Listen to this track by high-voiced Yes frontman, and holiday season enthusiast Jon Anderson. It’s the Christian-meets-pagan holiday favourite, and sang straight-up, “The Holly & the Ivy” as taken from Anderson’s 1985 Holiday-themed (sort of) LP Three Ships. This is a sort of stealth Christmas album, in that it also features some wintry, yet not specifically Christmas-related original songs by Anderson alongside traditional Christmas carols.
The song is clearly derived from a pagan past, with images of the titular holly and ivy having once been important elements to the religions of the late Roman empire, and also of Druidic religions that dominated the British Isles before they were Christianized. This suits Anderson’s milleu perfectly, having been an old hand at using pan-religious imagery and language in his songs, both with Yes and without.
But, what of the songs on this album? Read more