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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MLB: Holiday hits: Players dish out favorite winter tunes

“All I Want For Christmas Is an Alien Invasion”...and it can’t come soon enough.

MLB.com asked Major League Baseball players for their favorite holiday songs, and in Barry Zito’s case, there could be only one at the top of the charts. The Giants’ pitcher is listening again to Nat King Cole’s time-honored classic, The Christmas Song.

“We listened to it my whole life,” Zito said, “and it is the most warm and nostalgic version of any song for me because he was my dad’s best friend.”

...Explaining his choice of White Christmas, Reds reliever Sam LeCure said: “The person I like singing it is Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires. It’s like a gospel group singing. I like how they do ‘White Christmas.’ I got that CD the other day.”

... Finally, we have this exchange between Indians rookie reliever Cody Allen and MLB.com Indians beat reporter Jordan Bastian:

Do you have a favorite Christmas song?

“That’s a tough one, because I honestly don’t like Christmas music. I mean, I like Christmas, but I don’t like Christmas music. Probably the only one I can bear is the Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas tape. Remember that one?”

You don’t like Christmas music, but you like The Chipmunks’ songs?

(Laughing) “I was young, man. I was little. That was funny to me! All the other ones, I didn’t like. Actually, Jeff Foxworthy’s song, Redneck 12 Days of Christmas. That one is pretty good.”

Repoz Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:46 AM | 114 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: music

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   1. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4328347)
Trip Shakespeare - Snow Days

Redd Kross - Super Sunny Christmas

(Fountains of Wayne does a pretty good "I Want an Alien for Christmas", but it's not that hip.)
   2. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4328350)
Jingle Bells by Duke Ellington
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4328351)
I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on the radio a week or two ago, and you know, that's probably our best modern Christmas song. Sure, it's a big ball of cheese, but that's entirely traditional for holiday music. Tell me you wouldn't sing along with that. And you can prove it -

The Roots, Mariah Carey, and Jimmy Fallon, and children, "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4328356)
I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on the radio a week or two ago, and you know, that's probably our best modern Christmas song.


Agreed, I like that one a lot. And of course "Fairytale of New York" is just wonderful. Among the classics I'd probably say Silent Night is my favorite.
   5. AROM Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4328357)
Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo.

Goes well with potty training the little one.
   6. Greg K Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4328362)
(Fountains of Wayne does a pretty good "I Want an Alien for Christmas", but it's not that hip.)

You're telling me. I was once visiting a friend at her university dorm where a group of hipster-ish people where taking requests for music. Suggesting Fountains of Wayne earned me a room full of dirty looks.

They also have "Man in the Santa Suit", though for my money Alien is a better song.
   7. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4328363)
Carol of the Bells.
   8. Gamingboy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4328385)
Stevie Wonder. "Someday at Christmas".

I say this as somebody who is half-Jewish, that song is a universal one in it's appeal and message.
   9. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4328388)
“That’s a tough one, because I honestly don’t like Christmas music. I mean, I like Christmas, but I don’t like Christmas music. Probably the only one I can bear is the Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas tape. Remember that one?”


Christmas hasn't really felt like Christmas since I first heard "Christmas Don't Be Late" by Alvin and the Chipmunks played at half speed.
   10. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4328389)
I listed the best 25 Christmas songs on my website last year. I hope that that settles this discussion. You're welcome.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4328405)
Christmas Medley by trumpet duo Da Tasteebros.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4328409)
GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER
   13. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4328416)
Ten songs I left off the list linked above that are nonetheless excellent:

Five-Pound Box of Money - Pearl Bailey
Carolina Christmas - Squirrel Nut Zippers
At Last I'm Ready for Christmas - Barra MacNeils
Christmas in Killarney - Barra MacNeils
Silent Night/I Guess There Ain't No Santa Claus - Barry Manilow
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey
Welcome Christmas - from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Christmastime Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Christmastime (Oh Yeah) - Barenaked Ladies
Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong
   14. Blastin Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4328419)
So long as no one likes "Christmas Shoes." That may be the worst song (Christmas or otherwise) I've heard.

