coolest christmas songs
November 27, 2001 3:53 PM   Subscribe

coolest christmas songs i'm trying to put together a really great Christmas c.d. I have some Burl Ives, the Chipmonks, David Bowie with Bing Crosby. But I know I'm missing some great tunes. Do you know of anything cool?
posted by tsarfan (121 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Crash Test Dummies singing The First Noel. I have it on a CD called "Lump of Coal", which I'd link if I could find it on Amazon. It's a great CD in general, this song in particular.
posted by donnagirl at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2001

My snarky, sarcastic answer would be "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis" by Tom Waits.

My serious answer would be to make sure you include the Carol of the Bells on your cd, although I don't know what performance is best.
posted by Hildago at 4:03 PM on November 27, 2001

I suggest Grandaddy - Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:05 PM on November 27, 2001

I have a copy of someone singing the tune of Warm Leatherette by the Normals, but with the words switched to a Christmas song. I'll dig through the rest of my MP3s. I've got more than a few that should cause a little trauma.

Oh, and somebody better find a way to make this thread redeeming so Matt doesn't axe it. A link to Grokster's front page probably isn't going to do it.
posted by Su at 4:05 PM on November 27, 2001

I'd go with Waits doing Silent Night.

And of course the Kinks' "Father Christmas".

All the Nat King Cole Xmas songs are good, and for awkward the Bowie-Bing thing was great.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:08 PM on November 27, 2001

PLEASE warn us before we go to a popup-heavy website like grokster. i'm still trying to keep the bastards away. down, boy!

that said, my favourite pop xmess song is "christmas wrapping" by the waitresses. best. tune. EVER. i also like "the carollers' song" by green pajamas, "little drummer boy", "have yourself a merry little christmas" and "christmas in space" by tori amos, "listen the snow is falling" by galaxie 500, "suzy snowflake" by soul coughing, "rockin' around the christmas tree" by luscious jackson (which i taped off teevee from the gap ad, so sue me), "santa got a dui" (don't remember the artist), "santa's beard" by they might be giants, the entire _holy single_ by kristin hersh (as well as "amazing grace" by throwing muses)...

::steps back::

er, maybe i should quit while i'm ahead?
posted by pxe2000 at 4:08 PM on November 27, 2001 [1 favorite]

You can't forget Weird Al's good old "Christmas at Ground Zero", or Spinal Tap's "Christmas with the Devil".

OK.. maybe you can forget them. :)
posted by jozxyqk at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2001

Find a copy of REM doing "Toyland." It's beautiful. (It was a B-side from one of their Christmas fanclub records a few years ago.)
posted by arco at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2001

Dear God

I accidentally found this today.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:13 PM on November 27, 2001

Here goes:

The Ramones - Mery Christmas(I don't Want to Fight)
Cocteau Twins - Snow
Red Peters - Holy Shit, It's Christmas
Matt Rogers - Have a Pornographic Christmas & Have Yourself a 1900 Christmas
Virginia Kegel - I Want a Boob Job for Christmas
Unknown - Christmas on Acid
Arrogant Worms - Vincent the Christmas Virus
Alien Sex Fiend - Stuff the Turkey
The Cryptkeeper Christmas Album(!)
posted by Su at 4:16 PM on November 27, 2001

Bob & Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis & Dave Thomas) - The Twelve Days Of Christmas
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 4:18 PM on November 27, 2001

Someone posted Man or Astroman's version of Frosty the Snowman on the other day. Oops, I broke rule number one.
posted by machaus at 4:20 PM on November 27, 2001

yes, this is exactly what i was looking for. please continue, good people, and sorry about the Grokster link.
posted by tsarfan at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2001

Pshaw. Forget all those. All you need is Woody.
posted by rory at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2001

I got three for ya:
1) Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC (obvious)
2) (I'm dreaming of a) White Christmas. - BOB marley believe it or not. he did a cover of this long ago find it its worth it.
3) Fishbone's - Its a Wonderful Life EP
posted by computerface at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2001

Any song from Leon Redbone's Christmas Island CD.
posted by ric at 4:33 PM on November 27, 2001

Root Boy Slim - Xmas at K-Mart
The Pogues (w/Kirsty MacColl) - Fairytale of New York
posted by stefanie at 4:34 PM on November 27, 2001

It's Christmas time,
In Hollis, Queens.
Mom's cookin' chicken
and collared greens

i second the DMC nomination
posted by vito90 at 4:34 PM on November 27, 2001

I think musical questions are the only acceptable form of “What do you think of [topic]?” front-page postings with nonspecific dot-com URLs, if they have any link at all.

En tout cas:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by the Smithereens; Bad Religion’s “God Rest You Jerry Mentleman” and “Joy to the World.”

Christmas is an humbug.
posted by joeclark at 4:40 PM on November 27, 2001

Ouch! Ixnay on the rokstergay links!

And now that I've finished whining.... These are all pretty good albums that are oft-overlooked

Esquivel: Merry Christmas from a Space Age Bachelor PAd
Merry Christmas to you from Phil Spector
Dr Demento Presents: Greatest Xmas Novelty CD
posted by emptyage at 4:44 PM on November 27, 2001

Anne Murray's Wonderful Christmas
posted by Carol Anne at 4:45 PM on November 27, 2001

Christmas songs != great tunes. Exhibit A.

Not trying to dampen anyone's holiday spirit -- apart from the fact that it's still four weeks away -- but I do get annoyed that regularly scheduled radio programming changes over to one of fifty or so tired pop covers of some tired song composed circa 1930-1950 for a solid month. Christmas music. I'm bored. Grump grump grump. That said, some of the suggestions here have been inspired.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2001

Don't forget all of the great tunes by Bob Rivers - like "I am Santa Claus" which is done to the tune of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath!! Those albums have been X-mas standards around my house for many years now.

On the serious side I nominate "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake and Plamer fame) and "Another Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull.
posted by RevGreg at 4:57 PM on November 27, 2001

WOODY! You can download Woody playing Thus Spake Zarathustra on power tools from Amazon (it's getting harder and harder not to be Panglossian). Other, more Christmas-y tunes also available.
posted by sylloge at 4:58 PM on November 27, 2001

Easy-E, "Merry Motherfuckin' Christmas"
posted by lbergstr at 4:59 PM on November 27, 2001

Anne Murray? *Ick*

I'll have to second (or third) the nominations of:

Pogues - Fairytale of New York
Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight)
Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis

Also, how about:

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Ronnettes - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Elvis - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
Elvis - Blue Christmas
posted by jpoulos at 4:59 PM on November 27, 2001

Savatage - Christmas Eve
posted by rushmc at 5:15 PM on November 27, 2001

If you can find it, Save Ferris does a version of Christmas Wrapping... Very good. Let's see, Long Beach Dub All Stars with their version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is classy and so is the Squirrel Nut Zippers Santa Claus Is Smokin' Reefer.

Also, fire up your favorite P2P app and check for "kevin and bean". They're the morning crew at KROQ [L.A. Radio Station] and they put out a quality X-Mas album every year whose proceeds go to charity.
posted by dincognito at 5:16 PM on November 27, 2001 [1 favorite]

Loreena McKennitt has two lovely winter/holiday releases (To Drive the Cold Winter Away and A Winter Garden) that I've had endlessly repeating for about a week now. Gorgeous stuff that I can't recommend highly enough, really.
posted by kittyb at 5:22 PM on November 27, 2001

Everclear's "Hating You For Christmas" (the hidden track at the end of So Much For the Afterglow) does wonders for my holiday cheer.

And I have to finalize the other two nominations for The Pogues Fairytale of New York. Best. Xmas. Song. Ever.

"It was Christmas Eve babe,
in the drunk tank..."
(makes me miss Kirsty Macoll)

Also, I have all of those K&B cds that dincognito mentioned. Also great anti-Christmas fodder... not that you asked for anti.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:27 PM on November 27, 2001

Blues Traveler's Christmas Song. Great tune.
posted by Localemperor at 5:31 PM on November 27, 2001

band-aid ..."do they know it's christmas?"

just heard it at the korean deli around the corner..

feed the world...

ps--not to hijack the link, but doesn't this song now sound somewhat, naive? does anyone else miss that?
posted by elsar at 5:45 PM on November 27, 2001

Clarence Carter's delirious "Back Door Santa," from which Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" came. Also, what I found last evening, the Duke Ellington Orchestra's version of "The Nutcracker Suite Overture." Elvis' "Winter Wonderland," for the monster blues ending, and his absurdist version of "White Christmas." Dean Martin's "Baby It's Cold Outside." And, finally, the entire Gladys Knight and the Pips holiday collection.
posted by raysmj at 5:52 PM on November 27, 2001 [1 favorite]

Anything thing from any of the Ho! Ho! Hoey! discs, and my new Christmas favorite is "St. Patricks Day" by John Mayer (audio sample on Multimedia page.)
posted by nwduffer at 5:55 PM on November 27, 2001

It's gotta be... Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
posted by shinybeast at 5:57 PM on November 27, 2001

Bob Marley's White Christmas is great. Here's a few of my favorites:

Pet Shop Boys - It Doesn't Often Snow At Xmas
Henry Rollins - Twas The Night Before Xmas
Miles Davis - Blue Christmas
The Beach Boys - Blue Christmas
Wham - Last Christmas
Al Green - Silent Night
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - Jingle Bell Rock
Booker T & The MG's - Soulful Christmas
James Brown - Soulful Christmas
The Drifters - The Christmas Song
Squirrel Nut Zippers - A Johnny Ace Christmas
The Temptations - The Little Drummer Boy
Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means To Me
Ella Fitzgerald - Holiday In Harlem
Snoop Dogg - Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto
posted by modofo at 6:10 PM on November 27, 2001

Jethro Tull--"Ring Out Solstice Bells" (Songs of the Wood) is quite jolly and seasonal, even if the word Christmas doesn't come into it.

