Ahhh, Christmas! That magical time of year when we share love, presents, and our special musical tastes – both good and bad. Like those mounted singing bass sold down at Wal-Mart, seasonal music is an acquired, personal taste that says more about the listener than the actual music.
So, always nosy, Gary Pig Gold, alongside veteran r-n-r reporter Ken Burke, decided to ask their many music-minded acquaintances the following questions:
1) Which seasonal / Christmas recording do you never tire of hearing? What’s special about it?
2) Which seasonal / Christmas recording irritates you?
Guess what they said?
Steve Lester of Wix Records
1) That’s easy. “Santa Claus is Back in Town” by Elvis Presley. Seasonal or not, that sucker rocks! Who needs flying reindeer when you can have a “big black Cadillac”! I also have to give der Bingle’s “Melekalikimaka” an honorable mention. It has such a hypnotic, ethereal quality. I once listened to it twelve consecutive times with no intention of stopping there until family members intervened.
2) I normally don’t like to answer negatively slanted questions like this. But in this case I’ll make an exception: That Elmo and Patsy thing was criminal!!!
Mack Stevens, Rollin’ Rock recording artist
1) Fuzzy thoughts…animal thoughts…my fave Christmas song is “Jingle Bells,” by those barking dogs. I don’t ‘member their names.
2) The most IRRITATING song about the Yule season is “We Three Kings” by anydamnbody. They didn’t mention me OR that Elvis guy.
Greg Loescher, Goldmine magazine
1) “White Christmas,” for sure. Having snow on Christmas is just the best and this song just says it all. Plus this particular song was around before I was born and conjures up simpler times (or at least what seems like simpler times). I also had the pleasure of hearing the Drifters’ Bill Pinkney’s version, which is better than Bing Crosby’s, live at The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame’s induction concert back in 1998. He walked through the crowd singing it a capella. Not a creature was stirring. Incredible.
2) Any of the Chipmunks songs. No explanation needed, is there?!
Morley Bartnoff as Cosmo Topper
1) It’s a tie between “Punk Rock Christmas” by Venus and The Razorblades and “Christmas Rapture” by Blondie.
2) Hey! It’s Christmas! No time to be irritated. Let’s watch The Charlie Brown Christmas Special one more time instead.
Dick Dale, King Of The Surf Guitar
1) “…chestnuts roasting on a Christmas fire….”
Irwin Chusid, most recently author of “Songs In The Key Of Z”
2) All of them. I am Scrooge Number One when it comes to Xmas music. I hate it, hate it, hate it – and despise it most for its unavoidability. For years friends and listeners have been mailing me clever cassettes and CDRs of Xmas novelties …which I abhor even MORE! Nothing goes into the nearest trashbin faster. Any candidate who promises to impose a permanent moratorium on Xmas music gets my campaign dollars. Have I made this clear?
Kevin Mathews, Touched by the Power of Pop
1) “Little Saint Nick.” It’s the Beach Boys, dammit!
2) Anything done by a boyband/jailbait diva, etc etc.
Lane Steinberg, currently leading Cracked Latin
1) I really like “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. It’s not sappy like 99% of Christmas songs. It has a great perspective and a cool production. I also like “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme (though it’s totally played out), because it has the most sophisticated chord changes of the holiday season.
2) For some reason, “Jingle Bell Rock” always makes me think of child molestation in a small town.
Mike McKay, of the Ohio University power pop combo Aaron Skye
1) An obvious choice: “Jesus Christ” by Big Star, for all the reasons I love Big Star in the first place: chiming guitars, harmonies, and a certain knowing innocence. A not-so-obvious choice? “Winter Song” by Lindisfarne: a very affecting solo piece by their singer, the late Alan Hull. He doesn’t get around to Christmas until the final verse, but he does. Thoughtful lyrics, tasteful backing; people I’ve played this for have invariably said, “Boy, that’s really good.”
2) “Felice Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. I can’t say why; Jose is certainly a talented guy
…but it just makes me cringe every time it comes on the radio.
Mr. Mike, of Orange County, California’s one and only SparkleJets U.K.