Here's Patton Oswalt's discussion of it.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4328420)
But it spawned the wonderful Patton Oswalt bit about "Christmas Shoes."

EDIT: hey, I thought I got there first. but cokes.
   16. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4328423)
Squirrel Nut Zippers

God I hate this band.
   17. Blastin Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4328424)
Ha, indeed, MCoA.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4328427)
I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on the radio a week or two ago, and you know, that's probably our best modern Christmas song.


That may be true, but it's kind of a sad commentary on the quality of contemporary Christmas music. I've heard that song eleventy-billion times, and the only part of it I can remember is the title phrase.
   19. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4328429)
The one that I always look forward to hearing is "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid (the original).
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4328433)
The one that I always look forward to hearing is "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid (the original).

I like making fun of that song, especially that they let Bono belt out the most self-righteous refrain.
   21. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4328437)
#1: Little Drummer Boy as performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.

Honorable mention: Mariah, Band Aid, O Holy Night (Mormon Tabernacle Choir version), Mary's Boy Child (Boney M. version)
   22. Ron J2 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4328440)
I enjoy Tom Lehrer's Christmas Carol.

Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly,
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don't say "when."

(etc)
   23. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4328441)
The one that I always look forward to hearing is "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid (the original).

I like making fun of that song, especially that they let Bono belt out the most self-righteous refrain.
The Barenaked Ladies cover that song, and Ed Robertson does a pretty okay imitation of Bono on that line. It's quite a performance: they play it straight and make fun of it at the same time.
   24. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4328442)
I like making fun of that song, especially that they let Bono belt out the most self-righteous refrain.

Well, now, sure. But I'll gladly admit it gave me chills for a few years. Dude had a gift.


I really did like a lot of the "Very Special Christmas" albums, especially the first.
   25. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4328445)
I really did like a lot of the "Very Special Christmas" albums, especially the first.


Seconded.
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4328448)
The one that I always look forward to hearing is "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid (the original).
I'm not saying the song itself doesn't have its cheeseball appeal, but the refrain always bugged the crap out of me. Ethiopia is a majority Christian nation in which Christmas is a major holiday. They're hungry and oppressed, they haven't forgotten their religious traditions or how to tell time.
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4328451)
I like making fun of that song, especially that they let Bono belt out the most self-righteous refrain.


I love that line. It's the best line of the song. I think it really jolts the listener out of their complacency. Of course, if you think Bono is dim and not at all self-aware, you might have a different interpretation of it.

I did my best to disembowel "Christmas Shoes" on my blog a while back. A short while thereafter, while looking at the Google searches that drove traffic to the blog, I noticed that someone had arrived at that article by typing into Google "who wrote the song christmas shoes." I'm sure that she - and you know it had to be a she - was not expecting that search to return a discussion of how "Christmas Shoes" was the worst Christmas song ever, and I still feel a little bad about that.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4328457)
"Father Christmas", The Kinks
   29. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4328459)
I love that line. It's the best line of the song. I think it really jolts the listener out of their complacency. Of course, if you think Bono is dim and not at all self-aware, you might have a different interpretation of it.

I think that song is patronizing, actually. Their hearts were in the right place so I only like to mildly make fun of it.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4328469)
For me it's a tossup between the Hallelujah Chorus by the Huddersfield Choral Society, Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa, and the Barking Dogs version of Jingle Bells. It's probably a good thing that Handel didn't have a dog.
   31. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4328476)
The best rock 'n roll Christmas song is "Snoopy's Christmas," because it has the good message. The best album is Phil Spector's " A Christmas Gift for You," because he didn't mess around trying to fit his music to the season.