And in a quieter vein:
Joni Mitchell--"River" (Blue)
anything from George Winston's "December"

And for more obscure listening, Joan Baez did a Christmas album called, astonishingly, "Noel" on which she managed one of the few renditions I've ever heard of "O Holy Night" that does not involve sopranic shrieking.
posted by salt at 6:12 PM on November 27, 2001

Walkin' Round in Womens' Underwear
posted by pooldemon at 6:33 PM on November 27, 2001

"Joy to the World" - Steve Morse, Merry Axemas
"O Tannenbaum" - Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas
"Baby It's Cold Outside" - Lou Rawls
posted by plinth at 6:33 PM on November 27, 2001

I can't believe that nobody mentioned Brenda Lee's version of "Jingle Bell Rock". But my all time favorite Christmas song is Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song"

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...
posted by MAYORBOB at 6:33 PM on November 27, 2001

Oi to the World, by either No Doubt or the Vandals...
Merry Christmas I Fucked Your Snowman by Showcase Showdown...
Mele Kalikimaka by Reel Big Fish
White Christmas by Goldfinger

and of course... Happy Xmas by John Lennon...

Oh and if anyone can find it 12 Days of Christmas by Joe Dolce!!!!!!!
posted by davros42 at 6:38 PM on November 27, 2001

I can't believe no one has mentioned the Low "Christmas" Record, all kinds of sad.
posted by malphigian at 6:39 PM on November 27, 2001

The Roches, particularly the hysterical Brooklynese, "Wintah Wundahland", "Deck the Hawlls", and "Frawsty the Snowman". (phonetic spellings are mine - all mine) :-)
posted by thunder at 6:39 PM on November 27, 2001

Cheech & Chong's "Santa and his Old Lady." Still funny after 20-so years.

And God bless Kirsty McColl. "You scumbag, you maggot/you cheap lousy faggot/Happy Christmas your arse/I pray God it's our last."
posted by RakDaddy at 6:40 PM on November 27, 2001

Oh... and the Vandals version of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries, too...

It'll be a cover song Christmas!!!

Oh! Oh! and Weezer's The Christmas Song and Spike Jones's All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth!!!
posted by davros42 at 6:42 PM on November 27, 2001

I have a great mp3 of Enrique Caruso singing "O Holy Night". I first heard it on some NPR program a few years ago while driving one Christmas Eve through rural Nebraska. It was so beautiful. Last year, a friend of mine found an mp3 of it and sent it to me, along with the South Park version of the song. They make an interesting contrast. To say the least.
posted by eilatan at 7:14 PM on November 27, 2001

John Denver- "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas"

It's a real song. I swear to god.
posted by ColdChef at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2001

This collection, called Winter, Fire, and Snow has several of my favorites. Most especially "Christmas Wish" by Tuck and Patti. I can't recommend that song highly enough. "All the diamonds and computers can't fill the empty place inside - I want to give the kinds of presents that I know will never die."

Also included is a great heartbroken Xmas ballad by Julia Fordham called "December 24," a great Gypsy Kings jam "Los Peces en el Rio," and a gorgeous choral folk song "Winter, Fire, and Snow." Also an original carol intended for children by my favorite singer, Jane Siberry.

Oh, not on that CD, but I wanted to also mention "25 December" by Everything But The Girl.
posted by dnash at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2001

"Christmas In Kentucky" - Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers.
I always get a little weepy when I hear it, not sure why.
posted by spinifex at 8:00 PM on November 27, 2001

OOPS. Allow me to correct that link I just posted: Winter, Fire and Snow

Afterthought: "Christmastime in Hell" from South Park's Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics is a riot. The whole CD is.
posted by dnash at 8:04 PM on November 27, 2001

Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown (not that wimpy Eagles version)
posted by likorish at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2001

The Campbell Brothers - Sacred Steel For the Holidays.
This is about the coolest thing to come along in a long time for me: The whole Sacred Steel phenomenon and I'll probably have a lot from this CD on my show come Xmas... Sacred Steel Live and Pass Me Not - The Campbell Brothers with Katie Jackson are two of the best albums to come along in years.
posted by y2karl at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2001

"Thank God It's Christmas" by Queen
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:18 PM on November 27, 2001

The House Of God Church, Keith Dominion (Youth) is a good place to hear some Sacred Steel audio clips.
posted by y2karl at 8:21 PM on November 27, 2001

For high camp, it's tough to beat "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo and Patsy.

And for purely pompous, arena-rock schlock that's an extremely guilty pleasure, "Christmas in Sarajevo" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
posted by diddlegnome at 8:31 PM on November 27, 2001

dnash -

I'm partial to "Merry Fucking Christmas" by Mr. Garrison, myself. Some of the lyrics are so timely...

"Hey there Mr. Muslim
Merry fucking Christmas
Put down that book the Koran
And hear some holiday wishes.
In case you haven't noticed
It's Jesus's birthday.
So get off your heathen Muslim ass
and fucking celebrate."

posted by thatweirdguy2 at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2001

don't forget what could be the grooviest christmas album of all time:
The Beach Boys Ultimate Christmas.

posted by panopticon at 8:54 PM on November 27, 2001

Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run
Canned Heat - Christmas Blues
Elton John - Step Into Christmas
Brenda Lee - Rockin' 'Round The Christmas Tree
Pretenders - 2000 Miles
Wings - Wonderful Christmastime
Bill Monroe - Christmas Time's A Comin'
Vince Guaraldi Trio - O Tannenbaum
Jimmy Durante - Frosty The Snowman
Jose Feliciano - Feliz Navidad

For the surf rock fan, Gary Hoey's two Christmas albums: Ho Ho Hoey & Ho Ho Hoey Vol 2

Some of the other tracks in this thread (including the Pretenders 2000 miles) are on Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Christmas.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:11 PM on November 27, 2001

Dawson Cowals is a Christian musician with one of the best Christmas albums I've ever heard. If you like Dave Matthews or Matchbox 20, you should give him a listen. Away In Five is "Away In The Manger" done to 5/4 time, and really kicks butt. We're Just Three Kings is a modern approach to "We Three Kings." I'm a big fan of both novelty Christmas music and the old standards. Cowals' music appeals to both my conventional tastes in holiday music and my... less conventional tastes. He captures both the partying aspects of the season and the awe-inspiring joy of it. I highly recommend Dawson Cowals.