1) The first Johnny Mathis Christmas album. The one where he’s got the skis in one hand and the ski poles in the other. It just wouldn’t be Christmas to me without it. It’s one of many we’d play in our house when I was a kid and was always our family favorite. Still is. A perfect mix of joy, beauty, wonderment, a really nice string section, and a nice echo chamber. A few runners up would be the one by The Lettermen, and of course the amazing one by The Beach Boys, that had I knew it as a child would probably be my Number One. Let’s also not forget Martin Newell’s “Christmas in Suburbia” which although it’s not traditional (or even positive) is very, very evocative. Plus, Mr. Newell LOOKS like Christmas. Harry Belafonte made some great records too.
2) Anything with ROCK ‘N’ ROLL on it, especially that Jimmy Iovine “Very Special Christmas” crap. YUCK! Christmas should always remind you of how great it was to be a kid, so I like to surround myself with nostalgic warm fuzzy things at Christmas time. Isn’t that why we all do it? Those old records are the soundtrack of those times, and I think they nail the feeling of it. The 50’s, in my opinion, WERE Christmas: cookies and parties and lights around the house. We don’t get snow in California so we have to drum up the spirit with choice tuneage. The more traditional the better at my house. I love those old background singers too. Wow.
Lord Litter, singer / songwriter / international DJ
1) VERY easy to answer: It’s “Bluegrass Christmas” by Haywire (Gene Parsons on guitar, banjo). The only Christmas recording ever really TALKING to me. Didn’t even like Roy Wood’s Christmas tunes or Slade’s monster smash “Merry Christmas Everybody.” “Bluegrass Christmas” definitely captures best the real spirit of “nature, peace, a silent night.” This is pure, this is real, PEACE. Can’t praise this enough !!!
2) All others. None of them recaptures the SPIRIT.
Robert Pally, Swiss freelance journalist
1) “Silent Night” is my favorite Christmas recording. It reminds me on how beautiful Christmas was when I was young. And it gets me in the right mood for it. I am a hopeless romantic.
2) It’s not a special song; it’s more the fact that certain artists bring out every year a Christmas album only to make a few bucks. I still believe in the true meaning of Christmas, which doesn’t have anything to do with making money.
Chris Chinchilla, former Mike Love of the only (authorized) Canadian Beach Boy clone combo Endless Summer (est. 1985)
1) “What Child Is This,” set to the ancient “Greensleeves,” when sung softly and tenderly, in a slow waltz, maybe played on a harpsichord, maybe a bit of flute, with a bit of Rubato, building in volume in the second half of the verse. Never leaves a dry eye in the house
…including yours truly. (Try singing it to your gals, guys, and your “X”mas will be very merry I predict.)
2) “Here Comes Santa Claus.” I personally get a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I hear this song. To me the melody and overly chirpy bounciness of this song is especially aggravating during the busy Christmas season. It’s like one of those PR type people, who say “GREAT!” no matter what you ask them. Also, mixing God and Santa in the same rhyming couplet is a bit too much for this existentialist. “Let’s give thanks to the Lord our God, ‘cuz Santa Clause comes tonight” (ugh)
George Makovic of Rock Beat International magazine
1) Secular: “I’ll be home for Christmas”
Spiritual: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Or maybe that one that goes, “bring a torch for Queen Isabella, bring a torch move swiftly along…”
Mike McDowell, editor/publisher of Blitz Magazine
1) I never get tired of Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock.” Although not really reflective of the true spirit of Christmas, it’s got that timeless almighty hook like two other records that broke around the same time: Danny And The Juniors’ “At The Hop” and the Silhouettes’ “Get A Job.” Records like those three hold up remarkably well under repeat plays.
2) On the other hand, overkill has taken all of the joy out of Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.” Lately, I’ve found the recent classic “Mary, Did You Know” (done by such diverse types as Kenny Rogers, Donny Osmond and Barry McGuire) to be much more in line with what Christmas is really all about.
Bill Lloyd, formerly of Foster & Lloyd and currently SO much more
1) Fave Christmas song would have to be “The Christmas Song” written by Mel Torme. Even though Alex Chilton did a nice rendition, Nat King Cole’s version is flawless.
2) “The Twelve Days of Christmas” comes to mind as being one of the most irritating holiday classics. It reminds me of “100 Bottles of Beer On the Wall.”
