One of the most infamous and notorious Phil Spector-produced singles inspired the title of a majestic and beautiful single, my Christmas Song of the Day for December 5.
In 1962, the Crystals were on a streak of two consecutive Top 20 singles on Phil Spector’s then-new Philles Records label, “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)” and “Uptown.” For their third single, Spector gave them a song composed by Gerry Goffin and Carole King called “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss),” inspired by the way Little Eva (of “The Loco-Motion” fame and the couple’s babysitter) was treated by her then-boyfriend. Though Billboard magazine called it “a serious ballad with a telling message” in its July 21, 1962 review of the single, it was much too serious for radio to play. The song didn’t chart, and today, the 45 of the song is hard to find. Even today, it’s a disturbing listen.
But that ugly song title inspired something wonderful. In 2008, a Scottish group called Glasvegas released a Christmas extended-play single (in the U.S., it was promotional only) with an assortment of songs, both seasonal and otherwise. The title song was “A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss),” in which the singer feels depressed, alone and hopeless – until he feels a snowflake, and all of a sudden, he’s alive and OK after all. After he spends time musing about the minor miracle, about three minutes and 10 seconds into the song, the instrumental motif explodes, as if a significant snowfall has begun. It gets me every time I hear this song.
Other than snow, the song mentions nothing else associated with the holiday season, but it’s appeared on a couple of more inspired Christmas compilations in recent years. The message is a good one, too: Even if it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, a simple yet profound act of nature can lift that weight, even if for a little while.
Here’s Glasvegas’ 2008 Christmas song, “A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss).