Joy of Six – Obscure Christmas Songs

There are those Christmas songs that everyone knows and loves, well here are a few that you might not know (and even once you do you might not love them)

1) Don’t Believe In Christmas – The Sonics

“The garage rock one”

The Sonics were from Seattle and enjoyed some local success in the ’60s with tracks like Strychnine and Have Love Will Travel. They had an amazing overdriven guitar sound that they produced by attacking their amplifiers with ice-picks. Those who have heard Too Much Monkey Business by Chuck Berry might notice the odd similarity here and there with this track. To make it even Christmas-ier the flip side was the equally great Santa Claus.

2) Christmas Is Going To The Dogs – Eels

“The Dr Seuss One”

Written for the soundtrack of The Grinch film. Having tried his hand at most musical genres, a man called E has a go at a Christmas song of the sort that a furry green Jim Carrey can dance around to.

3) Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight) – Ramones

“The punk one”

Goodwill to all men – peace breaks out between Johnny and Joey. I have this sneaking admiration for the Ramones and the way that they just kept going, sticking with the same style despite never getting the success they really deserved. In 1989, they had a go at a Christmas song.

4)┬áMust Be┬áSanta – Bob Dylan

“The drunken uncle one”

In 2009, one of the great artists, a true pioneer, decided to release a Christmas album. Time hasn’t been especially kind to Bobby’s voice but it’s that time of year when everyone can have a drink and sing their hearts out.

5) Jo Jo’s Jacket – Stephen Malkmus

“The tenuous one”

Okay, it’s technically not a Christmas song but it does mention it: “stay inside on Christmas day and make believe that you are my candy cane” Included here because it’s an amazing song with a brilliant video

6) Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth – David Bowie & Bing Crosby

“The ‘is it real, is it photoshopped?’ one”

It’s just totally surreal, two men, two different generations, singing two different songs. Reading that sentence, it’s clear that it shouldn’t work but somehow it does. As great as the song is, the slightly awkward conversation between Bing and Bowie before they start singing is even better.

Bubbling under: Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid II. Jason, Kylie, Lisa Stansfield and Sonia start the ’80s revival before the ’90s have even started.

Author’s Notes

Originally published on the On Nottingham website


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