Gather the family around for an alternative Christmas singalong.
In the second of our Christmas cultural guides, following on from movies, we bring you a handful of tunes that will reaffirm your faith in the Christmas record. Forget the usual stream of awfulness that is pumped out in every shop, bar and restaurant throughout the festive season – here are a selection of tunes that will make you wish it could be Christmas every day!
The Reverend Glen Armstrong – Even Squeaky Fromme Loves Christmas
“…this song may grate on the friends of Sharon Tate…” Yes, Detroit’s leader of the Dirty Clergy sings this hymn to everyone’s favourite Mansonette, Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, as she enjoys Christmas time in jail. A jolly little number that the whole Family could enjoy.
Dora Bryan – All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle
From 1963 comes this rather grating novelty tune from Dora Bryan, 39 at the time and so arguably a bit old for asking mum to fetch her John, Paul, George or Ringo. Surprisingly, this actually made the charts, showing that even cheap cash-ins could benefit from Beatlemania.
Richard Cheese – Last Christmas
Showing that some things are too much even for Lounge Against the Machine, Richard Cheese makes short work of the Wham festive atrocity. You can find more (and longer) festive favourites on his wonderful album Silent Nightclub.
The Goodies – Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me
The Goodies – Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden – had a surprisingly successful musical career in the 1970s, producing several hit novelty singles like The Funky Gibbon. Here, they sing the story of a “most immoral Santa” in the form of a leering, pub singalong song that would probably give BBC executives kittens (or Kitten Kongs) these days.
Little Cindy – Happy Birthday Jesus
Let’s get back to what Christmas is really about – the birth of our Lord and Saviour. Here, Little Cindy takes time out from inbreeding and KKK rallies to say a ‘birthday’ prayer to Jesus (no-one tell her he wasn’t actually born at Christmas!) and to lament his treatment at the hands of “those awful naughty men”.
Little Cindy ends her heartfelt prayer by wishing for death (“Momma sez if I was good you’d let me live with you”), and you might feel the same way after listening to this.
Michelle Cody – Merry Christmas Elvis
We’ve wished Happy Birthday to Jesus, and now it’s time for another annoying brat to sing a song to someone worshipped by idiots across the world. Elvis knocked out some decent tunes, but the tribute records that cashed in – I mean, paid homage – after his death were all shocking and if he wasn’t so fat – or indeed, if he wasn’t STILL ALIVE! – he’s be spinning in his grave to hear them. Here Michelle Cody dreams of singing in Heaven with the Big Man (we all dream of her doing that, the sooner the better!). A real thrill for Elvis that – after years of superstardom to have to face eternity dueting with catawauling kids? Sounds more like Hell to me.
You have to love the ending, where she asks Elvis to say Happy Birthday to Jesus. Seriously, you think Elvis has nothing better to do in the afterlife than to be your messenger? Take a tip from Little Cindy and tell him yourself!
Billy Idol’s Happy Holidays
Some things are just wrong, and this is certainly one of them. Billy Idol singing God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, Frosty the Snowman, Silent Night and Here Comes Santa Claus? Holy crap!
Idol delivers these songs in straight-faced style, if not exactly with a straight face, on his 2006 recording Happy Holidays. Admirably, Idol makes these songs seem sleazy just by singing them! Don’t believe us? Check out his version of White Christmas…
Now there is a man who is certainly having a happy holiday, though his whole demeanor suggests that it’s at someone else’s expense. Seriously, if you told me that there was a dead hooker just off camera in that video, I’d believe you.
The CD is sadly out of print, but if you have money to burn, you can still buy it for that festive family get-together – assuming you really hate your family and never want them to speak to you again of course.
UPDATE: Steven Sheil has also suggested this festive tale of drunken abuse from Mr Idol, which comes complete with a ‘no-expense-spared’ video:
Nothing says Christmas quite like the sound of cats singing, so we can all thank the Gods for Jingle Cats.
In the grand tradition of The Singing Dogs (who, as I’m sure you know, recorded assorted Beatles songs in the way that they should be heard) comes this heartwarming version of that Boyd Rice classic, Silent Night.
