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ABF Wednesday:  Special Molochmas Edition!

Every year Janet and I play a Fun Tedious Game.  She puts on a CD of “Christmas music” in order to fill the house with “Christmas cheer” and the “spirit” of the “season,” and I do my crabby eyerolling Scrooge routine.  I can make it through about two weeks of “(Walking Through a) Winter Wonderland” and “Christmas Song” by singing along in Bill Murray-lounge lizard mode, bending or breaking a few notes along the way in order to indicate that I am singing in a “hep” and “jazzy” manner.  You know, “and folks dressed up like wacky Eskimos,” “and pretend that he is that coo-coo Parson Brown,” and so forth. 

But after two weeks, I’ve had enough, and no amount of parody will suffice.  If I hear “Frosty the Snowman” or “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” one more time, I will scream until they come to take me away.  Did you know that “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” is best sung by people wearing bright red sweaters with reindeers and Santas on them?  It’s true, you know.

Now, I’m not really a bah-humbug sort of fellow.  I like hearing a good “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” or “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and I think “O Holy Night” can be quite nice when it’s not too bombastic.  (Joan Baez does a fine, subtle job with “O Holy Night,” and in French, no less.) But I miss the songs I grew up with, like “Jingle Ba’al” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Moloch.” Nobody sings those anymore, because of the War on Molochmas.

So as Janet, Jamie, Lucy the Dog and I pack up for Connecticut (meeting up with New Haven Nick and the Extended Janet Clan), thence to San Francisco for the always-thrilling Modern Language Association Festival of Lights, I’m going to turn the blog over to those of you who have special Christmas holiday songs you can’t stand to hear.  To make it more fun (and yet arbitrary!), I’m going to split the unbearable songs into two categories.

Category one: “Classic” songs from the past century, including but not limited to all the atrocities named in the first two paragraphs of this post as well as “Rudolph” and “White Christmas” and Moloch knows what else.

Category two: “Rock” and “pop” songs from the past half-century that induce cringing, wincing, and boils among the unfortunates subjected to them, including but not limited to Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time,” Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas,” the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping,” and Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas.” (Don’t be fooled by those first twenty seconds of pretty little guitar-pickin’!  And be sure to watch every last second of the Elton John clip so that you can see Elton’s band literally stepping into Christmas!)

Just one thing about category two: no one, but no one is permitted to cite the Bing and Bowie duet on “Little Drummer Boy,” on the grounds that over the past thirty years this whimsical little number has gone way beyond “Classic Weird” and “Crooner and Space Alien Weird” and “Teh Awesomest Weird Duet Ever Weird” and has become a thing unto itself that none of us really know how to categorize or comprehend.

Merry Molochmas and Happy New Year to you all.  I’ll be back sometime in 2009.

Posted by on 12/24 at 10:13 AM
  1. agreed ... try

    1) Frosty the Snowman (Patti Page - Paul and Price re-mix)

    2) I Saw Three Ships - Elu

    3) Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day - Stephane Potvin & the Con Brio Choir

    merry jolly bah humbug etc.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  11:28 AM
  2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is an evil, evil song.  Beyond all the many, many bad renditions, if one actually thinks about the lyrics they spawn way too much ambiguity: do we take the protagonist’s view that this is actually santa claus straight up, in which case this is a song about a child witnessing a maritial infidelity, which is kind of evil, or do we look at it knowingly, assuming the Santa is actually the putatively absent Daddy of the song, in which case the song in but a prelude to the child’s discovery that there is indeed no Santa Clause.  And this leaves out the most ominous third reading that Daddy really is away and Mommy is chumming it up with the local rent-a-Santa.  The who thing is one ball of yick.

    OTOH, Paul Kelly’s How To Make Gravy is a very cool song:

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  12:24 PM
  3. There is something about this blog that makes my posts typo-rific.  I am not as big an idiot as my last two posts would imply.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  12:26 PM
  4. I feel your pain – I was in the supermarket yesterday for all of half an hour and I could hardly stand it – but if you think I’m clicking on any of those links you’re out of your mind.  In general I find that it’s not so much the song that gets me as the arrangement.  Like funereal tempos (the better to wring the last few drops of emotion out of the melody) or arbitrary (but decidedly not fun) key changes toward the end – one of those actually made me yelp in pain.

