Holiday 45’s – What’s in Your Jukebox?
It’s time to toss a few Christmas oldies into the jukebox or just reminisce about the tunes of holidays past.
The Royal Guardsmen make us smile when we hear the classic tale of Snoopy taking on the Red Baron. Bobby Helms picks up the tempo with his Jingle Bell Rock, then the Carpenters slow it back down with their bittersweet Merry Christmas Darling.
Going way back to 1947 Gene Autry’s Here Comes Santa Claus (right down Santa Clause Lane) sold over a million copies. It was inspired by the Hollywood Santa Clause 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.
In 1954, Jimmy Boyd recorded Santa Claus Blues available on 45 with the B Side: I Saw Mama Do the Mambo (with you know who) – the “who” is this case was Santa.
Rosemary Clooney sang and appeared in the movie White Christmas, spinning off her smash hit on 45’s and albums. In 1958 Brenda Lee recorded Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, but it didn’t become a monster hit until 1960.
In 1962 no one could touch Franki Valli’s high notes as he belted out: “Baaaaa – a-by, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. But Elvis had his own personal holiday comeback as he croons that he ain’t got no sleigh with reindeer, no sack on his back – but you’ll see him coming in a big, black Cadillac! With Santa Claus is Back in Town Elvis became the hippest Santa ever!
Fast forward to 1977. David Bowie and Bing Crosby recorded the duet: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy. The track was 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 and just plain beautiful.
In 1943 Bing Crosby made Please Come Home for Christmas a major hit. The song was written from the perspective of a soldier serving away from home during World War 2. Over the years the song had tons of covers, but In 1978 The Eagles version 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).
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!
And just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse — in 1979 we find out that Grandma got run over by a freakin’ reindeer! Elmo and Patsy provided us with their own twisted holiday tale.
Here’s a few more popular holiday oldies 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 (with a wish list every gal wants!)
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 were on 45’s … so load it up and rock it out!
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