Christmas songs – there are as much a part of the holidays as all the other traditions – at least in our house. Start with the canon of songs, perhaps a couple dozen or so? This leads to endless variations on the same songs, some of which are horrendous, most just shrug your shoulders eh?, and few good ones. Of course, I realize that what fits in that last category varies widely – as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Here are some of my favorites.
Eurythmics – Winter Wonderland
From the very first A Very Special Christmas benefit album from 1987 – I really love Annie Lennox’s vocals on this track, and very Eurythmics take on this classic
Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Sixty years old this year, this song by Johnny Marks (who also wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) has always seemed a modern addition to the canon (even though it is 60 years old, when rock was in its infancy). Brenda Lee was 13 years old when she recorded it.
Chet Atkins, Jingle Bell Rock
Originally recorded in 1957 by Bobby Helms, this instrumental version by Chet Atkins was first released in 1961. Somehow hearing the song without the lyrics and just Atkins playing makes it a better song imho.
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Christmas Time is Here
I could pick any song off this album, the soundtrack to the 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. One of my favorite Christmas shows with a real message, and an thoroughly original set of songs that worked perfectly.
Pretenders – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Another choice from A Very Special Christmas, Chrissie Hynde’s vocal take on this 1944 classic of the canon makes this song one of my favorites.
Bruce Springsteen and the E. St. Band – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
If you know me, or have followed this blog for any length of time, this isn’t a surprise – how could I include a list of favorite Christmas songs without including Bruce’s version of this classic! – of course I am biased, but I think this is one of those rare occasions where the cover version meets or exceeds the original! Just love this version!
Anyway, again, very best wishes to everyone for a joyous holiday season!
Take it away Bruce!