Tim Tamashiro is a Canadian jazz singer with a talented voice so ominous he gives Harry Connick Jr. a run for his money. His rendition of "Silent Night" never ceases to give me goosebumps. I also love his rendition of "What Child Is This" but he may not have it available online anymore.

Digging around for Christmas music is worth the time. Pretty much anything by Gypsy Soul has a Christmas feel to it, like their send up of "Scarborough Faire" and they have an adorable version of "Silent Night." Then there's Emily Richards' "His Wonder" which will leave you enthralled. Blevins & Pasley's "Children Go Where I Send Thee" is both fun and serious. The Dysfunctional Family Band is funny. Amy Fairchild's "Counting Angels" isn't Christmasy (it's kinda Valentiney) but something about it makes it seasonal for me. Kevin Montgomery's "Visions of White" is actually about being married, but would be ideal for a Christmas wedding.

Ernesto Cortazar's piano work is Christmas all year round. His Love Theme from Titanic is better than the movie (well, I hated the movie but I love this). He has a song called Beethoven's Silence... ah! words fail me here! Oh, and he also does Christmas stuff which is amazing too, but you could play any of his stuff during a quiet romantic evening by a fire all curled up with the woman of your dreams with snow outside and.. (sigh)

I once made a Christmas Station Page on It's out of date though. I should update it sometime.

And here's a list of other songs I have in my personal collection. And trust me, even in situations where the artist below is not a personal interest of yours, the song they provide to the holiday season below is definitely worth a listen. This is the best of the best and believe me, I've been looking. In fact, according to my old cassette tape compilations, I've been looking since at least 1987. I guess I'm a sort of connoisseur of Christmas music. I've logged a lot of hours on this topic.

Bryan Adams - Run Rudolph Run
Beach Boys - Santa's Beard
Betty Boop - I Want You For Christmas
Boston Pops - Carol of the Bells
Albert Brooks - Little Christy
Carpenters - Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
Carpenters - Sleigh Ride
Johnny Cash - Away In A Manger
Charlie Brown - Christmas Time Is Here
Charlie Brown - O Tannenbaum
Cheech and Chong - Santa and His Old Lady
The Chipmunks with Canned Heat - Christmas Boogie
Harry Connick Jr. - The Little Drummer Boy
Harry Connick Jr. - Let It Snow
Bing Crosby - White Christmas
Neil Diamond - Little Drummer Boy
Celine Dion - Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
Dave Edmunds - Run Rudolph Run
Enya - What Child Is This?
Eurythmics - Winter Wonderland
Jose Feliciano - Feliz Navidad
Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn - Baby It's Cold Outside
Stan Freeberg - Green Christmas
Stan Freeberg - I Ain't Gettin' Nuthin' Fer Christmas
Galaxie 500 - Listen, The Snow Is Falling (better than Yoko Ono's version)
Dickie Goodman - Santa and the Satelite
Elton John - Who'd Be A Turkey On Christmas
Spike Jones - All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
Tom Lehrer - A Christmas Carol
John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Listen, The Snow Is Falling
Madonna - Santa Baby
John Cougar Mellencamp - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Randy Newman - Christmas in Capetown
98 Degrees - Silent Night
Mojo Nixon - Son of Santa
Mannheim Steamroller - A Fresh Aire Christmas (the whole album)
The Muppets - Christmas is Coming
Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas
Elvis Presley - Christmas In The Congo
Rockapella - Carol of the Bells
Kenny Rogers - Carol of the Bells
Alan Sherman - Japanese Transistor Radio (12 Days of Christmas)
Soul Coughing - Suzy Snowflake
Squeeze - Christmas Day
Billy Squier - Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You
Ray Stevens - Santa Claus Is Watching You
Sting - Gabriel's Message
Barbra Streisand - Jingle Bells
Barbra Streisand - My Favorite Things
Timbuk 3 - All I Want For Christmas (Is World Peace)
Try Five - Rappin' the Bear (Teddy Ruxpin parody)
Vocal Majority - Away In a Manger, and their Christmas Medley
Andy Williams - Winter Wonderland
John Williams - Carol of the Bells (from Home Alone soundtrack)
George Winston - Carol of the Bells
XTC - Thanks For Christmas
Weird Al Yankovic - The Night Santa Went Crazy

Also if you can find "Christmas is Revolting and So Are The Elves" that's hilarious. I don't know who recorded it though. Also search for "Meowy Christmas/Caterwall of the Bells by Tabbynacle Choir." Again, I don't know the real artists behind that distrubing recording but it's ..well, disturbing.

