There are many great rock ‘n’ roll Christmas songs. But here is our 10 favorite songs that you should be listening to on Christmas Eve (with YouTube links):
- “Little St. Nick” by the Beach Boys: There are so many good things about this song. This is surf meets snow. The group is at their vocal zenith. The only bad thing: The song is too damned short.
- “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by the Four Seasons: This song leads off the second side of their album, originally released on Vee Jay Records (the same label the Beatles’ “Introducing the Beatles” was released on). Frankie Valli’s vocal comes straight out of his superb singing on “Dawn (Go Away).” The whole album is one of the lesser great known rock Christmas albums.
- “‘Zat You Santa Claus” by Louis Armstrong: Technically not a rock ‘n’ roll song, but Louis rocks up the house with the same verve he exhibited in “Hello, Dolly.” He was never considered a rock ‘n’ roller, but an argument could be made with songs like this he was.
- “Christmastime Is Here Again” by the Beatles: The Beatles Christmas records had a lot of comedy, but this is one time they got semi-serious (“O-u-t spells out?”) and Lennon and McCartney applied their songwriting genius to the holidays.
- “Hark the Herald the Angels Sing” by the Fab Four: If the Beatles ever made a traditional Christmas album, the Fab Four’s “Hark” would have been it. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is one of many great songs on the album. (Available through their website.)
- “Wear a Smile at Christmas” by Paul Revere and the Raiders: Did you know Paul Revere and the Raiders released a Christmas album? It certainly wasn’t traditional but this song is one of the more traditional songs on it.
- “Please Come Home for Christmas” by James Brown: There are several versions of this song, most notably by Charles Brown, but this version by James Brown is just awesome.
- “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Roy Wood and Wizzard: This song is well known to Anglophiles, but not as well known here in America. But it’s a wonderful sendup of Christmas with a Phil Spector-like stereo mix. And Roy’s vocal against the angelic children’s choir is brilliant.
- “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” by Darlene Love: Whatever you think of Phil Spector now, he made a wonderful Christmas album. This is one of the best tracks. The link is to an absolutely tremendous live performance by the Rock Hall of Famer last night on “Late Night With David Letterman” in what has become an annual tradition on the Letterman show. Paul Shaffer leads the band and the singers in rockin’ up a storm. Don’t miss this.
- “Jingle Bells” by the Singing Dogs: OK, what is this doing here? It’s silly and fun. And what’s Christmas without fun?
Merry Christmas, everybody!!