“Big” Bruce Mowat, father of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada rock journalism
1) The Big Star version of “Jesus Christ.” Shimmers without a trace of guile …unlike the Bach’s Bottom version.
2) Anything jazz-ish by Perry Como: reminders of why rock ‘n’ roll was necessary in the ’50s.
Elizabeth Walsh, bassist and cruise director for Una Pong
1) “Blue Christmas,” as sung by Elvis Presley. Oh wow – the song is terrific, the performance is great, the arrangement is just goopy enough without going over board. Second place goes to that Chipmunk Christmas song, mainly because it’s the only Christmas carol with the word “hula hoop” in it. I had the single when I was five, and used to play it over and over and over and over; I think my parents burned it.
2) Those dogs singing “Jingle Bells.” Cute for the first ten seconds – fiendishly irritating thereafter. I think they’re the ones who told David Berkowitz to go out and kill people.
Betsy Palmer, ever-devoted promo vixen
1) It’s a tie: Johnny Mathis and Elvis …reminds me of Mom.
2) “Sing Along With Mitch Miller” …reminds me of Mom.
Chris Martin, CKUA Radio Network
1) “Adeste Fidelis” (aka “Oh Come All Ye Faithful)”. I like any of the carols that stem from classical music.
2) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa” is tied with “Jingle Bell Rock.” Pretty much anything relating to Santa bugs the heck out of me.
Marc Bristol, editor, Blue Suede News magazine
1) “Please Come Home For Christmas” or “Merry Christmas Baby” by Charles Brown, and others who’ve recorded them. Excellent songs; non-traditional and non-religious.
2) “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Bad singing. Clever, but not very clever lyrics. I saw an item on TV news several years ago about a four year old (about) who had this for his favorite song. Then one afternoon a young deer came charging out of the woods near his house and pummeled him with it’s hooves in his driveway. He changed his mind about the song, too. I think the deer (and Elmo, too) just wanted to play. This happened in Kent, Washington, I think.
Dorothy Knopper, mother of Steve Knopper, renowned music freelancer [also a fine editor in her own right – KB]
1) Anything by Gordon MacRae, but the only one I know of that he recorded is “Here’s to a Wonderful Christmas.” It’s special because I was in love with him through my teen years. If you want a second choice it’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” but don’t know who recorded it. It’s special because it’s funny, and I’m a Grandma.
2) Alvin and the Chipmunks: I like to listen to the words and their voices are irritating and hard to understand.
Dale Hawkins, oh “Suzie Q” !!
1) “White Christmas.” What’s special about it? Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, with Clyde doing the high vocals (“…I Y I Y Y Y Y Y’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”)
2) I really can’t think of any! Why? IT’S CHRISTMAS!
James Richard Oliver of Illbilly Records
1) Elvis doing “Blue Christmas.” My mom used to put that record on every Christmas. It wasn’t officially Christmas ‘til we heard it. My sister and I would do our little mock-Elvis lip quivering, but we loved it just as much as she did. I think about her whenever I hear it.
2) I’d have to say that’s a ties between those damn dogs barking “Jingle Bells” and that godforsaken “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” I’m not sure exactly who’s responsible for either one, but they should be punished. They should have to work in a mall the two weeks before Christmas while constantly listening to each other’s song.
Jeff Wall of the Rural Route Twangzine
1) Dwight Yoakam covering Elvis’ “It’s Christmas Time Pretty Baby.” It’s a cool song anytime of the year.
2) All of them. I don’t like Christmas, not since that elf got me drunk on the spiked eggnog and stuffed my stocking with care. He never writes, he never calls. Merry Christmas? Bah Humbug.
David Wheatley, the artist currently known as Daza
1) Jimi Hendrix, “Silent Night.” His version pulls out the pain of entire year leading up to Christmas before you get to the silent night. Kind of like life, with one moment of peace to look forward to. I dig the pain; lets it out.
2) Any song pretending that there is anything “nice” and “sweet” about Jesus. I hate cute, and cute worship propaganda is irritating.
Steven Rappaport, genius behind the 1963 Top Twenty smash “The Martian Hop” by the legendary RanDells!
