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Friday, December 11, 2009

Out There!: "The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong

I don't mind Christmas music during this time of season. What I can't stand is that with so much to choose from, the radio stations play the same ones over and over and over and over. How many times do I need to hear Jingle Bell Rock, Last Christmas from Wham!, or Wonderful Christmastime from Paul McCartney? That's why I tune it all out and instead listen to some holiday music from my collection. One of those songs happens to be a beautiful tune that probably should be played more than any other Christmas melody. I' m not embarrassed to admit it's gets a little dusty in the room when I hear the song because of the message it conveys. It may not be as obscure and out there as other tunes I write about, but even this Jew can admit a Christian Contemporary song is one of the most beautiful songs ever. The song I'm yapping on and on about is The Christmas Shoes by Newsong.

I knew the band that recorded Christmas shoes was Newsong, but I always assumed the lead singer was Bob Carlisle of Butterfly Kisses fame. Upon doing research for this article, Carlisle was never a member of the group. Newsong was a Christian contemporary music group formed in 1991. Although they will always be linked to the Christmas Shoes song, they actually have been a popular group in this genre for awhile. The band actually hosts the annual December Winterjam Tour featuring some of the biggest and baddest Catholics in the U.S.A. Newsong also does a lot of charity work assisting abandoned and underprivileged children and do so because it's noble and not to feed their egos like other celebrities (umm, does the name Bono ring a bell?) The Christmas Shoes origin was from an internet legend passed around on-line which eventually got passed along to the band. Newsong began working on the song in 1996, and it took four years until it was released as a bonus track on their album Sheltering Tree in 2001. The song originally only had life on the Billboard Country chart peaking at #31. Upon leaking to pop radio stations during the holiday season, the song found new life. It held the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary chart in 2000, and still continues to bring smiles to people's faces nine years after the release of the tune. Even a movie based on the song's lyrics hit CBS in 2002, becoming the #2 most watched prime time special of that year.

I remember the first time I heard it back in 2000 was on Scott and Todd In The Morning on WPLJ while getting up for work. And it sounded like the cheesiest novelty song I ever heard. It kind of sounded like a parody from Trey Parker of South Park. Upon more listens, the melody got in my head. Hearing about a poor boy who needs to buy the perfect pair of shoes in time because his mom was about to die and she needed to look beautiful when she met Jesus that night. And the singer feels he is witnessing heaven's love and helps the boy by springing the cash for those shoes as an act of kindness because isn't that what life or should I say the holidays are about? The song has a great message, and I only hope this song gets more spins on radio than the usual Christmas classics from Elton John, Mariah Carey, or Bruce Springsteen. If you have a heart, this song will touch you.

Ladies and gentlemen... The Christmas Shoes by Newsong. I'm warning that you that you might need a tissue for this one!


  1. Sigh. Most contemporary Christian music skeeves me out majorly. I remember hearing this song when it was popular, and I was like "I appreciate what this song is trying to convey, but that doesn't mean I ever want to hear it again!"

    I know. I have no heart.

  2. C'mon you have tons of heart. Your holiday cards could probably be translated into a Christian Contempory song. :) Wait until tomorrow or Sunday when I write about yet another legendary Christian contemporary tune from the 90's.