When it comes to holiday rock and pop music, I love Snoopy taking on the Red Baron during the holiday season, The Carpenters singing their bitter sweet Merry Christmas Darling and the peppy Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms. But here’s some other holiday tunes, from nice to naughty to twisted, that you may have forgotten about!
In 1954, Jimmy Boyd recorded Santa Claus Blues/I Saw Mama Do the Mambo (with you know who) and Rosemary Clooney appeared in the movie White Christmas, spinning off her song on 45’s and albums.
While Brenda Lee had me Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, I dug up some forgotten holiday tune trivia.
In 1947 Gene Autry’s Here Comes Santa Claus (right down Santa Claus Lane) sold over a million copies. It was inspired by the Hollywood Santa Claus Lane Parade. Tons of others covered this song, but Elvis added his own personal swagger to it in 1957, making it one of my favorites.
Fast forward to 1977. David Bowie and Bing Crosby recorded the duet: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy. The tracks were recorded on Sept. 11, 1977 for Bing’s TV show. Sadly, on Oct. 14 (nearly 5 weeks later), Bing passed away. One of the most popular Christmas duets of all time, it’s just plain beautiful.
In 1978 The Eagles recorded Please Come Home for Christmas. It peaked at #18 on the U.S. Billboard top 100 – the first Christmas song to reach the Top 20 since Roy Orbison’s Pretty Paper in 1963. The Eagles re-released it in 1995 and in this version, changed the words: “Bells will be ringing the glad, glad news…” to “sad sad news” (being alone for Christmas).
While the Eagles recorded their beautiful song in 1978, Root Boy Slim and his Sex Change Band with the Rootettes, added new meaning to the “blue light special” with Xmas at K-Mart! Yeah, totally tacky – but totally catchy! Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse…
In 1979 we find out that Grandma got run over by a freakin’ reindeer – leave it to Elmo and Patsy to give us a twisted tale for the holidays!
So reminisce on your favorite holiday pop/rock tunes, here’s a few more you may have forgotten about (or are glad to forget about!):
The Christmas Song – Billy Crystal
Jingle Bell Rock – covered by Hall and Oates
Old Time Christmas – Randy Travis
Christmas Time – Bryan Adams
John Duck’s Christmas Card – John Duck and his Family
Kentucky Homemade Christmas – Kenny Rogers
It’s Christmas – Ronnie Milsap
Sleigh Ride/Chipmunk Song – The Chipmunks!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – John Denver and the Muppets
Dear Santa (bring me a man for Christmas) – The Weather Girls
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt (gotta love her wish list!)
Christmas at Liberace’s
Medley: Blue Christmas/I Love You X 3 – Timbuk 3
Happy Xmas (the war is over) – John and Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band with Harlem Community Choir
Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – Billy Squier
Jumpin’ jukeboxes – all of the above are on 45’s … load it up and rock it out!