1) “Jingle Bell Rock,” the Bobby Helms version. Great song, great vocalist for the song, very happy. The bridge works terrifically – I like the change from major (What a bright time) to minor (It’s the right time) and back to major (To rock the night away). Next time around it goes to a 7th (Is a swell time). It’s harmonically great. But it’s the happy sound that really makes the song for me. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee. Anything Little Miss Dynamite sang was OK with me. Killer voice. But I also liked what I think are steel guitar riffs. “White Christmas,” Darlene Love. Phil Spector production, totally original arrangement, great voice. Best second version of the song: The Drifters.
2) Worst Christmas record: by far, The Royal Guardsmens’ “Snoopy’s Christmas.” Also, I hate to say it, but Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Paper” is yucky, as is Vic Dana’s “Little Alter Boy.” Gag me with a reindeer.
Gene Sculatti of Billboard magazine
1) I guess anything off Bobby Darin’s 25th Day Of December album (“Child Of God” was the single) or the Four Seasons’ version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” are the ones I never tire of hearing …but then I’m the only one who plays ’em, so I guess it makes sense. Their specialness, I suppose, is that they both come from back in my day and that, in the long lost way only early-60s pop can, they each “rock.”
2) Can’t really think of which seasonal song tires me (it’s not that I love ’em all; rather, nothing really riles).
Jonathan Strong of Ripsaw Records
1) “Run, Run Rudolph.” Because I love Chuck Berry’s music and lyrics.
2) “Christmas Time Is Coming.” I don’t know. It just grates on me.
Alan Clayson, chansonnier, pop historian and erstwhile leader of Clayson and the Argonauts
1) “The Moonlight Skater” by Alan Clayson. Because a recent remake (with a new arrangement and a specially composed bridge section) would satisfy every qualification of a Christmas Number One if issued in time for the December sell-in when the usual chart rules don’t apply, and you can get away with the ravages of middle age. Over the past ten years, it’s been covered by Dave Berry, Jane Relf, and Stairway.
2) “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John and Yoko, because, regardless of the time of year and its worthy sentiment, I hate it for the same intangible reasons as I hate “I Got You Babe” (Sonny and Cher) and “March Of The Mods” (Joe Loss). The fault for this is probably mine entirely.
Marti Brom, Goofin’ Records rockabilly queen
1) Well you asked about a subject I just love. I’ve sort of a thing for old Christmas records. I’ve got everything from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Brenda Lee, Gene Autry, Patti Page, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elvis, Charo, and the list goes on. I also have a stack of compilation LPs. I usually start playing them in June, but that kinda confused my four year old. I guess, though, my all time favorite would have to be Bing Crosby singing Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” But mostly I miss those Bing Crosby Christmas Specials. The year that Bing Crosby dueted on “Little Drummer Boy” was especially neat, because it was the first time my Dad acknowledged that David Bowie had talent.
2) The Chipmunks singing Christmas songs, or any songs for that matter, I’d say irritates me the most. I hate it when rodents try to sing!
Brandy Reed of RPM Media
1) “Silent Night” and Don Henley’s version of “Come Home For Christmas.”
2) None of them irritate me, but Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” kinda of gets on my nerves after a while.
Beverly Paterson of Twist And Shake magazine
1) I never tire of hearing “Snoopy’s Christmas” by The Royal Guardsmen. It brings back good memories of when I was younger than yesterday and besides, it IS The Royal Guardsmen. That alone qualifies for a classic of any stripe!
2) “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” irritates the egg nog out of me. It isn’t even funny. An insult to our kindly grandmothers and those groovy reindeers that make things happen!
Alan Abramowitz, on-air host forever of the syndicated cable music series “Video Wave”
1) That Ronettes song, “Sleighbells ring….”
2) Just about EVERTHING else.
Johnny Dowd, the LAST great (remaining) all-American singer/songwriter
1) “Little Drummer Boy.” Great drumming.
2) “Jingle Bell Rock.” I don’t think you should mix rock ‘n’ roll and Christmas.
meet Ed James, power pop musician
1) “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch!” by the Whirling Dervishes. It’s so dang cool, and it rocks. I wish I would have covered it. I could listen to it year-round. Metallica only wishes they were this cool.
2) Anything sung by Kathie Lee Gifford. Do you really have to ask?
