Michael Newdow Issues “Solstice Classic” CD

Dashing. Not only is that an incredibly accurate description of Michael Newdow, but it begins his version of the solstice carol, H.G. Wells”–sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” Referencing the famous author’s “Invisible Man,” the song begins, “Dashing through the snow, was a man they sought to slay. . . .”

Newdow has 11 other holiday classics, including “O Wholly Night,” “Deck the Malls,” and “There is No Hell.” Written to the tune of “The First Noel,” it has the refrain:

No Hell, no Hell, no Hell, no Hell.
Short is our time here so let’s live life well.

Among the remaining selections are “The Twelve Hours of Solstice” and the obligatory “Silent Night,” although Newdow–a shy, modest and occasional illeist (who, in fact, wrote this very release)–most affectionately references his adaptation of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

“It’s quite timely, amidst the current concerns of the environment and global warming.” Having heard the song himself, this reviewer can attest to the fact that Newdow’s “O Come Don’t Be Wasteful” is certain to become a solstice classic for millennia to come.

What moved him to put this album together? “A year or two ago,” he states, in a voice croaking (not unlike on his opus) with compassion, contemplation, caring and creativity, “I heard a comment on NPR that atheists don’t have any songs of their own for the winter holiday season. I thought about that for a bit, and decided to change the situation. Initially, I planned to write some original tunes. Upon reconsideration, however, I figured that–since we’re all going to be bombarded with these melodies for months, anyway–a better idea would be to simply borrow them for our own purposes. After all, most are lovely. So now, when I hear them, I just think of the new lyrics. Voila! Suddenly the songs are far more meaningful, fulfilling and enjoyable.”

What are not found on the CD are his arrangements for those songs written after 1923, which are still protected by copyright. Thus, the listener won’t hear “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Solstice,” “Let Us Grow, Let Us Grow, Let Us Grow,” “Little Bummer Boy,” “Have Yourself a Very Merry Solstice,” or “Tonight Solstice” (his take on Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”). Nor will they hear his awesome “Santa, God, Tooth Fairy, Think Brown,” done la Bruce Springsteen.

“That one really hurt,” Newdow whines. “I spent a ton of time on it, and it sounded great! But–like all the other copyright holders–those who own the rights to ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ wouldn’t give me permission to alter the words.”

“I don’t know why not,” he continued, looking puzzled and perplexed. “It was done with exquisitely good taste.”

Actually, listeners will get to hear a part of that song, as well as parts of the others. Never-say-die Newdow used the rejections to create a new work, “Copyright Wrong.” Under the “fair use” doctrine, he includes snippets of his versions of the protected songs as he sings about the matter. Explaining further, he says:

“Here are all these people, making oodles of ‘In God We Trust’ dollars as a result of songs they wrote in the spirit of benevolence and charity, to celebrate the glory of the Christian Savior, and they refuse to show any compassion whatsoever to a (admittedly dashing) little guy. Well, they can just go Scrooge themselves!”

Freedom From Religion Foundation