Our Completely Unscientific List of Best Christmas Songs Ever
This was a post we put together with some friends and published in 2012. Since we loved it and it’s Christmas time again, we wanted to run it back. Merry Christmas everyone!
It’s Christmas time and we here at JMUSB definitely have the spirit. So we decided to put a list of a few of our favorite Christmas songs of all time with the help of some friends of the blog. The resulting list of songs is below, including some brief thoughts from whomever suggested each one. We’re referring to it as the JMUSB list of best Christmas songs ever. Sounds official.
Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley
It’s Elvis in all his glory. There is also a ‘musical’ joke in that the notes he sings are ‘blue’ (minor thirds or something) pretty nerdy I know.
Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
Jose Feliciano was the cool blind guitarist way before Jeff Healey ever came on the scene in the 1980s. This is one of my favorite Christmas songs for many reasons, first and foremost that it is an amazingly fun bilingual sing-along. My three year old daughter already knows this song and loves it. It also has a great uptempo beat, particularly by Christmas song standards (with a nod to “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC, of course). I have this on wax, which has an amazing painting of Jose Feliciano on the cover, wearing his trademark sunglasses. For what it’s worth, the album also features his cover of the Doors’ hit “Light My Fire.”
The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Bing Crosy & David Bowie
Legend has it that Bowie didn’t like Little Drummer Boy but agreed to do it b/c his mum was such a big fan of Bing’s. It was recorded on 9/11/77, 10 days after I was born and just five weeks before Bing died.
White Christmas by Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby makes his second appearance on the list, with this classic suggested by our buddy Jari.
Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Our friend Poz threw this one out there. Good song and the video above features a relatively coherent looking Tom Petty.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen
The first time you hear it on the radio each year signals the official start of the holiday
season. Just because its Christmastime, doesn’t mean you have to stop
rocking. There is always room for Rock and Roll. Bruce Springsteen
strikes a nice balance between festive and rockin on this track.
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
Just seems to be in any good Xmas movie. Has a cheesy sax solo too.
What Christmas Means to Me by Stevie Wonder
This is another one that got played a lot in my house. My parents also let us drink wine or a cocktail on christmas eve. This is a song we danced to and sung along to until we passed out. I was a lightweight at age 10.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love
Originally released on the amazing 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, she still performs this classic on Letterman each Christmas, and I’m a sucker for it every time.
River by Joni Mitchell
Just a flawless four minutes. Also in my favorite movie, Almost Famous, even though Cameron Crowe didn’t include it on the official soundtrack because the album “Blue” came out a couple years after he meant for the Stillwater story to take place. Side note: someday a rock band will figure out that remaking “Carrie,” the best song from that album. Could be unreal.
Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys Christmas Album was in heavy rotation in my house growing up. I go back and forth between this song, Frosty the Snowman and The Man With All the Toys, when deciding on my favorite track, but this one hits the mark today.
Christmas in Hollis by RUN-DMC
As suggested by practically everyone who grew up in the 80s. Because it’s awesome.
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio
I think this stands on its own merits.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Ray Charles
Everyone knows the words to this kids song. And practically everyone things that they can sing it. Most of us can’t. Ray Charles definitely could.
Mrs. Claus’ Kimono by Drive By Truckers
OK, I just can’t resist one more to the more musically obsessed portion of our audience…Drive By Truckers with a sincere redneck originial Mrs. Claus’ Kimono.
Obviously there are many more great songs, but we had to draw the line someplace. We’re leaving out some amazing tunes by artists such as Otis Redding, The Ronnettes, Hall & Oates, Mariah Carey (you can admit you like those last two), and others. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments and have a Merry Christmas.