If you ever want to simulate Christmas in a Sun Valley ski lodge (c. 1962), try some of these:

Glow Worm - Mel Torme
Good King Wenceslas -- Mel Torme
Christmas Island - Ella Fitzgerald
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt*
This Year's Santa Baby -- Eartha Kitt
My Favorite Things - Tony Bennett
Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby
Jingle All the Way - Lena Horne
It's Christmas Time All Over the World - Sammy Davis, Jr.
Mistloe and Holly - Frank Sinatra
I'd Like You for Christmas- Julie London
Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Matin
Jingle Bells - Count Basie Orchestra
Jingle Bells Cha Cha-- Pearl Bailey
Christmas Aulde Lang Syne -- Bobby Darin
'Zat You, Santa Claus -- Louis Armstrong
What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swingin'--Louis Prima

*Don't settle for cheap imitations.**
**They're all cheap imitations.
   32. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4328481)
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt*

*Don't settle for cheap imitations.**
**They're all cheap imitations.


It may be an unpopular opinion but I like the Madonna cover of this song so much more than the Eartha Kitt original. I was listening to the Kitt version just this morning, actually, and it's so droning and dull-sounding, so much so that sometimes I get the impression that she doesn't even know what she's singing. Maybe she's just going for sultry but it isn't any kind of sultry I recognize as such. Madonna, by contrast, sounds bright and sassy and keeps things moving.
   33. Hack Wilson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4328484)
My favorite was "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" sung by a bunch of hockey players, including Bobby Hull, who were not wearing their false teeth.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4328501)
Joan Jett. Little Drummer Boy.
   35. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4328502)
I think [Do They Know It's Christmas] is patronizing, actually. Their hearts were in the right place so I only like to mildly make fun of it.


What I like is:

- it's from my youth (nostalgia scores big points when you are 41)
- it's easy to sing along to in your car (especially belting out the chorus)
- I love the tune itself. I often hum it for hours after I hear it.
- it had its heart in the right place
- of all the charity singles of that time (and in the future), it is easily the best.

I like making fun of that song, especially that they let Bono belt out the most self-righteous refrain.


According to Wikipedia, when they got together to perform the song (by lip synching) on "Top of the Pops", Bono (and U2) weren't invited because they weren't big enough stars then (only one moderately popular song). So someone else was given the task of lip synching his part.

   36. Alex Vila Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4328505)
"I'll Be Home for Christmas", by Tony Bennett when he appeared on the Daily Show is very excellent.
   37. chisoxcollector Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4328521)
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

It may be an unpopular opinion but I like the Madonna cover of this song so much more than the Eartha Kitt original.

Everclear's version is my favorite!

I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on the radio a week or two ago, and you know, that's probably our best modern Christmas song.

I love this song, but I actually prefer Olivia Olson's version from Love Actually. I can't believe she was 11 years old at the time.
   38. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4328526)
"Zat You, Santa Claus?" is an underrated Christmas standard. What other song is specifically designed for jump blues / swing bands? Smash Mouth's unhinged rendition might justify their wretched existence.
   39. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4328540)
I actually prefer Olivia Olson's version from Love Actually. I can't believe she was 11 years old at the time.
Yes. It is superior.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4328545)
- of all the charity singles of that time (and in the future), it is easily the best.


We are the World is just a wretched song.

Other than Fairytale, I like my Christmas songs well-aged. My son's school's muscial director, who is a pretty talented musician, does a wonderful job arranging some of the really old ones (God Rest ye Merry Gentleman, Angels we Have Heard on High, etc.) in a really impressive way. The downside is hearing them has left me with even less tolerance for the lightweight Christmas dittie than I had before.
   41. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4328548)
   42. SandyRiver Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4328555)
I listed the best 25 Christmas songs on my website last year. I hope that that settles this discussion. You're welcome.

Interesting that while the link included a negative comment about "preoccupation with the birth of some kid two thousand and change years ago", its #5 and #1 were very "preoccupied" with that kid's birth, albeit with wonderful tunes. Offhand, I can't think of any carol richer in orthodox Christian doctrine and Christology than "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
   43. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4328566)
I actually prefer Olivia Olson's version from Love Actually. I can't believe she was 11 years old at the time.


