I’m slowly easing into the holiday spirit with the help of spirits. Whiskey makes the eggnog go down easy. This year I’m working on a big ass bottle of Jack Daniels given to me a few Carnivals ago by my late friend Michael Homan. I might as well dedicate the post to him. I miss trading insults with you, unkind sir. Cheers.
This was a fairly easy dozen to compile. I expect to get brickbats over omitting that hippie dippy Lennon Christmas song. Never cared for it. I do, however, like it more than Imagine. Of course, I like most things more than Imagine.
As always, this post is arranged in chronological order and reflects my personal taste.
Seasons Greetings from a guy whose favorite fictional Christmas characters are Scrooge, Mr. Potter, and the Grinch; two of whom make appearances in this post. Sorry, Ebenezer. Maybe next year.
We begin with the King:
Most of Chuck Berry’s songs sound alike. His strength was as a lyricist. It’s on display in this track from 1958.
David Letterman had Darlene Love on his show every holiday season from 1986-2014. It was one of the longest running running jokes in tevee history. It’s a great song as well.
Little Saint Nick is Brian Wilson in Chuck Berry mode. His horrible cousin Mike Love sued his way into a songwriting credit in 1994, thirty years after this song was recorded.
Good gawd, y’all, it’s James Brown with one of the funniest Christmas songs ever. Good gawd, y’all.
Father Christmas is Ray Davies’ misanthropic take on holiday songs. It’s about some kids who mug Santa. Perhaps that why Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa character was so cranky and irascible; words that have also been used to describe Ray.
2000 Miles is dedicated to all the ice people out there.
XTC loved using band pseudonyms. They *were* the Three Wise Men. Pa rum pum pum pum.
Cyndi Lauper’s 1998 Christmas album is one of Dr. A’s faves. I like it too, especially this opening track:
Christmas On TV is an original song by Chris Isaak. It cites It’s A Wonderful Life but not my favorite character, Mr. Potter. There’s no accounting for taste.
I never felt sorry for Elves until I heard this swell BNL song. It’s hard and downright lamentable to be an Elf. Unless, that is, you’re Will Ferrell: elfdom is his jam.
The last song of our Christmas Rocks Dozen comes from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Smithereens. Who knew that Christmas in Jersey could be so festive?
Are you ready for some holiday lagniappe? One could even call the next three songs musical stocking stuffers.
Who among us doesn’t love this cover by the Boss?
Brian Setzer is the Bing Crosby of rock and roll. Brian has many tattoos and Der Bingle had none but both specialize in bringing holiday cheers to the masses.
Aimee Mann gets the Grinch in the way that only someone who used to live in Boston can. Ice people are grouchy and tetchy much like Mr. Grinch. I’d be grouchy too if Jim Carrey became more identified with my character than Boris Karloff. I’m Team Karloff.
The last word goes to the Grinch and his sidekicks.