Christmas Lights – Coldplay (2010)
Remember when Coldplay were the new cool band? Now, because they are HUGE, the cool police say they ain’t so cool anymore…but we don’t care about the cool police, do we? It’s been more than two years since Coldplay’s last studio album but there has been a lot of chatter about the new one which, seems to be nearing completion, and the band once again chose to work with the mad musical genius Brian Eno. But in the meantime they have released a Christmas tune called Christmas Lights, also produced by Brian Eno, which has just enough melancholy and bleakness with a hint of hope to sound exactly how you’d expect a Coldplay Christmas tune to sound. Happy Holidays to everyone from Coldplay….even the cool police.
Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan (2009)
I wonder what Adam Sandler thinks about Robert Zimmerman releasing a Christmas album instead of spreading Hannukah cheer? Of course we are talking about a Jewish born singer/songwriter by the name of Bob Dylan,who last year released his first Christmas album called Christmas In The Heart in which all his royalties were given to three different charities. Bob is a man of many words in song, but not so many in conversations and in a rare interview about the album he said that he recorded Christmas songs because “they were part of my life, just like folk songs”. In case you didn’t know, between 1978 and 1981, Dylan became a born-again Christian, so when asked if he believed the themes in the Christmas songs he was singing he said, “I am a true believer”. YES! Now finally it feels like I understand him (how do you indicate sarcasm in blog form?).
Whatever the case, the track Must Be Santa is a classic holiday tune, however Bob was inspired not by the original but by a Polka version he heard by a Texas band called Brave Combo. In Bob’s polka-vibed version, the difference is that he sings the names of recent US presidents instead of all the reindeer’s, because he’s Bob Dylan. But mostly because it’s fun to rhyme Nixon with Vixon and Clinton.
Frosty The Snowman - Leon Redbone and Dr John (1989)
Leon Redbone is a Canadian legend!!! Accomplished musician and comedian who has earned a cult following through the years, but lets not for one minute forget why we love him: his voice. He has become best known for his interpretations of old Tin Pan Ally tunes like his version of Hoagy Carmichael’s Lazybones, but a newer generation will probably know him as the voice of Leon The Snowman in the movie Elf and also as the OTHER voice singing “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” with Zooey Deschanel in the end credits. His inclusion on movies like Elf is because of the cult following he has earned over the years appearing on Saturday Night Live, as a regular guest of Johnny Carson and he sang the theme song from Mr. Belvedere for the love of the Lord! In 1987, when we wasn’t busy making a fortune as the Budweiser beer guy, he released an album called Christmas Island, which included a classic duet with the legendary Dr. John on Frosty the Snowman.
Christmas Day – Squeeze (1979)
Remember that song from the 80’s called Cool for Cats by the UK band Squeeze? The video had the backup singing/dancing girls with the Squeeze leather jackets? You definitely know their tune Tempted. Ya know, “Tempted by the fruit of another”…? I’m not ashamed to stand behind this song and call it one of the best of the 80’s (judge me if you want). However, even before that little North American break out gem came along, in the late 70’s they had some monster UK radio success and pretty much every single they released did well for them – except their song Christmas Day. I guess people weren’t quite ready for a new wave take on the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
I Want To Rock you Hard This Christmas - The Dan Band (2005)
One night at a wrap party as part of the cast of Stom, Dan Finnerty got up and sang a drunk karaoke version of I Am Woman, which was the beginning of a new life for him. That drunk performance snowballed into a cult following in L.A. of his performances of classic, strictly female-fronted songs in which he added lots and lots of cursing.The Dan Band was born! The Dan Band blew up because of an appearance in the movie Old School, and the rest is Dan Band history. Cursing, drinking and music…sounds exactly like the holidays to me! And I would be lying to myself if I didn’t say that he had me at “I wanna fill your stocking with my candy can of joy”. I like Candy Canes.