John Sinclair, managing editor, Blues Access magazine
1) Man, what a question! You might not know that I’m a R&B Christmas record fanatic. I play six to nine hours’ worth of Christmas songs every year during the month of December on my Blues And Roots show, and another six hours or so of Crescent City Christmas carols on my New Orleans Music Show. So it’s not fair to ask for ONE record! I’d have to select TWO versions of “White Christmas”: Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters’, of course, and the live version by Charlie Parker recorded at the Royal Roost on Christmas Eve 1948. These are special because they sound so fucking good! And they represent the apotheosis of African-American vernacular irony: “White Christmas,” indeed!
2) I can’t think of an irritating record because, well, I’m just too old to listen to music that irritates me …and here in New Orleans, I simply don’t have to. Happy Holidays!
Jon Sievert, publisher / author / photographer
1) “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms. A great memory from my youth that never ceases to evoke the original spirit. “Santa Claus & His Old Lady” by Cheech and Chong. Tremendously funny yet still manages to deliver the message of Christmas. Light of the Stable by Emmylou Harris. Largely acoustic string instrument accompaniment to classics by greats such as Albert Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Bryan Bowers, Rodney Crowell, Brian Ahern, and Emery Gordy. They sure screwed up the mix on the CD version though. “The Nutcracker Suite” by the Modern Mandolin Quartet. A brilliant adaptation of a piece meant for orchestra. Nothing is missing. Christmas Classics for Guitar by Stevan Pasero. Wonderful classical guitar arrangements of traditional Christmas music. I’ve heard many other more famous classical guitarists, including Charlie Byrd and Liona Boyd, attempt this but Pasero’s stand above the rest.
2) The Christmas song I would not like to hear again: “The Little Drummer Boy,” a monotonous, monochromatic dirge with no noticeable redeeming value.
Mark Snyder, CEO, PMPNetwork.com
1) I’ll always enjoy John Lennon’s “And So This is Christmas,” Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” the Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas, Darling,” Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Song,” The Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick.” All are great tunes that I can listen to all year round. None are religious enough to ruffle my tender feathers.
2) None. Music cannot irritate me, unless it is by Michael Bolton or Barry Manilow. I save my stress for PMPNetwork.com!
Jason Frederick, Los Angeles-based (but Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-raised!) arranger / orchestrator / producer
1) I’ve always been fond of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” I love the bittersweet; always have. That’s the one that, for me, takes the big left turn into the Twilight Zone of bittersweet that no other popular Christmas songs do. Sure, you can be dreaming of a White Christmas like the ones you used to know. That’s fine. Or anticipating Christmas day while soaking up the positive energy of the city as you hear the Silver Bells. Great. But saying that you’ll be home for Christmas, planning for all the fantastic warmth of the holiday season and all that you miss so much with complete certainty that it’s going to be a reality, and THEN, admitting to yourself that “only in my dreams” will it probably happen. That gets me every time. Such strength in remaining positive when it’s just so clear that it most certainly won’t. No matter how often I hear that song, it still gets me right here, that sense that even through the sweetness, all is pretty much lost. Much like “The Green Green Grass of Home,” it’s got drama, suspense, a little romance, tragedy, and a surprise ending. It’s an epic Christmas song.
2) As for ones I can’t stand, I heard a lot of the “Millennium Mix” of Kenny G performing “Auld Lang Syne” last year. I can’t say it’s bad, because I’m sure it accomplishes exactly what Mr. g wanted it to, but it sure was irritating.
Jeffrey Thames (King of Grief), host/producer of “Sound Awake” on KPFT-FM Houston
1) Without contest, “Jingle Bells” as parlayed by The Singing Dogs. I’ve always been a dog lover (that’s not to say I don’t love my three cats), and hearing a bunch of purty puppies bark a holiday classic never fails to make me smile. When I first got it on CD in 1990 (bless you, Dr. D), I played it for my Doberman, Sam (may he rest in peace), and he just stared at the speaker for the full time it was on. Nothing like music to help you bond with your savage beast. Plus, legend has it that they were signed to RCA after Nipper heard them harmonizing around a fire hydrant. Ah, folklore.
