A Bakers Dozen of the Best Christmas Songs
There are two things that you can guarantee at this time of year:-
1) We will be bombarded with Christmas Music and
B) We will be bombarded with “Best of” lists
So why should we be any different?
Well we are going to be a little different in some ways. First of all we are going to admit that all of these lists are arbitrary. I may think that these are the best Christmas songs, but I certainly do not think they will be the same for everyone. Even if it is a voted on list at a radio station, that still does not make the decision final. Music is all about personal taste, so no Best of List is definitive. But you can enjoy the Christmas songs here and add your comments below, whether you agree or disagree, even add some of your own favourites too. We will welcome your thoughts and opinions.
Secondly most of these lists are a top 10 top, top 20, or even a top 100, well that’s usually what the radio stations go for, in order to fill plenty of air time. But we have gone for a Bakers Dozen, 13 for the uninitiated. I hope that we have no Triskaidekaphobics on board. For the uninformed that is the fear of that superstitious number. Yes, that is a real thing; some people are scared of the number 13. If that’s you, choose your order carefully as we have saved one of the best for last.
And finally our list is in no particular order, except maybe the order in which I thought of them, maybe that means something. So make sure that you go right through until the end, as one of the best is there. Enjoy!
1) I had to start with one of the most raucous and fun Christmas songs, the mighty Slade and Merry Xmas Everybody from the 1970’s.
When Noddy Holder screams “IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAASSS” no one can deny it.
Does your Granny always tell you that the old songs are the best? But she’s up there Rock and Rolling with the rest.
Well this one is now an old song and a Rock and Roller, so it should please everyone.
Slade were the first band I ever saw live and still one of the most fun. So get your boots on, get down and get with it.
2) Bruce Springsteen – Santa Clause is Coming to Town. The Boss and the Big Man in a festive mood. They have been doing this song live since Bruce formed the E Street Band, I believe. It will be a little different now that the Big Man has gone, so we should hold onto this memory of the mighty, mighty Clarence Clemons, saxophone player extraordinaire.
3) Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire). This is an old chestnut that everyone from Frank Sinatra to Rod Stewart has covered, but I think the King has the edge on this one. Not a great film quality but a great voice.
4) All I want for Xmas is You from Love Actually. OK it’s Mariah’s song, but that little girl nailed it in the film and who can go past a bit of pre-teen romance at Christmas.
Rumours were that Olivia Olson was so good that she had to dampen down her performance to make it believable that someone so young could sing like that.
That could all be publicity promotion, but there is no doubt that it’s a great performance.
Here’s a nice little ‘where is she now’ article, if anyone is interested All ‘Love Actually’ scene-stealer Olivia Olson wants for graduation is a record deal
5) Wham – Last Xmas. Now for some 80’s Christmas romance, from a gay man pretending to be straight and he convinced millions for years and they all bought his records. Of course George Michael would never have made it without Andrew Ridgeley’s contribution, now what did he do now?
6) Chris Rea – Driving Home for Xmas. I included this one because it reminds me of many of my Christmases in the UK. Although I always lived very close to where I was born and grew up, for many years I worked miles away and often found myself driving along the motorways on Christmas Eve with this on the Radio.
7) John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over). No Christmas song list would be complete without John Lennon’s plea for peace and it’s still as relevant today as when it was recorded, if not even more so.
8) The Waitresses – Xmas Wrapping. This as a different kind of Christmas song and a lot of fun. It was released in the very early days of Rap music and bares no relation to the abuse and violence in the lyrics of much of today’s Rap. I could not find a good video clip for this but the sound is good on this, so you can sit back and listen.
9) Elvis Presley – Blue Xmas. If you’ve got to have a Beatle then you must have the King. The recorded version of this, that I know, does not have the girl singer, but this is a good version and great period piece film clip.
10) Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Xmas. This is in fact an anti-Christmas song. Greg Lake (most famously a member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer) wrote the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas. But, with all the jingle bells and so on, most people listen to it without even noticing what the lyrics are about.
11) The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York. A Christmas song from the wrong side of the tracks. No Christmas trees and presents here, just a look at the earthier side of life and an absolute classic song. So sad that Kirsty was taken so young.
12) Tom Waits – Christmas Card from Hooker in Minneapolis. Another one from the murky side. This really isn’t even a Christmas song, except it has the word in the title. But it is a great song from one of my favourite Tom Waits albums. If you are not familiar with it, do yourself a favour and grab a copy of Blue Valentine right away you will not be disappointed.
13) Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). This is just a great Christmas song and Darlene Love is the voice on so much of Phil Spector’s work. Darlene performs this song every year on the Letterman Show. Dave Letterman and Paul Schaffer love her and Schaffer just gets so much enjoyment out of recreating that Spector Wall of Sound. Look out for this year’s version on TV in a couple of weeks.
So what do you think? Any good?
By all means add your favourites in the comments and have a great Christmas.
By Max Power