The B List: Christmas Rock

4. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen: Springsteen has one of the most distinctive voices in all of rock and roll. The E Street Band does a great job with the music, and the way Bruce adds accents and screams to the lyrics makes his version unique and entertaining.

5. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid: In 1984, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure decided to do something about famine in Africa, so they put together a supergroup to record a charity record. The result is the timeless Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which stills gets tons of airplay today, and for good reason.

6. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses: The Waitresses, who were best known for their hit I Know What Boys Like, made the most of their 15 minutes of fame and released a Christmas song. Christmas Wrapping mixes the characteristic New Wave sound with quirky lyrics about the magic of the holiday. I wonder what ever happened to these ladies. Anyone got some heady info for me?

7. Step Into Christmas – Elton John: As we’ve seen with other entries on this list, when an artist hits the top of the charts it must be time to release a Christmas single. Elton John was the biggest rock superstar in the world when he released this original song in 1973. While the song is just okay, the video is hilarious.

8. Rock and Roll Christmas – George Thorogood: Yet another great Christmas song from the early ’80s: Why don’t pop stars write Christmas songs anymore? Oh, that’s right, because they’re merely a creation of the recording industry and have no discernible talent.

9. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley: If my list is any indication, depressing Christmas songs seem to be the best. This particular tale of loneliness and misery shows off The King’s crooning style perfectly.

10. It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2: Phil Spector, who also produced Merry Christmas (War Is Over), wrote this tune with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, with the original version recorded by Darlene Love. Then in 1987, U2 recorded a version at a soundcheck and added background vocals from Love. This track can be found on A Very Special Christmas, my favorite Christmas album, which also includes songs that just missed this list such as Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis, The Eurythmics’ Winter Wonderland, and Stevie Nicks singing Silent Night.

I know there are plenty more, so tell us, what’s your favorite Christmas song?

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24 Responses

  1. I think Bruce could have very easily made the list a second time with “Merry Christmas Baby”. Check out this fun version with the E Street Band on Late Night with Conan O’Brien a few years back, complete with Conan awkwardly strumming some guitar on stage and a fat guy in a sweater awkwardly dancing in the crowd. I challenge you not to tap a foot under your desk.

  2. Christmas With The Devil – Spinal Tap
    O Holy Night – As performed by Eric Cartman
    Green Christmas – As performed by the Barenaked Ladies

    Darlene Love’s version of #10 is probably my favorite Christmas track of all time, and I hate Bono…I didn’t know they did a version of this…I think I hate him more now.

    Happy Christmas John, Happy Christmas Yoko…

  3. Scotty boy, I gotta make a correction…

    The title of the John Lennon tune is
    Happy Xmas (War is Over)
    it’s that heathen secular spelling…

    if you’ve never heard the California Guitar Trio performance of said tune, I’ll try and play it for you some time next week.

    I think “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” has always been a favorite of mine. Another is Cracker’s “Merry Christmas Emily.” I dare you to listen to that one and not get it stuck in your head. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for like 4 years.

    and for shameless self-related promotion
    there was that Umphrey’s McGee Christmas Jingle they did for WXRT a few years back….
    a nice little take on their ADD applied to xmas music.

  4. Very cool, i’ve never even heard of that UM jingle thanks for sharing. And of course you are correct about the proper spelling of Xmas. I look forward to hearing the CGT version.

  5. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! If you are making a “Christmas Rock” list, how in the hell can you leave off The Kinks’ “Father Christmas!?!?


    Yeesh. Coal for you!

  6. I’ve been working on this for years! Here are some of my faves:

    Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto – James Brown
    Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night – Jimi Hendrix
    Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band
    Xmas Time is Here Again – MMJ
    Home – .moe
    Christmas Song – Dave Matthews and Tim Renyolds
    Another Lonely Xmas – Prince
    What Child is This – Jorma Kaukonen
    Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
    Christmas Card From a Hooker – Tom Waits
    Lonely Without You – Mick Jagger
    Yellin at the Christmas Tree – Billy Idol
    Your Christmas Whiskey – Minus Five
    Here It Is Christmas Time – Old 97s
    Mr. Heat MIser – Big Voodoo Daddy
    Last Christmas – Minuteman
    What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
    The Christmas Song – Alex Chilton
    Ave Maria – Chris Cornell
    Christmas Time in Brooklyn – Dan Zanes
    Merry Christmas I Love You – James Brown
    Auld Lang Syne – James Taylor
    The Saddest Day of the Year – Jill Sobule
    Christmas Means Love – Joan Osborne
    Baby It’s Cold Out – Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars
    Christmas Ain’t Christmas – Bobby Womack
    Calling on MAry – Aimee Mann
    Christmas In the City – Mary J. Blige & Angie Martinez
    When I Get Home For Christmas – Snow Patrol
    You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – MGM Orchestra

    and the catchiest of all, Christmas With the Snow – Marah

  7. Greg Lake’s, “I Believe In Father Christmas”. The requests for it have been huge in the Western Michigan area for decades on Classic Rock WLAV-FM.

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