    I don’t even want to think about this, so I will leave the rest of you to it, and hope that we can return sometime to the intelligibility of the very idea of a Bowiean thing unto itself.

    Happy everything to everyone!  That should cover it.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  12/24  at  12:41 PM
  5. "Eyes full of tinsel and fire” is a great line.  Don’t be a hater!  On this of all days, can’t we celebrate the true spirit of Molochmas?

    Posted by Sean Carroll  on  12/24  at  12:55 PM
  6. Of course Mommy is kissing Daddy in a Santa Clause suit.  That’s how 1950’s innuendo works.  It puts some sexy imagery into your mind - in this case adultery - while denying strenuously that it’s doing it.  And note the child’s point of view, too - sex is naughty, not nasty.

    Compare it to Santa Baby, which also sexualizes Santa.  Santa Baby is farther out there - it was Marilyn Monroe, after all - but it’s close to the same idea.  The character in this one is not actually a child, but a woman acting like a child.  Naughty, naughty.

    And it ends up reassuring us that she’s not a kept woman after all, she’s really a fiancee who most of all wants to be married:

    Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring,
    I don’t mean on the phone,
    Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  01:01 PM
  7. I have to agree with Balt; any song can be musically weird, but the lyrics, aghh.  Actually, now that I’ve looked them up, here’s some alternate ones you can use to sing along with the song next time:

    I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
    And since then nothing ever can be right
    Now I’m a voyeuristic creep
    I didn’t mean to have a peek
    I sit there tormented and hope to sleep

    Later on then I got into Santarchy
    Drinking, painful sex, and having fights
    I can’t bear what I have seen
    It was the Freudian primal scene
    Mommy kissing Santa Claus that night

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  12/24  at  01:04 PM
  8. Cheating a bit because I already did some research for a similar activity at Unfogged yesterday. (Try bringing up the “Rockin’ Christmas” (or whatever it was called) radio station at Pandora.) I found Bob Seger’s treatment of “Drummer Boy” to be about the worst, also stumbled on that awful McCartney thing plus something really, really bad that I did not get the name of by Ringo. My traditonal favorite to hate is the Royal Guardsmen’s Xmas reprise of Snoopy and the Red Baron.

    But ... but learned something new and interesting about a song that is easy to abuse, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. Apparently it was originally a written as a response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  And Mark Steyn seems to have the definitive (if a bit tiresome) write up.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  01:12 PM
  9. Aha!  Someone who shares my distaste for those dreadful “pop” and “rock” Christmas songs!  May Moloch bless you (perhaps you’ll only have to sacrifice three bulls this year!).

    My thoughts:

    “Last Christmas” by Wham! (and I think someone else has covered it relatively recently) makes me want to vomit.  Preferably on George Michael’s shoes, for writing the damn thing.

    Last night I heard Céline Dion’s cover of “Happy X-Mas (War Is Over),” and I was exceptionally put out to learn such a cover existed.  Céline Dion is officially fired.

    I rather like “Greensleeves,” but why do people think it’s a Christmas song?  (I guess because “What Child Is This” uses the same tune, so people get confused?)

    I will be abundantly pleased never to have to hear “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” again.

    Happy holidays!

    Posted by Liz  on  12/24  at  01:40 PM
  10. "Santa Baby” was Eartha Kitt’s song.
    Then there is the classic Spike Jones’s “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teef,” with amusing whistling noises and all.

    Posted by Hattie  on  12/24  at  02:03 PM
  11. Before the Bing and Bowie duet version, I had a miserable temp job for Bank of America in the mid-1970s in an office that was a bubble in time in that it looked straight out of the early 1960s movie “The Apartment.” There were miles of desks in one monster room that was literally the size of a city block, no cubicles, a coffee cart rolled around to keep the troops caffeinated, and MUZAK playing a looped tape day and night. It was the Christmas MUZAK, starting in November, that finally sent me around the bend however. The 100th time that the 1,001 Strings Bossa Nova Version of “The Little Drummer Boy” came on I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I jumped on top of the desk and started dancing while miming the story for the working multitudes. That was the end of my career at Bank of America, by the way.

