Favorite Christmas Songs from Hip Hop to Honky Tonk
● By Billy Pilgrim
Songs of the Season
By Billy Pilgrim
It’s the holiday season and time for that glorious subculture of popular music – it’s time for Christmas music! You hear it on the radio, television, at work, at the mall, in every store and church. From traditional hymns to novelty songs, we are drawn to it like a frothy Pennsylvania eggnog, and sometimes repelled by it when we have heard “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” for what seems like the millionth time. It’s in our bloodline. We are steeped in it, and I like to think that it draws us together, bonds us and makes us want to spread the love during the holidays. The music of Christmas is a great equalizer – we all have it in common, transcending demographics, political views and economic considerations.
We all have our favorites, and I want to give a nod to Darlene Love for her performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and anything from Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Those are the songs that move me. We asked our listeners to tell us their favorites, and of course, we received a great variety of responses. There were lots of votes for “The Little Drummer Boy” (including the very odd David Bowie and Bing Crosby version) and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser. I am sad to report we did not get one vote for Jeff Foxworthy’s version of that song (“Somebody’s been to the Walmart!”). There was lots of positive sentiment for “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong, one the biggest tearjerkers ever recorded. “Hard Candy Christmas” is not really a Christmas song, but it has become one. That’s on the list of listeners’ favorites. “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon makes it, of course. There’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas,” “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (Bruce Springsteen’s version). And who doesn’t love “Leroy the Redneck Reindeer” by Joe Diffie, and “Rusty Chevrolet” by the Da Yoopers – perfect for that Christmas trip to Shopko. Many of our listeners leaned towards the traditional songs, like “O Holy Night,” “Away in A Manger” and “We Three Kings” of Orient are, tried to smoke a rubber cigar! It was loaded, it exploded, now we are men from Mars. (We sung it like that when we were kids.) And for every “Adeste Fidelis” and “Good King Wenceslas,” there was someone who liked “Police Stop My Car” and “Daddy’s Gettin’ Drunk This Christmas.” “Grandma Got Run Over” made our list of favorite songs, and the list of most annoying. “Jingle Dogs,” “Jingle Cats” and Porky Pig’s side-splitting version of “Blue Christmas” have been deemed almost unbearable for your listening pleasure.
According to List Challenges, the most popular Christmas songs of all are “Jingle Bell Rock,” “I Saw Mommy Christmas Kissing Santa Claus,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Chipmunk Song” and” White Christmas.” The best-selling albums in history are two from Mannheim Steamroller: (“A Fresh Aire Christmas” and” Mannheim Steamroller Christmas”), “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, “Miracles, The Holiday Album” by Kenny G. and “The Elvis Christmas Album.” Bob River’s “Twisted Christmas” does not rank anywhere, though it’s still number one with a bullet on the Billy and Patrick Show.
So, enjoy and appreciate! Sing along and soak it in, whether it’s the Norman Luboff Choir or Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift To You.” It’s happening right now. No other season can compare with this one. And have a holy jolly honky tonk Christmas – it’s best time of the year.