I also concur with much of the above in this thread, including:

Queen - Thank God It's Christmas
Elmo & Patsy - Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Tom Waits - Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
Crash Test Dummies - The First Noel,
Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland (which is hilarious),
The Kinks - Father Christmas,
Weird Al Yankovic - Christmas at Ground Zero,
Bob & Doug McKenzie - Twelve Days Of Christmas,
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping (Oh yeah! Bah Humbug!),
the creepy but breathtaking duet of David Bowie and Bing Crosby doing Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth,
Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis (the only rap band that really works for me)
Burl Ives (most anything he does is simultaneously bad and good)
and anything by Nat King Cole (serious) or Bob Rivers (novelty).

Alan Jackson's version of "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk on Christmas" is better than John Denver's. No offense to the dead. Jackson's just more talented. Leon Redbone's Frosty the Snowman is cool.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:12 PM on November 27, 2001 [2 favorites]

I uh.. had more but my computer threatened to run out of memory, so I posted cuz I feared a crash. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 9:13 PM on November 27, 2001

(firing up Morpheus)
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:19 PM on November 27, 2001

that is the first time i've seen galaxie 500 and the waitresses mentioned in the same breath as celine dion.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:21 PM on November 27, 2001

I second the Elvis Blue Christmas, it would be a blue Christmas without that.
posted by ArkIlloid at 9:28 PM on November 27, 2001

Holiday in Cambodia - Cover by Richard Cheese.
posted by manero at 9:29 PM on November 27, 2001

silent night sung by sinead o'connor is the best version I've ever heard.

for all you goths (and I know you're out there) try Excelsis: A Dark Noel and Excelsis, Vol. 2: A Winter's Song, complilations of various gothic artists doing traditional christmas songs.

what a great thread.
posted by rebeccablood at 9:53 PM on November 27, 2001

Any fans of the Flaming Lips here? They put out a single of "White Christmas" last year, and it's wonderful. Also, the band is working on a movie about the first Christmas on Mars. No joke. You can check out pictures from the set. And there's more info here.

Also, look for the promo-only x-mas-related track "Pete's Dad" by Porno For Pyros. Worth the effort.
posted by CosmicSlop at 10:02 PM on November 27, 2001

I'm with you on that Beach boys colection - great Auld Lang Syne
but don't forget the Deanster

posted by y2karl at 10:19 PM on November 27, 2001

Tangentially related, if you get a chance to pick up David Sedaris's book 'Holidays on Ice', you will treat yourself to the funniest Christmas stories you've ever read. 'Dinah the Christmas Whore' is great, and the one about him working as a Macy's elf is my favorite Sedaris piece ever. I think it was his first big success.
posted by lbergstr at 10:31 PM on November 27, 2001

pxe2000: "that is the first time i've seen galaxie 500 and the waitresses mentioned in the same breath as celine dion."

I have rather varied tastes. =)

Siouxsie and the Banshees did a song called "Staircase" which they featured once during some Christmas thing special. Very hard to find now, I gather. I got it on cassette from back when a guy named George Gimarc did a radio show called "Rock N Roll Alternative" here in the Dallas area.. Oh that must have been back in the late 1980s. He played it on his Christmas special. God, I feel old.

...Ooh. Kazaa has it. In fact between Kazaa and AudioGalaxy I can find on average most of the stuff on this thread, so far. For example, "Pete's Dad" by Porno For Pyros can be found on Kazaa.

REM did a version of "Wicked Game" in 1995 for their fans one Christmas. Very haunting. Not Christmasy in sound, but it was a holiday gift to their fans. And in 1992 they recorded something called "Where's Captain Kirk?" again as a Christmas gift to their fans. More recently they did "Silver Bells."

A very young Stevie Wonder did a version of "Silver Bells" that typifies him at his best. And of course anything by Ray Charles is a sure thing. "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Nina Simone, "That Spirit of Christmas" can't go wrong with Ray Charles, man.

Danny Elfman's "What's This" from the Nightmare Before Christmas is incredible. Heck, the whole soundtrack is a joy.

Billy Joel's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" with Rosie O'Donnell, and "When You Wish Upon A Star" are both festive, though the latter's not Christmasy. "Nobody Knows But Me" is also not Christmasy, but has a distinctive inner child flavor to it, and is a very rare and precious find. It's about a kid's imaginary friend.

rebeccablood: "what a great thread."

I wholly concur. This may be the greatest thread with the worst postlink ever in the history of MeFi. A wonderful topic, but a terrible link. I'm still looking for a "best Christmas music of all time" Net link to compensate, but everything pales in comparison to this very thread, and Google keeps directing me to Amazon links. I don't wanna buy any more Christmas music. Between what I purchased before Napster's heyday, and what I've downloaded since, I really don't need any more Christmas music. ...But then if that's the case why am I still downloading stuff from Kazaa, even as I type this?

Okay. I admit it. I'm a Christmas music junkie. =) This time of year always brings out both the best and the worst in me.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:32 PM on November 27, 2001

Check out the best cover of Black Sabbath's Ironman by Bob Rivers "I am Santa Claus" Ah, Twisted Christmas. I luvs it.