    Posted by sfmike  on  12/24  at  02:25 PM
  12. Japanese Jingle Bell Ladies performing Jingle Bell Boogie. Cuteness to the max! They rock too.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  02:42 PM
  13. Not to offend, but y’all go on and on about your false gods. I titter at your blasphemy. Ullr, however, forgives. The God of Primo Pow-Pow has delivered unto us a fine dump, cold and deep. To paraphrase Tony Bell, skiing gets you through times of no money better than money gets you through times of hard top crust.

    The worst Ullrmas pop song is titled “A Good Old-Fashioned Country Christmas,” written in the mid-80s by an out-of-work actor from L. A. who hoped to convert his two months grooving in relatively unpaved Wyoming into an evergreen moneymaker of a song.

    He hired a local country band—. . . and on bass: me—to record the demo. We got paid 25 bucks each to <hep-cat voice> lay it down. Three chords, a go-to-the-2 hook in the bridge. Simple.

    Actor/songwriter also hired a recording engineer at a whopping $150/hr, a guy who thought he really should be working for Toto. We arrived rehearsed—two, three takes is all we needed.

    Not-with-Toto patched my bass directly into the board, mic’d Buddy’s drums, and said “go.” He wanted just the rhythm track first—no vocals, no whanging Fenders. Buddy found it impossible to keep time without our usual racket. A click track through his cans threw him off even more.

    I escaped at the 90 minute mark, hearing later that completion took another five hours. I never did hear the song on the radio by Ernie Hank or whoever was the big country star at the time, probably because the actor could not pay the studio bill.

    The song, whose melody is so country-generic that I cannot get it out of my head to this day, was basically Steve Goodman’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” without the laughs. It had snowfall and horses and grannies and cabins and fireplaces and clear skies and starlight and trees murdered for the purest emotional intentions. It could have used a glazed ham and someone blowing the money for Timmy’s new wool socks on Jack Daniels.

    Now that I have your attention, musicians, can anyone direct me to a real gem of a jazz cut I cannot locate? It’s a very loose and cool “We Three Kings,” recorded maybe in the late 60s, some 5/4 or 17/9 time. It’s gorgeous.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  12/24  at  03:21 PM
  14. My wife and I did flee two stores this holiday season that happened to be playing Christina Aguilera’s ‘My Kind of Christmas’ cd. Her melissma easily overmatches poor, unsuspecting O Holy Night ...

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  03:40 PM
  15. "bending or breaking a few notes along the way in order to indicate that I am singing in a “hep” and “jazzy” manner.”

    Don’t forget to “lay back” and sing “behind the beat.” Instant hep. Yeah.

    Posted by Michael Drake  on  12/24  at  04:04 PM
  16. Do not miss “Well tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you” in “Do They Know It’s Molochmas?” Stay classy, Bob.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  04:13 PM
  17. I nominate the religiously-themed Christmas songs on Elvis’s Christmas Album.  Everything about these songs—the orchestration, the backup singing, and mostly Elvis’s “emotional” phrasing—is so phenomenally insincere, I’d be willing to give up “Jailhouse Rock” if only these songs would go away.

    Posted by Dr. Drang  on  12/24  at  04:53 PM
  18. 1) All of them.

    2) Even the Ramones couldn’t do a good Christmas song.  I put their attempt in the same pile as Dee Dee Ramone’s rap “career"---things I’m hoping that I can target and erase with the liberal application of alcohol to the memory centers.

    Posted by Amanda Marcotte  on  12/24  at  05:21 PM
  19. David@13: The only thing that comes to mind is a 1961 recording by Rahsaan Roland Kirk on mostly flute, but a bit of saxes too. The date’s a bit early, the time’s straight time, and it’s recorded as “We Free Kings.” But it is loose and cool.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  05:49 PM
  20. FWIW, the Modern Jazz Quartet has recorded a very nice version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as “England’s Carol.”

