Monday, December 23, 2013

The Monkees "'Riu Chiu"

During the two years that THE MONKEES was on television, they only did one holiday-themed episode: "The Christmas Show," which first aired in the US on December 24, 1967. It's about the Monkees being hired to baby-sit spoiled rich kid (Butch Patrick) while his aunt takes a holiday cruise. The boys at first try to entertain him and then, when they realize he has none, they try to instill a little holiday spirit in him. Butch Patrick, famous as "Eddie" from THE MUNSTERS, resists their efforts. The boys keep at him, however, and he eventually sees the error of his ways, letting a little more love into his heart. 

The episode is pure Monkees: an abundance of slap-stick with a thick layer of heart. They mean well. You can certainly see that at this point the show was trying to practice what it preaches: money isn't everything (they lose the money they get for the gig by paying various doctor bills and department store damages), but Love is. Also, Love saves the day. It still holds up, some 40 plus years later.

The episode ends with a beautiful a capella version of a 16th century Spanish song, "Riu Chiu." I researched this song and it is about the birth of Jesus. I have never heard this song before or since, but evidently it is a well-known folk or chorus song. It's a beautiful tune, and with this performance alone doubters should stop hating the Monkees. They are obviously singing here, and singing well. 

If you want to read the lyrics or see a translation, visit this Tradition In Action homepage. 

Happy Christmas! 
God Bless Us, Everyone!

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