Seriously, is acting more like a porn site. After leaving Grokster, I got one pop-up ad. I closed it. Then, another popped up. I closed it. Then another. Luckily they were all for casinos and not girlies with their naughty bits ;)
posted by lheiskell at 11:00 PM on November 27, 2001

Has anyone ever heard a version of Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie? I swear that I heard such a thing many years ago when I worked the phones and listened to hold music all the time. But in retrospect, such a thing does not seem possible.
posted by rks404 at 11:03 PM on November 27, 2001

the Chipmonks

Now that's an order I hadn't heard of—I'm picturing Erik Estrada in a cowl...
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:03 PM on November 27, 2001

Jingle Cats 'Meowy Christmas'

posted by swift at 11:04 PM on November 27, 2001

Swift, you are a SAINT!

Omigod! I thought I was just getting de ja vu, but we have talked about this before. Looks like this is a topic that never gets old. In fact, I failed at this topic a year ago. Simple misunderstanding. Honest. I love Run DMC.

A very Wookie Christmas came up in the past, too. And the true meaning of Christmas is now a dead link, but Steven Den Beste talked about how America's version of Santa Claus is really a Coca-Cola trademark.

However, we haven't covered all the bases on Christmas yet. In hindsight, years past reveal a very unChristmasy crowd at MeFi. One would actually wonder if Christmas was happening at all. Well, you can see it occasionally in 1999 and 2000 but the operative term is "Xmas." Of course it probably gets old fast to see "Another Christmas-oriented post" every day. By the time Xmas comes around, it's probably the last thing we MeFiers'll wanna talk about.

Regarding pop-ups: I recommend Pop-Up Stopper. I've had zero problems after clicking on the Grokster link that started this thread. Panicware is a godsend.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:10 PM on November 27, 2001

I have heard the Bowie/Crosby thing rk, just recently.
posted by swift at 11:10 PM on November 27, 2001

> Has anyone ever heard a version of Little Drummer Boy
> by Bing Crosby and David Bowie?

A thousand years ago (or maybe it was 1977), I was at a friend's house watching (with his parents) Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas television special. Guests? Stuff I couldn't stand. I've just checked online: Twiggy, Ron Moody, Stanley Baxter, Trinity Boys Choir, and the whole fucking Crosby family. But David Bowie.

The parents loved Bing and my friend and I loved Bowie, so it was something we had to do together. And Der Bingle and Bowie really did sing together, though they interweaved two different songs: Bowie sang 'Peace on Earth' and Bing sang 'The Little Drummer Boy'. They sat together around the piano -- I think Bing was playing -- all cozy and Hollywood Christmassy. And Bowie even sang "Heroes". On a Bing Crosby show.

They taped on September 11, 1977, and then in October Crosby died, so Bowie was on the last of that long line of Bing Christmas specials.
posted by pracowity at 11:44 PM on November 27, 2001

I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas by the Goons.

And a definite second for the Cocteaus' covers of Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland.
posted by Grangousier at 11:52 PM on November 27, 2001

Late to the premature party, but, yeah, a great thread. So here's some festive numbers I didn't notice while scanning the above:

Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night - Jimi Hendrix
White Christmas - The Impossibles
Silent Night - Mahalia jackson
Silent Night - Joan Baez
Silent Night - Emmylou Harris
Winter Wonderland - Peggy Lee

The Ze Records Christmas Album
A1. Cristina: Things Fall Apart
A2. Suicide: Hey Lord
A3. The Three Courgettes: Christmas Coming
A4. James White: Christmas With Satan
B1. The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping
B2. August Darnell: Christmas On Riverside Drive
B3. Material With Nona Hendrix: It's A Holiday
B4. Was (Not Was): Christmas Time In The Motor City
B5. Davitt Sigerson: It's A Big Country

And one more hohoho-out to Kirsty McColl & The Pogues.
posted by liam at 12:07 AM on November 28, 2001

Alright, Liam--August Darnell !
posted by y2karl at 12:48 AM on November 28, 2001

I once saw Jon Anderson (of the mostly annoying band Yes) do a very pretty rendition of "Three Ships" on some TV special. He actually did an album that appears to be mostly Christmas music, but I can vouch for only the one song.

And yeah, whoever nominated the Mannheim Steamroller album, great choice. "Good King Wenceslas" is the pick of that litter, if you ask me.
posted by diddlegnome at 1:42 AM on November 28, 2001

Here's an obscure one... From 1979... CLAWS - The Hybrid Kids Christmas album (UK: Pipe Records / Cherry Red Records) re-issued in Japan in 1981 and on CD in 1997 (UK: Blueprint/Voiceprint Records)

It's seriously twisted and very funny.
posted by shinybeast at 2:00 AM on November 28, 2001

"We Three Kings" arranged by Book of Love
from Yulesville

Surabaya-Santa by Jason Robert Brown
(loosely based on "Surabaya-Johnny" by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht) from
Songs For A New World
1996 Original New York Cast Recording


I was just seventeen
When you rode into town
Just a girl full of fantasies and longing
I saw you
I knew I had to be with you

Then you looked in my eyes
And you asked me my name
And I trembled before you like a baby
Then gently I kissed you
Who could resist you?
You took my heart and soul

And before I had a chance to take control
We retired to your palace on the Pole
Where we only had ourselves
And the reindeer and the elves
And a lot of things we never said
About the life I could have led
If I had had the sense to stay away

But here we are Nick
And so Nick
I know it's time for you to go Nick
I know by now I'll never claim you for my own
I've been resigned to spend my Christmases alone
And so au revoir Nick
It's grand Nick
I don't pretend to understand Nick
I saw you look at Blitzen long and lovingly
The way you used to look at me

I have sat twenty years
In this drafty retreat
As the latest in the line of Mrs. Clauses
I've sat here
And wondered what you want from me
But you sit by yourself
On the couch in the den
And you watch "Miracle on 34th Street"
You get sad and dreamy
Can't even see me
Won't even say, "Hello!"