    Oh, and on “Little Drummer Boy,” the Bing-Bowie duo is no wierder than Marlene Dietrich all by herself singing it in cabaret style, squeeze box in the background, auf Deutsch. She also does Paff der Zauberdrachen, not a Christmas song, but every bit as strange as Drummer.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  05:59 PM
  21. Well, I give you Ian Anderson prancing through God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen amid strings and Christmas trees and lights. And they have a section of cycling key changes. Whoa!!!

    Frankly, this thing really requires some first class color commentary to accompany it - I’m thinking of a PDQ Bach album with real time commentary on the first movement of Beethoven 5.

    Lord, save me from rooting around on YouTube!

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  06:10 PM
  22. I listen to South Park, Bob Rivers, and some medieval and renaissance christmas music.  I have about 4 gb of mp3s collected over the years (just the holiday ones), but I rarely listen to them.  I hate shopping when I’m forced to hear the same old songs over and over and over.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  07:18 PM
  23. Worst song: “Christmas Shoes for Mama,” most recently recorded by Kenny Chesney. It’s the tale of a poverty-stricken young boy whose mother is dying, with a children’s chorus and ultimately, a single young boy singing the last turgid lines: “And I know these shoes would make her smile/And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.” First time I heard it, the only thing going through my mind was this: Somebody’s going to meet Jesus tonight if this song doesn’t get the f*ck off of my radio right now. The unspeakable horror awaits here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAQ8U1U-DBg.

    Posted by jb  on  12/24  at  07:50 PM
  24. just one thing about category two: no one, but no one is permitted to cite the bing and bowie duet on “little drummer boy,” on the grounds that over the past thirty years this whimsical little number has gone way beyond “classic weird” and “crooner and space alien weird” and “teh awesomest weird duet ever weird” and has become a thing unto itself that none of us really know how to categorize or comprehend.

    then i suppose you don’t want to watch don romano & andrew mack doing have a bowie/crosby christmas over @ skippy.

    more of skippy’s favs:

    camryn manheim steamroller doing have you ever had fruitcake?

    christmas singers doing grab your balls like michael jackson

    some hallucination or other singing santa in the sky w/reindeer

    two stoned guys doing oh chronic tree

    some guy doing a barack obama christmas carol

    not r. kelly doing out of the clauset

    santa & the elves doing a christmas bohemian rhapsody

    janice dickinson doing 12 days of christmas

    the kids @ the bev facey community high school singing christmas shopping (a la summer loving from grease)

    and finally, harry potter, ron weasley, draco malfoy, and albus dumbledore singing the chipmunk song

    Posted by skippy  on  12/24  at  07:54 PM
  25. sfmike mentions the insufferable, as do others, regarding the putrid muzak that seems ever present in our world.  Muzak is partly owned by a major media conglomerate that also shares stock with Clear Channel.  Muzak offers more than 85 channels of different material, some of which is surprisingly quite good (alt-indie-jam-blues-jazz-etc.) and some of which is so vile and distasteful that you leave an environment with the hint of bile filling up your throat.  I moonlight as a graveyard concierge for a major hotel to pay for my health benefits (really quite good and saves my retirement income for pure fun).  They subscribe to Muzak satellite broadcasts and for most of the year play the better channels which makes my life sweeter.  But two weeks ago, i had had enough of the xMas shit, and told the security people, that if that stuff continues to play during my shifts i may experience some sort of psychotic break and attack the decorations (we have several Iraq/Afghanistan war vets who sadly suffer PTSD and would enjoy nothing better than a night of chaotic destruction-it is not funny at all watching them crush trash and boxes and so forth).  Evidently they listened to my complaints and when i work, there is no music of this sort (captcha) at all. 

    And now can we all join in singing with John Lennon??

