne together the powerful, however mysterious voice.

There is a Grinch in this Christmas story. The is singer Mariah Carey. In 1994, 5 years after ~ the Vince Vance recording, Carey exit a tune with the exact same name. The Carey variation is completely different, but the blog post of love and also longing is the same. “I guess: v they had actually the right to usage the name,” Layne conceded, despite grudgingly. The Carey track comes nowhere near capturing the moodiness of Layne’s Joplinesque performance.

After leaving the Valiants, Layne settled for a when in Nashville. If over there is one human in nation music history that anyone that tries to imitate needs to be really, really great it is Patsy Cline, the best female voice the the genre ever before produced. For two years Layne played the lead function in a nationwide tour of a “Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.” She is one of only a few performers to have been endorsed through the Patsy Cline structure as being worthy of playing the mainly role.

When i interviewed she Layne was spending many of she time in Branson, Missouri. Boo Miller, that backed she on the steel guitar, also assumed the roles of manager and also “permanent partner.”

Now she is working greatly out the Texas, though she did have actually a Dec. 1 gig in Gretna performing “A Patsy Cline Christmas.”

She has a website under her name, which in ~ least provides pictures to go with her voice.

Amazingly, for all the anonymity the the original version, “All I desire for Christmas is You” is quiet the song that many identifies her.

“Someone us knew in Amsterdam when called,” Layne said, “to say they heard it there. Sometimes throughout Christmas my mother calls saying, ‘Guess what I simply heard top top the radio!’ “

Let’s see, could the song mom heard end like this?

You are the angel atop my tree

You room my dream come true

Santa can’t carry me what i need

‘cause every I want for Christmas is you.

Vince Vance’s words, and also Lisa Layne’s delivery, will certainly reverberate because that as lengthy as over there is Christmas—and loneliness.


BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the brand-new Orleans Carnival” (Pelican posting Company, 2013), is obtainable at neighborhood bookstores and also at publication web sites.

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