Agreed. I assumed that she was lip synching and someone much older had sung the song because it was so good.
   44. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4328568)
Hangovers!
   45. zonk Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4328569)
I really, really, really hate holiday music... 6 more days... 6 more days.
   46. depletion Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4328571)
Thanks for all these great posts. I heard Susyn Waldman, the Yankee's announcer, sing a cappella the Mel Torme "Christmas Song" a few years back. She was great.
   47. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4328579)
a negative comment about "preoccupation with the birth of some kid two thousand and change years ago"
In my mind I wasn't being negative there; just gratuitously snarky.
   48. chisoxcollector Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4328584)
Agreed. I assumed that she was lip synching and someone much older had sung the song because it was so good.


According to the director, Richard Curtis, her original performance was even better. He says he asked her to tone it down, or nobody would believe it was her singing.
   49. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4328585)
Ok, let's see...in no particular order:

"Pretty Little Dolly" - Mona Abboud. You can hear Johnny Carson cracking up at the end of it.

"Santa Claus is Fooling Around" - Bob Rivers. Parody version of Springsteen's take on Santa Claus is Coming to Town

"Christmas in Las Vegas" - Richard Cheese

"The Night Santa Went Crazy" - Weird Al Yankovic

"Santa's Lament" - Father Guido Sarducci

"Green Chri$tma$" - Stan Freberg/Daws Butler

I also like the Tom Lehrer piece mentioned earlier.

As for serious Christmas music, again in no particular order:

"Christmas Pipes" - Celtic Woman

London Symphony Orchestra's version of Handel's "Messiah" (although quite honestly I've never heard a really bad rendition of it, even though it's probably one of the hardest works to sing and play)

Jackie Evancho's version of "O Holy Night"

Crosby/Bowie, "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth". Jack Black and Jason Segal do a version of it that I enjoy, also.

-- MWE
   50. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4328587)
Hangovers!


"Hey Edith, get me a beeah, willya?"

-- MWE
   51. Kurt Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4328627)
For me, it's not Christmas witout Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas".

I've been pretty disappointed in the XM offerings this year. There has to be a happy medium between Ray Conniff (ch. 4) and Kelly Clarkson (ch. 17). Unless I'm missing the station for the generation(s) in between.
   52. Bob Tufts Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4328629)
"Father Christmas", The Kinks


I'm with Vlad on this one.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4328635)
he was my dad’s best friend.”


Huh? I knew Zito was a guitarist, but what's the back story behind the name-dropping here? Going caroling with the actual Nat King Cole would be pretty badass.

EDIT: Nevermind. RTFA.
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4328652)
One of my fondest memories is my college buddy blasting "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney in the dorms just before winter break. I love the delightfully cheesy song.

I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on the radio a week or two ago, and you know, that's probably our best modern Christmas song.


Also in the top five recent Christmas song is Mariah's "Christmas (Baby Come Home").
   55. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4328682)
Also in the top five recent Christmas song is Mariah's "Christmas (Baby Come Home").
That's actually really good! Darlene Love's original is impossible to top, but Mariah comes as close as anybody could, I guess.
   56. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4328690)
third, Father Christmas by the kinks
   57. beer on a stick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4328694)
This is how you do a modern Christmas song:

Los Lonely Boys

Edit: OOPS, sorry...Happy Holidays Y'all!

   58. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4328699)
I've been pretty disappointed in the XM offerings this year. There has to be a happy medium between Ray Conniff (ch. 4) and Kelly Clarkson (ch. 17). Unless I'm missing the station for the generation(s) in between.


They're also doing Holiday Soul, Country and (Classical) Pops on 49, 58, and 75.
   59. bread and rice Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4328707)
Am I the only Christmas in Hollis fan?
   60. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4328710)
They're also doing Holiday Soul, Country and (Classical) Pops on 49, 58, and 75.