Now you tell me that it's time for you to go
Sling your sack upon your back and "hohoho"
And what matters most of all
Is to sit inside some mall
And you never think of me
While I am pining by the tree
But never mind
I will survive
While you are gone

I set you free, Nick
Goodbye, Nick
Go ride your reindeer through the sky, Nick
I don't suppose you'll ever want me by your side
I know you now
You want a plaything, not a bride
So on your way, Nick
Shalom, Nick
Don't feel the need to hurry home, Nick
Should I want comfort in the cold and bitter storm
I've got the elves to keep me warm...
posted by otherchaz at 2:32 AM on November 28, 2001

This thread has surpassed my wildest hopes. (And thanks for the new Woody album tip-off, sylloge!)

Two more unmissable Christmas albums: Kazoo Christmas (with free kazoo!) and Disco Noel.

The Blue Hawaiians' Christmas on Big Island is also pretty smooth. And don't forget the two Ultra-Lounge Christmas albums.
posted by rory at 2:48 AM on November 28, 2001

Noooooooooo. It's too early to start talking about xmas. It's not even December. Having said that, my favourites are 'Power of Love' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and 'Fairytale of New York' by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl. Rest in Peace indeed. If I hear 'Merry Christmas Everybody' by Slade again I'm going to kill.
posted by Summer at 3:09 AM on November 28, 2001

Black Flag's cover of White Christmas. Brings a tear to me eye every time...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:19 AM on November 28, 2001

A whole thread about Christmas music and not a single mention of Slade? Shome mistake, surely?

More seriously, Halleleujah by Jeff Buckley.
posted by salmacis at 3:33 AM on November 28, 2001

Can't wait for the Winslet/Kidman Christmas single showdown.
posted by Summer at 4:01 AM on November 28, 2001

For those into a more natural sound, check out this list of gas-tastic Christmas, um, music.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 5:56 AM on November 28, 2001

Perhaps my most favorite Christmas tune is the white trash trailer park christmas song by Robert Earl Keen Jr., "Merry Christmas from the family".
posted by mad at 5:58 AM on November 28, 2001

Of all the xmas albums we pull out of the box each year, I always look forward to the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" the most.

I have a fantastic lp by fingerstyle guitarist John Fahey, "Popular Songs of Christmas & New Year's". Music for sipping hot chocolate.

A few randomly thought of tunes:

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" Sinatra. (Best version I''ve heard of a sentimental favorite).

"Blue Xmas" Miles Davis, sung by Bob Donough. Could be the original cynical hipster xmas song?

"Another Xmas Song", Jethro Tull. Their music suits the wintertime - "Skating Away..", "Solstice Bells", etc.

I have GOT to get that Marley version of "White Christmas".
posted by groundhog at 6:05 AM on November 28, 2001

Robert Earl Keen's songs "Merry Christmas From the Family" and "Happy Holidays, Y'all." John Prine's "Christmas in Prison." Everything on the CD Bummed Out Christmas.
posted by maurice at 6:06 AM on November 28, 2001

Dave Matthews - Christmas Song
posted by uftheory at 6:32 AM on November 28, 2001

Another great Flaming Lips song is "Christmas at the zoo."
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:33 AM on November 28, 2001

Merry Crassmass anyone?
posted by bifter at 6:34 AM on November 28, 2001

briefly ot: my problem with pop-up stopper is that it not only blocks the adverts but it also won't open anything with the tag < target=_new>. which is frustrating.

with that off my chest, another good xmess tune is patti smith's cover of "winter wonderland". hard to find but so damned worth it.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:41 AM on November 28, 2001

Steven Den Beste talked about how America's version of Santa Claus is really a Coca-Cola trademark

Not so.
posted by rory at 6:43 AM on November 28, 2001

Bahhhhh! First the pop-ups, and now a broken layout in IE5Mac caused by a comment about the popups. Humbug!
posted by rory at 6:46 AM on November 28, 2001

I'm partial to traditional American Christmas songs. Those would include things like

Children, Go Where I Send Thee
Long Time Ago in Bethlehem
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Rise up Shepherd and Follow

For most of those, I'd want a version by a large gospel choir, but I think that Harry Belafonte has a great version of "Long Time Ago in Bethlehem".