2) Ask me again about a week before Christmas after I’ve been properly inundated…
Iñaki Orbezua , editor, Otoño Cheyenne magazine
1) Basically, there are two Christmas recordings that I never tire of hearing, year after year, and those are Spector’s Christmas album (an obvious one I know, but I just love this one record so much …and because it’s like the first concept album in the Pop era, and I kinda like concept albums) and the second one is by a Spanish singer by the name of Raphael: his classic Four Christmas Songs EP (an excellent version of “The Little Drummer Boy” in Spanish) from the mid-60’s will never be absent from my turntable on Christmas time. This guy is still singing today, he must be around 55-50 years old, and is now singing on the Jekyll and Mr. Hyde musical here in Spain. He’s awesome!!!
2) I could name quite a few Spanish artists that make horrible Christmas music, but then again when I think of people like Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey doing those IRRITATING Christmas albums… then I wish it was summer again!
Toby Ward, ex-drummist / full-time music junkie
1) My favorite Christmas record is “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris. There’s just something about a good drum solo that I consider to be holy.
2) The Christmas record that irritates me the most is “Who Let The Dogs Out” by the Baja Men. It’s being played everywhere right now, so I assume it’s a Christmas song, and it’s just too religious for my tastes.
Tony Wilkinson of American Music magazine
1) The Phil Spector Christmas album, which is just the wonderful masterpiece of how to capture the feel good spirit of Christmas, ’Twas The Night Before Christmas by Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns, which is sheer rockin’ fun to listen to, and Christmas With Tammy Wynette, in which Tammy pours her heart and soul and the quality/feeling with which she sings the songs is simply awe inspiring. Lastly, it has to be Christmas with Elvis: his voice and emotive singing were never in grater shape. From this comes my all time favorite Christmas track, “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.” This track is full of absolute raunch and grind, and the lavish expression in the curl and sneer of his singing leaves one in no doubt what this Santa is coming down your chimney after. Pure excitement.
2) As to the most duff Christmas track, there are several and one of the paramount selections has to be “The Chipmunk Song” by Canned Heat and The Chipmunks: just a sheer travesty and pure waste. However, my choice as the worse all-time Christmas recording has to be “A Not So Merry Christmas” by Bobby Vee. Apart from bearing a remarkable similarity to “Run To Him,” the sheer wimpness of the cut is breathtaking. It is bury-your-head-under-the-pillow time and blot-out-the-world time, if one has the misfortune to be in audible range when this played. Excruciating, to put it mildly.
Shane Faubert of The Next Big Thing
1) There seems to have been a Christmas song by Kenny Laguna that I heard once, really liked and never heard again (was it a dream?) but we won’t count that. “Little Drummer Boy” by Joan Jett is my favorite of the songs I actually hear on commercial radio, but the Christmas song I love the most is (of course?) “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard. It has a great melody, but what I really LOVE about it is the fact that it is so incredibly messy. You can’t get tired of it because you can never hear it all… lots of layers and swirls. Nutty and perfect.
2) The David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” is pretty bothersome. Reminded us that David Bowie really WAS Anthony Newley’s successor after all.
Rockin’ Ronny Weiser of Rollin’ Rock Records
1) “Santa Claus Is Back In Town,” “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me,” “Blue Christmas”: all three by ELVIS. Also, I would like to hear more Hannukah songs!!
2) Many of the others, especially the archaic European sounding stuff. It’s annoying to hear it over and over. I’m an American and I generally prefer American music!
Tammy Ferranti of Tammy and the Lords of Misrule
1) Hmmm… “What Child is This?” because the melody comes from the traditional “Greensleeves,” one of my favorite tunes in 3/4 waltz time. It is also fun tune to try and play in 4/4 by the way! Try it.
2) “I’m Gettin’ Nuthin’ for Christmas,” because when I was a child my parents would sing this song whenever I misbehaved – especially when Christmastime was approaching. “I’m gettin’ nuthin’ for Christmas. Mommy and Daddy are mad. I’m gettin’ nuthin’ for Christmas. ‘Cause I aint been nuthin’ but bad.” (God, who did this song anyway? It wasn’t Soupy Sales was it??? And what about that other awful song? “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”)
Marty Wombacher, editor, Fishwrap magazine
1) “Helter Skelter.” That song always makes me think of Christmas …and also of chopped up impregnated actresses.
2) “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.” Hello? Christmas is only one day long. Like, DUH!!
Bob Brainen, WFMU-FM DJ
1) Fave: “Christmastime Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi (from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?) NRBQ do this song live with a wordless vocal, “duh-duh-duh….”: just lovely.
