One of the things I liked to do during the Christmas holiday while I was growing up in Germany was to listen to my favorite radio station. At that time of the year, the DJs would frequently play song requests from listeners. Not surprisingly, Christmas pop and rock songs were pretty popular. Some of these tunes became seasonal anthems, such as Wham’s Last Christmas, Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time and Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas.
Sure, Christmas is big business, including in music, so one could be forgiven to be a bit cynical about music artists sand record companies all for a sudden discovering Jesus and Santa. While I fully recognize that, I still think there are some great Christmas rock and pop songs that have come out over the years – in fact, make that over the decades!
Below are clips of some of my favorite such tunes in no particular order: From John Lennon’s haunting Happy Xmas, to Chuck Berry’s rockin’ & rollin’ Run Rudolph Run, to Run-D.M.C.’s cool rap Christmas in Hollis, to AC/DC’s hard-charging Mistress For Christmas, to a fantastic live version of Feliz Navidad with José Feliciano and Daryl Hall, to the unforgettable James Brown and his funky Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto, Christmas rock and pop tunes come in all styles:
Happy Xmas (War is Over) (John Lennon)
Run Rudolph Run (Chuck Berry)
Fairytale of New York (The Pogues)
Christmas in Hollis (Run-D.M.C.)
Mistress For Christmas (AC/DC)
Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano)
Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto (James Brown)
Wonderful Christmas Time (Paul McCartney)
(It’s Gonna Be) A Punk Rock Christmas (The Ravers)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Tracy Chapman, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, John Popper, Run-D.M.C. & Vanessa Williams)