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  08:08 PM
  26. No one, but no one, has ever done or will ever do a listenable rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.” It is not possible.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  08:56 PM
  27. I used to think “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer” was the worst Christmas song ever, but then my mother got the Oakridge Boys’ Christmas Album, and that thing is just plain hell, and not only hell, but it’s memorable hell.  “Can chew here it? Can chew here it? Itz evreewhere, itz chriiiiiiistmas!”

    Favorite Christmas albums: The Barenaked Ladies’ Christmas album (which includes one that calls for the elves to organize a union and strike for better working conditions) and the Roches’ album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lmf4j_isjA ... mmmm good.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  09:34 PM
  28. Bill@19: That’s not the version that exists in my memory. Could be memory’s knack for making up stuff. But Kirk’s is mighty fine; thanks for the heads-up.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  12/24  at  09:50 PM
  29. Bitter Scribe beat me to it. I don’t care WHO does “The Little Drummer Boy.” I feel sure it’s the entire soundtrack in Hell.  Well, that and “Okie from Muskogee,” but at Christmas they drop that one for a few days.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  10:22 PM
  30. So as Janet, Jamie, Lucy the Dog and I pack up for Connecticut (meeting up with New Haven Nick and the Extended Janet Clan)

    Oh, Enki’s fearsome you-know-what.  Are you actually going to be in New Haven again?  Could I arrange to “coincidentally” bump into you at Nica’s, or something?  ‘Cause I need an excuse to get out of this apartment before I burst in a noxiously messy fashion Not that I’m in any hurry to tear myself away from our adorable-in-every-way infant.

    Oh, the song thing.  Sorry.  Well, basically, I wish that some time-traveling X-man would whack a young Bing Crosby.  Danny Kaye would do just fine without him.  Of course, if this instead proceeded to change the timeline to that of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I for one would consider it a fair trade.  Especially if it were a post-apocalyptic wasteland where everyone else who covered “Do You Hear What I Hear?” could be hunted for sport. (Celine Dion would have to be exempt, for obvious reasons.)

    I’d take this comment as a warning about mixing blogging and egg nog, but there’s no alcohol added, so it’s just me.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  11:37 PM
  31. I’m compelled to point out that Sparks did a fine cover of “Little Drummer Boy” for the BBC.  It’s on a bootleg called The Underwear Collection.  I like the original so take that for what it’s worth.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  01:21 AM
  32. Christmas Wrapping is awesome.  Back when nobody knew it, it was great.  I started typing this comment 12 hours ago or so and never finished.  I was going to post a Capt. Sensible Christmas song to drive you over the edge, but that wouldn’t be nice.

    Posted by Pinko Punko  on  12/25  at  06:16 AM
  33. Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall had a CBC Christmas special a few years ago and he and Joe Flaherty did the Crosby/Bowie thing, with Foley as Crosby with enormous ears. A really bad copy of it is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5TeaUnA4D4 (with a bonus of Dave Thomas as Bob Hope).

    Rudolph drives me mad, but in category 2 I’d have to say that Bryan Adams with “Christmas Time” is the very worst ever. Horrible.

    On the flip side, balt@2 is right about Paul Kelly. “How to Make Gravy” is great stuff.


    Posted by Derryl Murphy  on  12/25  at  01:25 PM
  34. Ah, the Oakridge Boys’ Christmas
    Album: It is like looking into the face of God and seeing Him smiling back and saying, “You are my most wondrous creation!”

    Posted by Michael Drake  on  12/25  at  02:07 PM
  35. Did you know that the Crash Test Dummies did an xmas record? I wish that I didn’t. It’s execrable.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  05:40 PM
  36. I don’t know about you guys, but I know I feel better knowing those “foreign” and “exotic” creatures who live in Hawaii are familiar the Christ. And our proof is Mele Kalikimaka.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  05:49 PM
  37. Janet, as a fellow person of deep sentiment, feel free to raise the volume on Winter Wonderland and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and tonight, crank up I Believe In Father Christmas!

