Saturday, December 8, 2007

Beginning to sound a lot like Christmas: Secular edition

Noel has slipped a holiday CD into every available player in the house and car, so I have spent the last few days humming, swaying, singing, and bopping along to the sounds of the season. Some thoughts on my favorite danceable Christmas tunes:
  • "Feliz Navidad": You know, Jose Feliciano, you got no complaints. Is it possible to control the urge shake imaginary maracas when the English language part kicks in?
  • "Jingle Bell Rock": Of all the rockin' Christmas songs, I think I like this one the best. I usually wind up singing the "Giddyup jingle horse, pick up your feet" round the clock. And speaking of "round the clock," a close listen to the lyrics today revealed that the song alludes to "Rock Around The Clock," which makes sense since it was written in 1957.
  • "Little Saint Nick": The other essential rock-era Christmas song -- a transfer of the concept of "Little Deuce Coupe" to Santa's awesome sled. In the case of both these songs, I respond to their laid-back swing and solid melodies, neither of which attempt to be overtly Christmas-y.
  • "Santa Claus Is Back In Town": I managed to hear the Elvis version of this Leiber-Stoller blues twice driving back from the office Christmas party last night with the kids (the Elvis Christmas album is short). Even though this is standard faux-blues fare, Elvis really gets into it, and that drony "Christmaaaas ... Christmaaaas ..." in the background is just weird enough to be charming.
  • "This Christmas": The Danny Hathaway R&B number is as close as we've come to a new holiday standard in almost forty years. When the soaring chorus kicks in, almost nobody can resist singing along.
Two questions for you, dear readers:
  1. What are your favorite Christmas songs of the rock era?
  2. In honor of yesterday's photo, what is the most perplexing, bizarre, or inappropriate item you have seen immortalized on a Christmas ornament?


Eric Grubbs said...

Here are my Christmas favorites:

The entire Phil Spector Christmas album
Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas
Vandals' Oi to the World
U2's rendition of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
"Merry Christmas I Don't Want to Fight Tonight" by the Ramones
"Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues
"River" by Joni Mitchell
"Candle Song 3" by Mojave 3
"Christmas at the Zoo" by the Flaming Lips

Doc Thelma said...

Not exactly "rock" or "secular" but I'd love to get a recording of that version of "A Carpenter, A Mother and a King" that Luther used to play on WDEF.

As for ornaments, there was a plastic toliet on my husband's grandmother's tree, bearing the words "Good-bye, cruel world" and a lone hand waving good-bye. No doubt a gag gift from her unsavory son-in-law.

The "holiday ornaments" hawked by Fox News even as O'Reilly was bemoaning the supposed "war on Christmas are another set of nominees in this category.

heyrocker said...

I (like the rest of the country) have a massive soft spot for the Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas. I've also always been fond of the Bowie/Bing rendition of "Little Drummer Boy". More recently I <3 Low's Christmas EP.

Adam Villani said...

The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping"
"Last Christmas" (either George Michael or Jimmy Eat World)
Jimmy Kimmel's "Stanley" (adaptation of Eminem's "Stan")
Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas"
John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"
Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime"
Reel Big Fish doing "Mele Kalikimaka"
The Kinks' "Father Christmas"
"Weird" Al Yankovic's "Christmas at Ground Zero"

Anonymous said...

Let Them Know It's Christmas--Band Aid (hey, I even have the video of the making of it!)

We proudly display on our tree, a red shell casing with fake red flower trim. It was a gift from a an eye doctor/Louisiana sportsman who was also a member of our fiction writing class with Ernest J. Gaines. It was one of our first ornaments of married life. At the time we were like, "what that?" But every year it takes pride of place on the tree.

the secret knitter said...

This week I received a promo item in the form of an Alien vs. Predator: Requiem ornament. Um, yeah, like that would go on the tree I don't have...