And, as has been mentioned before, you can't go wrong with Eartha Kitt singing "Santa Baby".
posted by anapestic at 6:51 AM on November 28, 2001

Merry MeX-mas by El Vez is a great album. It has, among others, "Oranges for Christmas." El Vez also does a great Christmas show which will not hit anywhere near me this year.
posted by eckeric at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2001

Fuck all of this noise, go check out the track listings on this sweet album!
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 8:37 AM on November 28, 2001

See if you can get a copy of The Yobs Christmas Album . Great punk versions of classics. Some of them with filthy lyrics. It'll surely liven things up a bit! Since I stored all my vinyl and put away the turntable I can't play it this holiday season.
posted by chainring at 9:24 AM on November 28, 2001

How 'bout James Taylor's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
posted by marc-hamilton at 9:26 AM on November 28, 2001

Oh, and Check out this list . It lists some great ones like "Christmas is Coming" by the Payolas

posted by chainring at 9:32 AM on November 28, 2001

Sorry, Screwed up the link.

posted by chainring at 9:33 AM on November 28, 2001

About a year ago, a friend from the UK came to visit me at my last place of business, and he ...

...ahhhh, never mind. Long story short: I have this in my possession.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 10:34 AM on November 28, 2001

There are a couple good carols on Ottmar Liebert's "Poets and Angels". I also like "Closing of the Year" from the Toys soundtrack.
posted by joaquim at 10:51 AM on November 28, 2001

no one has mentioned "Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey"? I love that one.
posted by tsarfan at 10:57 AM on November 28, 2001

Another Flaming Lips Christmas song is "Little Drummer Boy."
posted by whuppy at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2001

I second the "Toys" soundtrack. Perfect this time of year.
posted by cakeman at 12:01 PM on November 28, 2001

Crap. It slipped my mind, but "The Little Drum Machine Boy" by Beck is so funky you'll wish P-Funk did a christmas album.
posted by dincognito at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2001

If you love Blues or you want to do some exploring, don't miss the annual Blues Before Sunrise Christmas show the last weekend before Christmas on some of your better NPR stations, or you can listen online to 5 hours of classics and impossible-to-find-elsewhere Christmas Blues tunes.

Here is last year's playlist and they play pretty much the same list every year.Essential stuff.

This year the show will be going from my stereo to my hard drive, thru Cool Edit Pro and to 4 or 5 freshly burned cds.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 5:29 PM on November 28, 2001

If you're feeling...well, drunk for the season, seek out Mojo Nixon & the Toadliquors' "Horny Holidays" album featuring the most inept version of "Sleigh Ride" I've ever heard. And you get the long tale of Santa's brother, Horny Claus. It's a twisted, stupid, hilarious experience.
posted by CosmicSlop at 6:28 PM on November 28, 2001

No one's mentioned Prince's "Another Lonely Christmas"? The reverb on that track simply must be heard.
posted by jpoulos at 7:24 PM on November 28, 2001

> James Taylor's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
posted by pracowity at 10:40 PM on November 28, 2001

Late posting, but why not.
Pearl Bailey - Five Pound Box of Money
Big Star - Jesus Christ
Cindy Lauper - Christmas Conga
posted by dmo at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2001

The Man with the Bag - Kay Starr
Please Come Home for Christmas - James Brown
posted by Miyagi at 6:09 PM on November 29, 2001

Blue Meanies - You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch
posted by ZachsMind at 3:56 AM on November 30, 2001

"Yesterday, today was tomorrow, and tomorrow, today will be yesterday.."

A good Christmas song for this year: Ding dong, ding dong from George Harrison's Dark Horse album.

"Ring out the false, ring in the true."
posted by ZachsMind at 1:19 AM on December 3, 2001

Earlier today, while I was in the tax-free shop at London's Heathrow airport, the in-store speakers played The Pogues "Fairytale of New York". It's a standard in the UK at Christmas alongside "Silent Night" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Still, there's nothing quite like scores of shoppers wandering around between the discount perfumes and cognacs, listening to "you scumbag, you maggot/you cheap, lousy faggot".
posted by liam at 12:34 AM on December 6, 2001

I once saw Jon Anderson (of the mostly annoying band Yes) do a very pretty rendition of "Three Ships" on some TV special.

In the early years of MTV, they had an annual "MTV Christmas Video" which was all of the MTV staffers gathered around some artist singing a holiday song. One year the artist was Billy Squier, another year it was Hall & Oates (doing their "Jingle Bell Rock") but the all-time best was Jon Anderson's "Three Ships." I vividly remember Jon flanked by Martha Quinn and Nina Blackman, both in bright red sweaters, looking utterly transfixed. Classic stuff.

That said, I offer this -- U2's cover of "Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)" is good stuff. Basia's "Angels Blush" is a neat commentary on the holiday season. (I think that's the second mention I've made of her on MeFi today. Scary.) Vanessa Williams' just-released holiday album is destined to sell millions and is worth a listen. And thank you, to every single one of you, for not mentioning the horrifying crap which is holiday music from the "we must turn three written notes into twelve as we sing" bunch - Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston or Destiny's Child. (gag)
posted by Dreama at 1:27 AM on December 6, 2001

Someone else said it, and I'll second it.

Christmas Song - Dave Matthews Band

"This is a non-denominational tune here. It may seem otherwise, but... take it was you will, it's just a song I wrote about an amazing man who got *screwed*. Not an uncommon story."
posted by tomorama at 8:59 PM on December 6, 2001

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