And my wife is upset because they've basically taken away all of the channels that she normally plays. We've already cancelled all of our XM subscriptions except for the one in her car, and she's about ready to drop that one too.

The only reason I had it was for MLB, and now that I have MLB's iPhone app I don't need XM for that.

-- MWE
   61. Poster Nutbag Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4328714)
The best. Hands down.
   62. beer on a stick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4328718)
What did Billy Ripken have against Elroy Face?

he was my dad’s best friend.”


I think you finally solved the mystery...
   63. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4328719)
The best album is Phil Spector's " A Christmas Gift for You," because he didn't mess around trying to fit his music to the season.

Concur. The usual standards by your favorite crooners aside, this is all the Christmas music one really needs.
   64. beer on a stick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4328724)
The only reason I had it was for MLB, and now that I have MLB's iPhone app I don't need XM for that.


Have you forgotten Little Steve's Underground Garage?
   65. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4328728)
@ 62,

Heh. That question has plagued me since 1989.
   66. Kurt Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4328731)
They're also doing Holiday Soul, Country and (Classical) Pops on 49, 58, and 75.

Thanks - I did know about the country and classical stations, but have no interest in either one.

None of these stations solves my problem, which is where do I go to hear the Kinks, Hall & Oates, Band Aid, etc.
   67. Morty Causa Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4328736)
   68. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4328768)
"Home For the Holidays" by the dB's

Maybe it's just me, but I always found "Baby It's Cold Outside" to be kind of date-rapey.
   69. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4328781)
No, it's not just you. In fact it's practically everyone.
   70. villageidiom Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4328791)
The Barenaked Ladies cover that song, and Ed Robertson does a pretty okay imitation of Bono on that line.
I'm pretty sure Jim Creeggan did that line on the BNL cover version. Or maybe it was Ed Robertson imitating Jim Creeggan imitating Bono.

And Matthew E, listed to their version of Carol Of The Bells again, except picture it being played as the soundtrack to a car chase in a Bourne film.
   71. OsunaSakata Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4328799)
"Just for Now", originally by Imogen Heap and also covered by this DC girl.

Does anyone have any favorite Festivus Songs? I found a sample of mine on this page.
   72. Swedish Chef Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4328818)
   73. beer on a stick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4328820)
Courtesy of said Little Steven...A little El Vez

Feliz Navidad
   74. SandyRiver Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4328823)
In my mind I wasn't being negative there; just gratuitously snarky.

I apologize; my snark alert was switched off. Usually I enjoy snark, especially the gratuitous kind.

And I'll second "O Holy Night" by Jackie Evancho - it's a "Wow!" version.
   75. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4328861)
Am I the only Christmas in Hollis fan?


Nope. It always reminds me of my favourite Christmas movie.
   76. villageidiom Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4328872)
OK, how about instead of best song, we go through best version of song?

O Holy Night - Nat King Cole. For most Christmas songs you could simply say "Nat King Cole" and at least be in the top 5.

Winter Wonderland - Ray Charles. Tony Bennett gets an honorable mention, simply because folks probably aren't as irrational about Ray Charles as I am, and it seems fair to give a less biased answer.

Little Drummer Boy - Bowie/Crosby. Some day I'm sure I'll get sick of this version. Today is not that day.

O Tannenbaum - Vince Guiraldi Trio. Their "Christmas Is Coming" might be the best Christmas instrumental, period. But the whole mood of sitting by the fireplace, looking at the tree you just decorated, surrounded by your loved ones... This version of O Tannenbaum is the soundtrack.

Deck The Halls - The Roches. Pure harmonic fun. It's hard to make "Fa la la la la la la la la" tolerable, but by changing up the beat they sweeten it.

Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt, but the Madonna one is fun. That notwithstanding, I endorse the footnotes in #31.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams. He did a lot of Christmas music, all of it good but wanting. This one is perfect.

The Christmas Song - Trick question. Nobody can overcome the wretchedness of this song. The first verse is basically the Christmas version of "We Didn't Start The Fire", at 7 RPM. I can't stand it. I'll give the nod to Mel Torme, simply because it's his damn fault and I'm holding him accountable.

