Ten Lesser Known Xmas Songs

Fancy becoming a millionaire every April Fools Day?  Then write a Christmas classic and let the royalties do the talking.  Actually, you’re too late; the golden era of Xmas pop songs ushered in by the reissue of Phil Spector’s LP and Lennon’s Happy Xmas in 1972 has gone to be replaced by X Factor winners, novelties, charidee crud and Facebook campaigns.  This means the 25 odd big seasonal hits that we know and know and know will never be supplanted.  Being driven insane by endless repetition of the SladeWizzardMariahWhamJonaMacca brigade? Well you’d have to be a committed hermit to avoid the burbling fairy-lit soundtrack of December but here are ten more obscure shots at the Christmas charts that rarely if ever see the inside of a garden centre.  They are not all classics, but it’s exactly their lack of popularity which is good for soothing those of us on the brink of a killing spree in DFS.  In no particular order.

1.  Billy Idol – Yellin’ At The Xmas Tree

The former Gen X man disgraced himself with an entire album of sentimental pine scented guff for the US market in 2007 but this is from his “serious” 2005 solo album.  It’s obviously autobiographical and rocks hard, though the lyrics tail off lamely as the song goes on.  This is a xtranormal style clip illustrating a less than harmonious suburban Christmas.  Check out Billy Childish’s “Christmas 1979” if this ain’t bleak enough for you.

2.  Captain Sensible – One Christmas Catalogue

Another ex-punk jumps down the chimney.  Better than Happy Talk and a hit of sorts but 1984 was a very competitive year so now largely forgotten.  Came with a free plastic beard (it says here).

3.  Squeeze – Christmas Day

After two massive hit singles in 1979, the Deptford funsters rounded their year off by relocating the nativity to sarf Lahndan.  It wasn’t very good, was hardly played on the radio and sold zip.  David Jason should do a cover immediately.  The video? Chaos, frankly.

4.  Gilbert O’Sullivan – Christmas Song

Ah go on Sullivan will you not play yer Christmas song?  This was a hit in 1974 but is almost never heard today, which shoes to go that Gilb remains the forgotten man of sensitive Elton-lite pap.  Cheese factor 11 of course but surely preferable to Mistletoe and Wine for the quintillionth time?  But just try getting clearance to perform matily on TV with a kids choir today.

5.  Kinks – Father Christmas

Ray Davies’ cynical comment on materialism masquerading as a comedy song about the violent mugging of one S Claus.  Refreshingly direct and punky after endless flabby vaudeville concept albums, but Mull of Kintyre it ain’t so no airplay for you sir.

6.  Cheap Trick – Come On Christmas

In 1995 America’s answer to Wizzard released a reworked version of their own “Come On” with a seasonal slant on a single to benefit Chicago charities.  Good on them and even it may not have taxed them too much to knock this up, it’s the thought that counts.  Have a satsuma.

7.  Cyndi Lauper – Early Christmas Morning

Madonna’s stunt double delivered a whole album of winterval schmaltz, but this is all you need to hear.  This wins out through sheer boisterous enthusiasm and Cyndi delivers a payload of good cheer like an attack drone with tinsel on it’s fins.  Was only a single in Japan so maybe they complain about it being overplayed in Tokyo malls.

8.  Manic Street Preachers – Christmas Ghost

If you tolerate this, Santa will be in eyeliner next.  Not normally backward in coming forward the Manics loudly trumpeted their Christmas single in 2007 and then bottled it – it dribbled out as a free download.  It’s not terrible, a little like if someone had secreted a New York Dolls album in Roy Wood’s stocking, but lacking any trace of drugs, politics, anorexia and self-harm, it’s just not appropriate for the season – arf!

9.  George Thorogood – Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas

Yeah how you doin’ man?  Alright I’m havin’ a rock ‘n’ roll Christmas man!  What’s that dude?  Well you take a 12 bar turkey and stuff it with pounding drums, a squealing sax and Chuck Berry’s leftover riffs and then cook it for 3 minutes at ass mark 6!  What does it taste like?  B-b-b-bad to the bone!!!

10.  Pugwash – Tinsel & Marzipan

Tune! Strongly influenced by XTC’s Thanks For Christmas (another lost gem).  OK no seasonal pop song is going to enhance reputations or change the world (especially not Band Aid) but it can put a big grin on your face and force you to idiot dance at the work Xmas do.  If it does, quit while you’re ahead.



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