Just the thing as you relax in front of a warm fire with a festive ale, mince pie and dead turkey. Enthusiasts can find more here.
Kunt and the Gang – Jesus (Baby with a Beard)
One for the Christians among you (if you want to have a stroke), this jolly festive tune from the mighty Kunt tells the story of The Messiah as only he can! From his Christmas album Kiss You Under the Camel Toe.
Christopher Lee – A Heavy Metal Christmas
Christopher Lee’s late career swerve into the world of heavy metal was one of the things in life guaranteed to make any sane person grin, and his two festive singles – consisting of Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Hell (“it’s a bit more naughty”) and the less festive My Way – are things of wonder. Samples only here (you can buy the full songs and more here), but enough to get you to slip into your Slayer Christmas jumper and bounce around the house!
Manic Street Preachers – Ghost of Christmas
Worth checking out even if you’re not a fan (and I’m not), this 2007 track was a free download giveaway on the Manic Street Preachers’ website, and is as wonderful a Christmas single as you’ll ever hear. A tongue-in-cheek, loving tribute the Christmas in the 1970s, with a Roy Wood style singalong, bouncy tune that you can just picture on Top of the Pops, and lyrical references to Morecambe and Wise, Tomahawks, Scalextric, Hot Wheels and ‘sleeping through the Queen’s Speech’, this is festive nostalgia run rampant!
Mediaeval Babes – Of Kings and Angels
Read our full review
Read our full review
The Raveonettes – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Danish ethereal electro indie poppers The Raveonettes were tipped for big things the best part of a decade ago, but never quite made it. But with this tasty Phil Spector cover, from their 2008 Wishing You a Rave Christmas EP, you can see what impressed some critics at the time.
William Shatner – Shatner Claus
Yes, William Shatner has a new album out, and as regular readers will know, we always find that a cause for celebration. Shatner Claus sees the great man teaming up with the likes of Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons to produce some unique versions of assorted festive favourites, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
While not as contemplative as earlier works like the genuinely remarkable prog album Ponder the Mystery, this is still good Christmas fun.
Frank Sidebottom – Christmas is Really Fantastic
The mighty Frank, seen here performing his festive favourite. It’s really fantastic, as you might expect.
Smoke Fairies – Wild Winter
Read our full review
The Sonics – Don’t Believe in Christmas
If you really want to be rocking around the Christmas tree, check out this masterpiece from Sixties garage heroes The Sonics, who offer a refreshingly cynical take on the season. Magnificent!
TVX Babes – Coming for Christmas
Oddly not a hit when released a few years back (as a counterpoint to a No More Page 3 single that also, thankfully, tanked), the adult movie stars of Television X and Pornhub offer up this holiday ditty. It features Brooklyn Blue on chavvy lead vocals, backed by Angel Long, Jess West and Victoria Summers, and with former rock star (really!) Ben Dover on drums. You can watch 40 seconds of it below, and that’s probably as much as you’ll ever need. The lyrics, should you wish to sing along, are “Have I been a naughty girl? / Have I been a naughty girl? / There’s only one way that we can find out / Let’s go sit on Santa’s lap / See what’s inside his sack.” Pure poetry, I think you’ll agree, and some of the profits (assuming there were any) went to the Sex and Censorship campaign, so all in a good cause.
Mae West – Wild Christmas
Mae West was 73 when she recorded this rather extraordinary LP – her second ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ album – in 1966. As anyone who saw her 1978 movie Sextette can attest, she didn’t let her advancing years get in the way of her salacious approach, and the results are inevitably strange, as she ploughs through classics like Santa Baby alongside oddities like Put the Loot in the Boot and Santa, Come Up to See Me. You’d expect it to be awful, and perhaps it is – but I’ll take this over Wham any day. There’s an undeniable burlesque vibe to this – strippers looking for festive soundtrack could do worse. Here’s the whole LP:
The Greedies – Merry Jingle
Thin Lizzy (Phil Lynott and Scott Gorman) meets the Sex Pistols (Steve Jones and Paul Cook) in this 1979 novelty hit.
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