Jingle Bell Rock - This is the polar opposite. Has there ever been a bad version of this?

Silent Night - Elvin Bishop. The title suggests it should be a quiet, peaceful song. I've always preferred it to be more upbeat, and Bishop gets it right. Another acceptable answer would have been "Anyone but Stevie Nicks".

Merry Christmas Baby - Yeah, Springsteen does a good upbeat version. But I prefer the original: Charles Brown (with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers).

The Twelve Days of Christmas - I can't believe I'm going there, but... John Denver and The Muppets. The song is designed for you to get sick of it about halfway through, so it's hard to do it completely straight-faced. Hence, most of the excellent versions of this are parodies - The Mackenzie Brothers, Straight No Chaser, Bobby Rivers - but the Muppets stay just on the straightforward side. (Honorable mention to Harry Belafonte, as his version has a fairly rapid pacing the song needs.)
   77. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4328878)
If you ever want to simulate Christmas in a Sun Valley ski lodge (c. 1962), try some of these:

How do you even do this without bringing up Esquivel's Christmas album? Shameful.

Favorites unmentioned as yet:
a cappella - The Persuasions' album "You're All I Want for Christmas" and the Roches' "We Three Kings"
Any of Elvis Presley's Christmas recordings, especially "If I Get Home on Christmas Day"
Mary Margaret O'Hara, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
The 69 Boyz, "Whatcha Want for Christmas?" (a rap "12 Days of Xmas" meets Donny Hathaway in the ATL)
The Dan Band, "I Want to Rock You Hard this Christmas" (unfortunately seems unavailable in an uncensored version... but I love the uncensored version)

EDIT: oh, sure, NOW the Roches come up. A nog-of-choice to villageidiom.
   78. esseff Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4328930)
The best modern Christmas music I've heard tends to show up every year on the annual holiday mix posted at popnarcotic.com

This year's mix isn't up yet, but if you poke around in the archives for December of each year, you'll find mixes of 70-75 minutes each going back to, I think, 2005. Last year's mix is particularly recommended, especially the songs by Deleted Waveform Gatherings, Ivy, .fun, Leisure Family, Blitzen Trapper and Marah.

EDIT: One note on his track lists, if you're really checking this out. The last song on every year's mix is "Fairytale of New York" although he'll list some other hack thing as kind of an inside joke with his readers.

   79. OsunaSakata Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4328937)
Jingle Bell Rock - This is the polar opposite. Has there ever been a bad version of this?


Actually, I feel the exact opposite. This is a non-rock song written by somebody who neither understood teenagers or rock. It's like they took some random uptempo song, gave it a Christmas theme and slapped the word "rock" on it.
   80. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4328957)
I'm pretty sure Jim Creeggan did that line on the BNL cover version.
I stand corrected; thanks.
   81. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4328965)
79 baffled me because it took a while to comprehend that he's responding to someone who actually LIKES "Jingle Bell Rock". That's like saying "Has there ever been a bad episode of Mama's Family?"
   82. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4328968)
That's like saying "Has there ever been a bad episode of Mama's Family?"


The episode where Aunt Fran dies is pure comedy gold.
   83. Matthew E Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4328970)
To me, the two Christmas songs that you can't do a bad version of are "Sleigh Ride" and "Blue Christmas".

As for "Jingle Bell Rock", the Bobby Helms original is fine, but I really like Randy Travis's cover.
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM (#4328973)
I can't find the clips online, but I'd like to also note the greatness of Community's "Regional Holiday Music" (Hulu Plus) episode.

The "Santa Baby" parody, "Teach Me How To Understand Christmas", is probably my favorite.
   85. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4328977)
"Jingle Bell Rock" was written in the embryonic days of rock music, so I'm okay with it not being a rock song even by the standards of the time under which "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" was a hardcore blast of pure rock fury.