    It is lucky for Michael that Bush and Cheney are leaving office.  For Michael just admitted how to force him to surrender…

    They said there’d be snow at Christmas
    They said there’s be peace on earth…


    Posted by Mitchell Freedman  on  12/25  at  05:53 PM
  38. I’m sorry not to play.  My brain shut down after Michael reminded me of Greg Lake.  It’s a defense mechanism.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  06:44 PM
  39. I can’t take going to bars and retailers and hearing them play Joni Mitchell’s “River” all the time.  I mean, isn’t that one about wanting to escape all this Christmassery ‘cause you’re just not in the mood?

    There’s also a song Robert Earl Keen wrote in the hope of following up the success of “Merry Christmas from the Family” --don’t recall the title, but it’s pretty awful.

    And when Joan Baez takes Emma Goldman out of “Christmastime in Washington” ‘cause Red Emma wasn’t a peacenik, I can’t get behind that.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  08:35 PM
  40. I consider myself a professional when it comes to crimes against holiday vinyl: I work at The Mall(TM) every Christmas at a kiosk that sells expensive calendars.  For 3 years I have listened to Every Christmas Song Ever Recorded(TM) for 8 hours a day, 4 days a week, from mid-October to January-something.  When I wake up in the morning, my brainwaves are playing “Let It Snow”.

    Trust me, there is nothing that prepares the senses for Bianca Ryan’s version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

    Consider yourself warned.


    Posted by  on  12/25  at  09:38 PM
  41. Huh.  I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for a couple of years now, and they have entirely different Christmas music here, all of which is of course salsa-based.  (It took me a year or two to realize some were Christmas music.)

    So I can honestly say that Little Drummer Boy is similar to, say, Boy George, in that if you don’t hear it for a while, it’s actually tolerable.  It had easily been two years since I heard any pa-rum-pa-pa-rumming, and I liked that Bowie/Crosby thing.

    Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Nuevo Año, y’all!

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  10:41 PM
  42. You poor people need to lighten up about rock, pop and novelty Christmas songs. You may be trapped in elevators and department stores with the muzak system, but at least some of you own iPods, I’ll wager, and to find better stuff with which to fill it for the holidays, visit http://www.mistletunes.com.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  10:58 PM
  43. Bill Benzon has wider knowledge and a better memory than I do, but wasn’t there a Dave Brubeck record of “We Three Kings”? (It struck me as pandering, but then Brubeck was also the guy who used to insert the college song of whatever campus he was playing at into a solo.)

    @Michael B.: if you get a chance while here in lovely San Francisco, pay a visit to Balmy Alley, a one-block street off 24th between Folsom and Harrison, and check out he murals; lunch at El Nuevo Frutilandia right there on 24th--plàtanos maduros, black beans and rice, bacalao, pernil etc.--is delicious and cheap.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  11:27 PM
  44. Joan Jett - Little Drummer Boy
    Jethro Tull - Another Christmas Song

    (Hey, Santa, pass us that bottle, will ya?)

    P.S. - Let’s the the Myth back in Mithras!

    (Hey, Mithras, pass us that bull’s severed head, will ya?)

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  12:39 AM
  45. Actually, Brave combo did a nice version of little drummer boy.  but then, that Brave Combo Christmas record is the best Christmas Record ever… I think that it might help some of you mopes get through the holiday season, and their a band that could probalby use the money, so go buy it. 

    And, I totally disagree on the Elvis religious songs form the 1957 Christmas LP.  whatever oversinging he’s doing is probably from being too sincere, not too insincere regarding that material.

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  04:32 AM
  46. BitterScribe @ 26 nailed it.  “Drummer Boy” is not only the worst Christmas song in the world, it is the worst song in the world.  Nobody can rescue that Ba’al-forsaken piece of whaledreck - not Bowie, not Segar, not the New York Philharmonic. By extension, it ruined Santa “Claus is Coming to Town” for me.  Rooty-toot-toot and rummy-tum-tum, my as!  Merciful Moloch, I need a drink and it’s not even noon (west of Greenland.)

    Happy boxing day, everybody!

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  12/26  at  12:54 PM
  47. Stevie Nicks’ Silent Night is particularly egregious. I have a huge sentimental softspot for Dr. John and Leon Redbone singing Frosty the Snowman and Peter, Paul & Mary’s A Soulin’.

