"Let's have a rock and roll Christmas/ Just like we used to know." - "Rock and Roll Christmas" by George Thorogood
Happy Tuesday, everyone! As you've probably figured out from my last few posts (or from reading my profile), I am just a tad bit obsessed with Christmas. I have already covered Christmas books, so this edition of Tuesday's Top Ten will be devoted to holiday music, specifically, rock and roll. All of these songs may not be rock, but they are performed by rock stars or rock/pop bands, and play on my CD player all season long. If your favorite rock and roll Christmas songs differ from mine, leave me a comment so I can check them out. Merry Christmas!
1. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Bruce Springsteen - It just doesn't get better than this. My favorite part of this rockin' kids' song is the intro where Bruce talks to the band and the crowd, asking if they've been good or what. And he asks Clarence if Santa is bringing him a new saxophone for Christmas. I miss the Big Man. Bonus points for this song, the girls I nanny for absolutely love it and sing along at the top of their lungs whenever it comes on the radio. It just makes me happy.
2. "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon - I am choosing to ignore the Plastic Ono Band because everyone knows that John Lennon was the genius behind this song and he is the only one who deserves any credit. "Happy Xmas" has such a great message, that peace is what matters, and if everyone wants it, it can be achieved. This is a song that should be enjoyed all year, not just in December.
3. "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty - Man, I love this song! It became a staple at my house every Christmas season because of the "Home Alone" soundtrack (and because Tom Petty is just so fantastic!) and I will never get tired of hearing it. It's fun, it's festive, and it's funny, like the line about not wanting to kiss your long distance relatives. The best line, though, is "Hope Mama gets her shopping done!" So great!
4. "Merry Christmas, Baby" by The Beach Boys - Not to be confused with the R&B standard that has been recorded by Otis Redding, B.B. King, and Bruce Springsteen among others, this is a Beach Boys original and one of my all time favorites (since I was a very young child!). Unlike most cheery holiday songs, this one is about a guy who wants his girlfriend back, who broke up with him at Christmas. Not really fine holiday fun, but I absolutely love it anyway. It still sounds upbeat and is really great to sing along to.
5. "Santa's Beard" by The Beach Boys - Another classic from their '60s Christmas album, this song is about taking your little brother to see Santa, and he discovers that - gasp! - the department store St. Nick is an imposter. But hey, don't worry kid, he's just one of Santa's helpers, so it's okay! I think all of us who take children to Santa at the mall have a fear that this will happen. At least we have a song that will explain it all in a gentle way that will still keep the magic alive. Whew!
6. "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - Probably the most different song on my list, "I Believe in Father Christmas" is beautifully haunting, touching on the true meaning of Christmas ("the virgin's birth"), the magic of the season ("and I looked at the sky with excited eyes"), and peaceful wishes for the new year. If you don't know this one, go check it out. You won't be sorry.
7. "We Three Kings of Orient Are" by Spinal Tap - As you can probably imagine if you know anything about Spinal Tap, this is a hilarious version of a classic Christmas carol. The guys don't know the words and end up singing about smoking exploding rubber cigars. So funny! And the banter between the guys is just great. I always laugh when I hear this song, especially when my sister sings it in her fake British accent. She does terrific impersonations of Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean). Hey, Jenna, it goes to 11!
8. "Run, Rudolph, Run" by Chuck Berry - A holiday classic that makes me think about the scene in "Home Alone" where the MacAllisters are running through the airport, sans Kevin. Just one question though. Who the heck is Randolph and why is he chasing Santa and Rudolph? An evil twin, perhaps?
9. "Merry Christmas, Baby", versions by Bruce Springsteen and by Melissa Etheridge - Now this is the classic song I was refering to in #4 on this list. It's impossible to beat Bruce, but Melissa's version is so good, I am calling it a tie. Bruce's "Merry Christmas, Baby" is perfection, plain and simple, a classic R&B/rock song with a holiday theme, but Melissa's version has a great line that I haven't heard anywhere else. "I haven't had a smoke this morning/ But I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree." This is a great song to just belt out, especially when you are alone in the car and no one can laugh at you for singing off-key at the top of your lungs.
10. "Must Be Santa" by Bob Dylan - Just the fact that Bob recorded a Christmas album at all is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but every song on his "Christmas in the Heart" album is wonderful! "Must Be Santa" is my favorite because of his additional lyrics. Along with some of Santa's reindeer that we all know and love, Bob has included a few special guests on St. Nick's Christmas Eve flight. :)
"Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/
Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton!"