Alan Mann from the Christmas On The Block video.
“Christmas On The Block” by Alan Mann: A Philly Christmas Classic
One of the most popular Philly Christmas songs is singer-songwriter Alan Mann’s “Christmas On The Block.” Written in 1982, Mann’s song became a staple on WMMR when it was first recorded and was the first independent video to be shown on MTV.
Several years ago, “Christmas On The Block” got a reboot by Larry Saklad, who was a member of Alan Mann’s Free Arts Band. About the original, Saklad writes on his Bandcamp:
Alan Mann was late getting home to his girlfriend, and somewhere in West Phila-Overbrook, had a vision of the wonderful lights decorating a School For The Blind, feeling both the irony and magic of how that must be for those students, that “their’s is the most beautiful Christmas On The Block”, and had the whole song written by the time he arrived.
While the song lives on, Mann sadly did not. He passed away in 1987, falling or jumping out of a window of his burning apartment building. Mann was a big part of the local music scene in the late 70s and early 80s, regularly playing venues like Starrs, the Ripley Music Hall, and JC Dobbs.
Below, watch the original video made for “Christmas On The Block,” and revisit Saklad’s cover of the song. For more Christmas music from Philly, go here.