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  01:31 PM
  48. There was this thing called the “Bobby Sherman Christmas Album” that came out in the early seventies. The kids next door got it as a present and played it repeatedly. As unsophisticated as I was about the ways of the world, I did recognize this recording as a seal coming off the Book of the Apocalypse. Can someone else confirm the existence of this thing? It could very well be an indelible phantasm caused by some bad eggnog (as if there is such a thing as good eggnog).

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  01:49 PM
  49. Chris -
    Watch out.  You might get what you’re after.


    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  12/26  at  03:32 PM
  50. Dear Jazzbumpa: Thanks so much. At least I know my memory is still good. But for anyone innocently happening upon the Youtube link provided in 49, for the love of God don’t play it. The damage might be permanent.

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  05:00 PM
  51. Chris -
    I listened to the first several seconds, until the sappy sweetness damned near put me in insulin shock. Before I passed out I was able to hit the stop button, but I’ll probably have the migraine until tomorrow.  Which is a real shame - I still haven’t had that drink, and now don’t dare chance it.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  12/26  at  05:55 PM
  52. Thank goodness I have the antidote to Bobby Sherman and “The Little Drummer Boy” both:


    Posted by Holiday Hanukah Robot Funk  on  12/26  at  06:02 PM
  53. As Chris and Jazzbumpa have opened up a chapter of my life i would much prefer to never remember; i can offer one small contribution of pure snark regarding the BS xMas nightmare. 

    The recording engineer for those sessions was a guy named Dick Bogert (a really pretty good guy) who had been hired by Warner Bros to engineer the first Grateful Dead album.  Dick always complained to me about those Dead sessions because the band and crew were always way too high to work.  He thought it was the worst possible experience, until he work on the BS album.  Bobby owned a large parrot that spoke voluminous profanities at the sound of Bobby’s voice.  His wife, at the time, couldn’t stand the parrot being at home alone so she made him take it to the studio during the xMas sessions (at A&M records).  The parrot would parody Bobby singing in its most foul language, requiring all sorts of retakes and other “measures” to secure just a few tracks.  For some of us, it was insanely fun, for the world it was what causes migraines, vomit, and general malaise.  So just know that behind that track on post 49, is a undead parrot singing: rum pum fuck you, rum pum fuck you!

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  10:54 PM
  54. Spyder -
    That is too good to be true!  For the record, I had a glass of cheap Pinot Noir with dinner, and the headache went away.  Go figger.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  12/26  at  11:18 PM
  55. Does girls’ anime make bad Christmas songs worse?


    And why doesn’t Hanukkah get more crappy music?


    Posted by The Constructivist  on  12/27  at  01:21 AM
  56. I can’t stand “Feliz Navidad” but my husband loves it. (I was raised with it, she wasn’t - hubby hijacking kbd)

    captcha: ‘brought’ as in, my husband is an anglo who was brought up in Puerto Rico, so the bilingual-bicultural aspect of the song makes up for his normal feelings about Christmas music, which mirror Michael’s in the first two paragraphs of this post).

    Posted by luolin  on  12/27  at  02:57 AM
  57. My son goes about the house singing “bring us some friggin’ pudding” and that somehow gets me through the whole Christmas music season.

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  09:15 AM
  58. Thank you, spyder, for supplying the long-lost missing link between Jerry Garcia and Bobby Sherman’s parrot.
    In closing, I’d like to point out that nothing else brings out my inner Bill Murray like Johnny Mathis does.

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  12:22 PM
  59. spyder,

    Great story. It makes me wish for an afterlife where Bobby Sherman and his parrot are together forever.

    The Dreidel Song can get to be pretty annoying fairly quickly.

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  06:22 PM
  60. For the gratuitous Feliz Navidad mention.  And because they are on tour again, coming to a city near you.  Word! (captcha)

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  10:44 PM
  61. Thank you! Very interesting

    Posted by Vincent  on  12/28  at  11:30 AM
  62. What a neat story. It must be that every parrot joke has a basis in reality.