2) Least fave: MOST Christmas songs.
Johnny J. Blair, bassist for none other than Monkee Davy
I don’t get irritated at any Christmas songs because they have an expiration date.
BTW, I think the first artist to do a punk version of “Jingle Bells” is (in a departure from imbedded folkieness) Noel Paul Stookey in 1972 or 3.
I love the Yogi Yorgesson Christmas parodies. Stan Freberg did some too.
I may be the only person who has ever noticed that the song “Winter Wonderland” has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas per se. It’s just as relevant in February, as is “Jingle Bells.”
Lach, Father of the NYC anti-folk scene, and current proprietor of Fortified Records as well
1) “Blue Christmas” is the first to come to mind. Elvis still had a little bit of the other-wordly unknown radio sound. It’s embracing and lonesome at the same time. I also like the Joni Mitchell “Comin’ On Christmas” from the Blue album. Hell, I just like sad Christmas songs.
2) Maybe Bruce’s. It was fun the first year but now it’s got a ton of Corporation radio fucking it up the ass.
Mark Johnson, whose 1992 “12 in a room” album all but kick-started the entire Pop music renaissance
1) “The Chipmunk Song.” Why? Because “we can hardly stand the wait” always sounded like “we’ve been hoggish and ‘go wayne’ (my best friend’s name at the time was Wayne) …that’s all that mistaken rock lyric stuff I’m into. But REALLY, FOLKS…what a record! Really: it was Number One, original, and a great melody. I don’t hear it enough at Christmas time! The B-side was a song called “Almost Good,” or that may have been the B-side to Alvin’s orchestra. Let’s hear it for David Seville. HE WAS IN REAR WINDOW!!! Played a frustrated songwriter!
2) I tire most of modern attempts to put over Christmas music by people who just think it’s good to do for their careers and do bad things the rest of the year. You can always tell who they might be.
Linda Gail Lewis, Jerry Lee’s sister and Van Morrison’s sometime singing partner
1) I think it’s Nat King Cole’s “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.” There’s just something about that song; his voice is so beautiful and the song is so beautiful. It reminds me of being at home on Christmas and being with my parents; they’re deceased now. It reminds me of that time in my life when me and my brother, my sister, and my parents were all together.
2) I’m such a big Christmas person and I love Christmas music so much, I don’t even know if there’s one that exists like that. I get so in to all that. I was talking to Van about it the other night and he was saying how he dreads this time of year and I’m saying, “Oh, it’s the greatest thing in the world! We can watch Scrooge and Miracle On 34th Street. I love all that stuff so much. The biggest speeding ticket I ever got came when I was driving my kids back from somewhere one night and we were singing Christmas carols. I was making like 90 miles an hour, I kept going faster and faster because the carols were getting faster and faster. I talked that highway patrolman into giving me a ticket that said I was making 75 or something, or else they would’ve taken my insurance away. I said, “I was singing Christmas carols, please don’t do this to me.” The Singing Cats are the only thing. My husband’s niece has that damned recording and I don’t like her anyway – and you can quote me on that. Some times we have to get together with her because it’s one of those things you have to do, and that bitch will put that damned thing on. It’s horrible: “Meow meow meow, meow meow meow, meow meow meow…” It’s really bad.
J.R. Taylor, writer for the esteemed New York Press and Playboy.com
1) With the citizens of Whoville about to be made villains in a big-screen travesty, it seems more important than ever to celebrate “Welcome Christmas” from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The Waitress’ “Christmas Wrapping” is also way overdue to be animated as a Christmas special. But my personal favorite Christmas moment remains “Merry Christmas, Neighbor” by the cast of Bonanza. This song truly captures the warmth of the holiday. The Cartwrights always had a real sense of neighborly love …even though their ranch took up most of the county.
2) As for the worst, it’s easily The Pogues doing “Fairytale of New York” (“featuring Kristy MacColl,” of course, as a million pop geeks immediately proclaim). What a lame and safe excuse for Christmas sentimentality. Naturally, college radio continues to embrace the song as a hipster holiday classic.
Gary Pig Gold of The Rock and Roll Report
just has to say
Merry Pigmas, everybody !!
and See you back here