Today is Christmas so of course Christmas Music is in the air. Here’s my own list of favorite Christmas songs in chronological order. This list spans approximately forty years. Â Thanks to my dad for exposing me to the first three on the list. Not sure if he would approve of the last item, though.
“Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Perry Como from Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music (1956)
This record was released in 1956, but the material was originally recorded in 1946, 1947, and 1953. This is a classic album from the fine crooner, and was my favorite Christmas record when I was a child. Later, my son Riley would play this album day after day when going to bed at night, even after the Christmas season.
“Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis from Merry Christmas (1958)
Another classic Christmas album but my favorite track is “Sleigh Ride” which shows off the peppy but safe kind of music that Mathis was famous for. The clip below is from a few years later but is pretty close to the original track.
“Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” by John Denver from Rocky Mountain Christmas (1975)
I’m not a big country fan but this song has a subversive element that is at once sad and still cheery for the holiday season. And, country fans, don’t blame me if the one country song on this list has something to do with someone being sad and drunk. It’s your genre, not mine.
“Jingle Bell Rock” by John Oates & Darryl Hall (single) (1983)
This one-off single was issued in 1983 at the height of the group’s popularity. There were two versions of the song (one on each side of the single) and two music videos were issued (though only the last part really differs). I prefer the John Oates version party because I think he doesn’t get enough credit but also because I do prefer his vocals for this song. The hilarious music video features members of the Hall & Oates band, including guitarist G.E. Smith of SNL fame playing the old woman.
“Christmas with the Devil” by Spinal Tap (single) (1984)
The single for the song was issued in 1984 along with the band’s appearance to sing the song on Saturday Night Live (though the episode aired in May, strangely). A newly recorded version was later issued on the group’s 1992 comeback album Break Like the Wind. There are pros and cons for each version, both of which are available on iTunes for your purchasing pleasure. Of course, the song plays up the group’s heavy metal stereotypes and is meant to be taken very very literally and very very seriously. This performance is from their 1992 tour.