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  02:30 PM
  63. I must say that there is no song I dislike more than “Silver Bells.”

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  06:55 PM
  64. <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/WUCbZhIfQbA&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/WUCbZhIfQbA&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!! hippy nonsense

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  08:08 PM
  65. whoops, html doesn’t work. It’s Merry Xmas War is Over by The PLastic Ono Band.

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  08:10 PM
  66. tiny tim,

    are you saying there is no joy in hearing Yoko’s voice singing about Christmas and Peace and War-is- over-if-you-want-to ?

    Posted by wolfgang  on  12/29  at  09:04 AM
  67. By the way, I nominate this masterpiece from Mariah Carey.

    Posted by wolfgang  on  12/29  at  09:14 AM
  68. I have to jump on the bandwagon and agree that Little Drummer Boy is the worst Christmas song of all time.  I am pretty sure it started me on the the path to atheism.  But beyond a doubt, if you get a chance to listen to Red Skelton’s 1950’s version of The Little Christmas Tree, it goes a long way to explaining the Boomer culture wars that have split this country in two.  It’s spoken word, so not technically a carol, but the combination of Skelton’s cloying little boy voice wondering why he, the little Christmas tree, has to give his life for the holiday and Santa convincing him he’s a Cold Warrior, because Santa is running into an Iron Curtain, beyond which little children are forbidden to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas makes for an unforgettable yuletide listening experience.

    Posted by  on  12/29  at  09:51 AM
  69. Until this year I would have agreed with those who say Little Drummer Boy is the worst song.  But then some evil person gave my 3 year old daughter a animatronic toy dog that sings “Feliz Navidad” at ear-splitting volume.

    Posted by  on  12/29  at  12:00 PM
  70. 68: to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas makes for an unforgettable yuletide listening experience.

    Available here on YouTube.

    Posted by  on  12/29  at  01:42 PM
  71. Because i am a huge fan of Ken Nordine (since i was a kid in the 50’s, as he was one of my dad’s faves) i remembered he had done some more recent work trashing holidaze.  One of those pieces appears on this.

    Posted by  on  12/29  at  04:34 PM
  72. I think I could safely argue that, apart from traditional carols, there is no real need to list all the bad ones, as the only remotely listenable ‘rock’ era Xmas song is Fairytale of New York byThe Pogues.

    Posted by  on  12/30  at  09:25 PM
  73. Yo Sven, do you think Michael would want to go to the Bill Graham Memorial Civic Auditorium tomorrow night??? I could probably get him passes, but then he hates that stuff.  Probably can’t see his way into NYE like that, or something just too....

    Posted by  on  12/31  at  03:51 AM
  74. the only remotely listenable ‘rock’ era Xmas song is Fairytale of New York byThe Pogues.

    Bah, humbug! Nasty, weaselly little bit of exploitation music: “Let’s write something pour epater les hipsters, that might still get mainstream airplay one or two places at Christmas.”

    Shane must’ve been sober that day.

    Posted by  on  01/01  at  12:16 PM
  75. My challenge for the Joe Paterno Professor of Penn State (away team) and the Professor of Physics and Astronomy (and interdisciplinary media communications) at USC, is for them to rise above their patently biased agendas and come together in this new year in a warm handshake of cooperation and peace; now, let’s get ready to rumble!!!

    *this is being cross-posted at Asymptotia

    Posted by  on  01/01  at  06:06 PM
  76. Chris Y, have you been checked up for having tin ears recently?

    Posted by  on  01/01  at  06:35 PM
  77. 75: Ummm, never mind ...

    Posted by  on  01/01  at  07:53 PM
  78. These tunes from The Howard Phillip Lovecraft Historical Society Chorus go right to the heart of the terror that the holidays bring to us each year.



    Posted by handdrummer  on  01/02  at  04:52 PM
  79. These tunes from The Howard Phillip Lovecraft Historical Society Chorus go right to the heart of the

    Posted by Cheap Evening Dresses  on  04/12  at  07:48 AM
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  81. I also listen classic music and kolend in holidays, I think that and the good way on spending holidays and rest

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