Christmas time is here. I’ll always be a Halloween kind of guy but that doesn’t mean I am a Scrooge. Christmas time is great too. It makes me think of staying inside, warm and comfortable as some Jazz record spins. Christmas has inspired some really great tunes over the course of music history. I’d like to talk about 10 of my favorites.
10. Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire- Nat King Cole
This is a classic Christmas song. It’s gentle, like a snowfall and it makes me warm all over. Nat King Cole was a great singer and he is what I think of when I think of Oldies Christmas Music.
9. Blue Christmas- Elvis Presley
I’m not even really a fan of Elvis Presley but what he does with this song is magical. I’m more a fan of the “sad Christmas songs” than the cheerful ones and this is one of the best.
8. Christmas At The Zoo- The Flaming Lips
A more offbeat Christmas song but a Christmas song all the same. It’s December 24th and Wayne Coyne and friends are at the zoo, setting free the animals. It’s a very Flaming Lips Christmas indeed.
7. Christmas- The Who
I count this as a Christmas song. It details the holiday even if it does have some aspects of the Tommy plot line in it. It talks of the excitement you get when you round that corner and there lies the Christmas tree, gifts nestled safely under it’s branches. Man could Roger Daltrey sing.
6. Silent Night- Simon & Garfunkel
This is a really neat track that ends Simon and Garfunkel’s great album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.
Art Garfunkel sings the song and he sounds like an angel. This is overlaid with a nightly news report. This was 1966 and tensions were beginning to rise. The reports of Vietnam, murders, and the death of Lenny Bruce really offset the song perfectly. A haunting piece.
5. Merry Christmas(I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)- The Ramones
The Ramones are one of my favorite bands and have been since the fifth grade. So it was cool to hear them do a Christmas song. The main message of this song is “We can fight any other day we want, but this is Christmas. Let’s just both shut up and have some peace.” It’s a really catchy tune and one of my favorites.
4. Here Comes Santa Claus- Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans
This track comes from an album Phil Spector put together in the early 60′s of some of the artists he produced singing Christmas songs. This is the only rendition I like of the song. The vocal harmonies are great and the horn break rules. If more Christmas standards were done like this, my tastes wouldn’t be so unusual. Probably.
3. Linus and Lucy AND Skating- The Vince Guaraldi Trio
I’m a sucker for some good piano and few albums have more than the Charlie Brown soundtracks. These two tracks are from the immortal Charlie Brown Christmas and if any instrumentals better represent the season, I’ve yet to hear them.
2. Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis- Tom Waits
Now don’t judge the song by the title, this is a sad, gentle piano ballad. Tom Waits might have a abrasive voice, but you’d have to have a heart made of steel not to feel something when you hear this song. You can hear the snow softly falling, tears too. This is the type of Christmas song that appeals to me. So my favorite Christmas song might not be much of a surprise.
AND MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG IS…………
1. Christmas(Baby Please Come Home)- Darlene Love
Yes, this is my favorite Christmas song. It’s got such a catchy melody and a flawless vocal performance from Ms. Love. The lyrics are bluer than hypothermia and I just love it. I can listen to it at any time and it’ll still be just as good but Christmas really enhances the atmosphere of it.
So those are my favorite Christmas songs. I know I didn’t have very many traditional Christmas songs but if you haven’t heard some of these, I’d say give them a listen at some point in December. They really are great.