The main problem is that the guy singing it sounds like he's about 50 years old. In fact, having never heard of Bobby Helms except as the person who performs "Jingle Bell Rock", I always assumed that he WAS 50 years old and am now taken aback by Wikipedia's claim that he was born in 1933.

And the other problem is that the lyrics are moronic and were obviously written by advertising copywriters.
   86. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4328981)
And the other problem is that the lyrics are moronic and were obviously written by advertising copywriters.


Winter or summer, there's not a week that goes by without someone around me saying, "Giddyup, jingle horse, pick up your feet!"
   87. beer on a stick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4328984)
Here's a good one. Girl band from Oslo Norway, The Cocktail Slippers.

Christmas Last Year
   88. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4329031)
This and this are staples at our house this time of year.

Seems to be a theme...
   89. villageidiom Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4329038)
Mary Margaret O'Hara, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
I haven't heard that version, but to me the top version was Lena Horne.
EDIT: oh, sure, NOW the Roches come up. A nog-of-choice to villageidiom.
I SO wasn't expecting anyone else on this board to mention them.
This is a non-rock song written by somebody who neither understood teenagers or rock. It's like they took some random uptempo song, gave it a Christmas theme and slapped the word "rock" on it.
I'm with you, but not nearly as offended. To me it's akin to, well, most seasonal songs written before 1960. The lyrics are simple, bordering on insipid. It's the sacrifice bunt of Christmas songs.

Note I didn't suggest all versions are great, but rather that none are bad. There's something about its simpletonian nature that makes it impossible for a professional* musician not to do it justice, while also making it impossible to do something transcendent with it.

*Nearly every school band director at elementary or middle school levels seems to think Jingle Bell Rock will be a hit with their students. And every school band plays Jingle Bell Rock so slow that you could get through the Twelve Days of Christmas before they get to the second verse. Maybe my expectations have been set so low by them that Bobby Helms sounds better than he is.
   90. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:16 PM (#4329046)
My wife says "The Little Drummer Boy" is completely obnoxious and unbelievable. Imagine, you've just given birth and you're lying in a pile of straw with a newborn baby in your arms and a bunch of farm animals around you. And some damn kid is going to come in and bang on a drum? Not happening in 2000 years.
   91. OsunaSakata Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4329074)
To me, the two Christmas songs that you can't do a bad version of are "Sleigh Ride" and "Blue Christmas".


Everytime I hear the Fox Sports fanfare, I'm hearing "Sleigh Ride".
   92. steM oG steL Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:08 AM (#4329167)
   93. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:20 AM (#4329174)
I'm partial to Johnny Cash's version of Little Drummer Boy. Less defensibly, I like Gary Hoey's version of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
   94. PreservedFish Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:45 AM (#4329175)
The indie slowcore band Low has a Christmas album that's very good.
   95. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 20, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4329203)
We cannot discuss "Jingle Bell Rock" without giving props to this video, in which Hall and Oates play a gay couple hosting a Christmas party for their friends, including female impersonator G.E. Smith. Groundbreaking, and very brave of them for 1982.
   96. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4329209)
The Vince Guaraldi stuff gets me everytime. I liked Handel's Messiah until I was in a choir that practiced the living #### out of it for 6 weeks.
   97. Lassus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4329215)
I liked Handel's Messiah until I was in a choir that practiced the living #### out of it for 6 weeks.

And it still probably wasn't right. ;-)
   98. SandyRiver Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4329223)
I liked Handel's Messiah until I was in a choir that practiced the living #### out of it for 6 weeks.

Odd... I liked it even better after 3 months of rehearsals for our church's Christmas program. Of course, we weren't doing the whole thing, and only "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and "Halleluah Chorus" in their entirety.
   99. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4329234)
We did about half of it. After a few weeks I realized I was the only one in the choir who couldn't read music, which was fine, until I heard someone say that they wanted to do it again next year, and the other person said they'd rather not since they'd be doing it for years. I decided to quit after that.
   100. jmurph Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4329247)
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