Top 5 Christmas Songs


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… no seriously, we haven’t seen our lawn since November 13th. If the weather keeps up like this we won’t see it again until sometime in April. Oddly, I am OK with this. Grass is so over rated, there are few crops that require as much tending as a suburban lawn. Honestly, I could raise a half acre of corn, or soybeans and it would be less of a hassle. For that matter if I planted a half acre of hemp it wouldn’t only be maintenance free, it would also be nicely profitable. Hmm…

So barring an unforeseen heat wave, things are looking good for a White Christmas. And as we all know, Bing Crosby has wished for years that all of our Christmas’ be white. Well, not really what with him being dead and all, I just mean every 90 minutes when they play it on the radio.

Which is a very long, and inelegant segue into the topic of today’s post. The Top Five Christmas songs.

Who’s top five Christmas songs?

Mine.

Not the Top 5 All Time. Not the Top Five most requested. Not the Five Best Selling. No, this is my top five songs that as of this exact moment in time. This list is subject to change without notice, your use of this information is entirely at your own risk and it is your sole responsibility to evaluate the usefulness of all information. See http://www.20prospect.wordpress.com for contest rules. This offer not valid in the State of California. etc…

#5 – Here comes Santa Claus – Elvis. Mom had a copy of the Elvis Christmas album in the big console stereo in our front living room. This album, John Denver, and an assortment of Firestone Christmas Albums pretty much made up the Christmas soundtrack of my childhood. I love Elvis’ version of this song. It’s like Elvis impersonating an Elvis impersonator. Very meta. My lip starts twitching every time I hear it, and by the end I am singing along in full on Elvis voice as the kids scream for me to stop singing.

#4 – Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters. When he wasn’t golfing, pimping orange juice, or beating his children, Bingo recorded every Christmas song to ever be burned into our collective psyche by years of repetition. This isn’t one of them. It’s a duet with the Andrew Sisters. (Come to think of it, there were 3 of them, so is this a duet, or a quartet?) I can tell you that whenever I hear this song, it takes me back to the late 40’s, when I couldn’t get leave for Christmas, but had to spend it in Pearl Harbor with a tall sexy dame who wore stockings with seams on the back and her hair in long finger curls. No wait, I think that was just a movie I saw. Sorry. But if it had been me, this is the song we would have swayed to as we shared a night in each other’s arms in the land where palm trees sway.

#3 –Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio. 1965. Charlie Brown Christmas. The pinnacle of Christmas. I believe that western civilization peaked at the very moment that CBS aired the show. Sure, the animation was crude, but the story touched all the heartstrings and came to define what Christmas is really about, Charlie Brown. Whenever I hear Linus & Lucy I have to restrain myself from jumping to my feet and emulating the dance moves of the Peanuts gang. So which dancer was your avatar? Mine was the kid doing the Frankenstein.

#2 –Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas – John Denver. I have done ample research on this one, and all the evidence seems to confirm that John Denver was indeed serious when he included it on his Christmas album. I know, it’s hard for a Gen Xer like me to believe, but he actually sang this one straight up without a hint of irony, or camp. How can you not love and respect that? I always have felt that this was John’s unspoken tribute to Bing Crosby.

#1 – Shake Hands with Santa Claus – Louis Prima. This is as obscure of a Christmas song as you can find. I don’t think I have ever heard it on the radio. If it hadn’t been included on a free gift CD from Eddie Bauer that I came across in the mid-90’s during the Louis Prima Zoot Suite Revival, I’d have never heard of it. But thankfully I stumbled upon it, and it is without a doubt the swankiest, swingiest, coolest 3 minutes of Christmas this jive cat has ever heard. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a smoky, 50’s nightclub in Vegas, with a sweaty Louis and his Orchestra blasting away on stage. Hot dayum!

So what are your favorites?

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29 thoughts on “Top 5 Christmas Songs

  1. Have you heard “What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swinging?” by Louis Prima? Excellent!

    I also love “Dig That Crazy Santa Claus” by Ralph Marterie and His Orchestra and “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” by Dean Martin.

    • Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to search online for that one.

      I have a copy of Tony Bennett singing “I’ve got your love to keep me warm”, but the Deano one sounds cooler, because, well, obviously.

  2. That’s a solid top five, although I must admit that I’m about to go in search of the John Denver song. I’ve never had the pleasure of hearing that one before.

  3. John Denver! *swoon* The ONLY christmas album I did out every year is the John Denver Muppet Christmas album. I’m doing “When the River Meets the Sea” for Neil’s chrismawhateverakuh thing. If I get it recorded that is…

    • Awesome! I can’t wait to hear it! Mrs. 20 Prospect & I are geeks for John Denver. Seriously, he’s a guilty pleasure. It must be the Muppets.

  4. Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song! Whenever I hear it, I get right into the spirit of the holidays. And, yes, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Linus and Lucy. I right away start zig zagging around the house, playing my air piano with so much gusto that my head starts to heat up and I suddenly begin to resemble what someone might look like right before an aneurysm strikes.

  5. Wow. Your list is determinedly anti-populist. Imma gonna ruin that for you: Christmas Shoes!

    I may steal this idea and write a post to properly respond to the challenge you have thrown down.

  6. I worked at the mall for many years and many holiday seasons. Up until now, I’ve been certain that I know EVERY Christmas song ever written because I’ve heard them ALL, on a track, over and over and over again. But the Louis Prima was new for me. So thank you. Great song, and since it’s unfamiliar, it doesn’t make me want to vomit.

    • No problem. You do the dreaming and I’ll do the scheming… shake hands with Santa Claus.

      Um, sorry. I got a little carried away.

  7. I listened to that John Denver tune, and while it sucks, just think about it from the drunken dad’s perspective. It starts to be ok. Perhaps that sobbing mother was just a bit too much passive aggressiveness for Dad, and he had to drink away all memory of her tears. What if little Johnnie was a total turd and Daddy really couldn’t stand the little bastard? Makes the over imbibing just that more understandable. Get off Dad’s back, he’s had a hard day, so what if he wants a scotch, he deserves a scotch, it’s not like he does this EVERY night, just back the F of off, don’t look at me that way…..

    But Christmas Shoes is still the worst. The absolute worst. That guy should be shot. What if Momma does meets Jesus tonight? Do you really think Jesus gives a rats – butt about her Walmart shoes?

  8. The first 12 years of Christmases in my life were themed solely and completely to the Elvis Christmas record on loop.

    On loop.

    Over and over.

    But I still like it. I just ahudder a little, and occasionally end up in the fetal position under the tree. But it’s rare.

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