I have had several requests for reposts of last year's holiday comps. All of my holiday music got shuffled onto my external hard drive at the end of last year, and its massively disorganized. Better Than Fruitcake is more-or-less the same comp I posted last December, with a few changes. I originally made this comp (V.1.0) back in 2001 during the glory days of Napster. I was supposed to be finishing up the final touches on my dissertation, but instead I was using my university's bandwidth to download bad X-mas tunes. Several of the original tracks have been pulled due to band burns and/or crappy downloads. And I shuffled a few songs around from last years comp (V.1.1) because the song were annoying. Jose Feliciano? What was I thinking....
So, here is my Christmas present to you, my fine readers. An alt country comp and a mystery holiday comp are also in the works. Stay tuned.
1. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).mp3
From: A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (1963, out of print)
According to David Letterman, this is the only Christmas song that matters. It has been performed by Ms. Love on the last Late Show every year from 1986 to 2006 (didn't happen in 2007 due to the writer's strike).
2. Adam Sandler - The Chanukah Song.mp3
Buy: What The Hell Happened To Me! (1996)
For all of the good little Jewish boys and girls...
3. The Temptations - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.mp3
Buy (MP3 only): Motown Christmas (1973)
I originally heard this track on the television special A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987) where the "California Raisins" were supposed to be singing this tune. I have the show on DVD and it is awesome.
4. Charlie Brown & Linus - The Christmas Story.mp3
Buy: A Charlie Brown Christmas DVD (1965, remastered deluxe edition 2008)
Just in case you forgot what this season is all about. This is a sound bite from the original 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas television special. Think Charles Schultz would be able to get away with a non-secular message on network TV in 2009?
5. Band Aid - Do They Know Its Christmas?.mp3
From: single by the British/Irish supergroup organized by Sir Bob Geldof (1984, out of print)
Paul Young sings the opening lines, which were originally written for David Bowie who could not make the recording. Wikipedia has a fascinating account of the recording and subsequent video. Just listen to Bono wail on his entrance, "...well tonight thank God its them instead of you..."
6. Blink-182 -I Won't Be Home for Christmas.mp3
From: Promo single (1997)
I can't believe that I am posting Blink-182 on my blog. This track is for all of you jackasses out there. Actually, its a really funny song. Your mom will love it. According to our friends at Wikipedia, "The single charted at number 1 in Canada but it did not chart anywhere else. It is the only Blink-182 single to ever chart in Canada. "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" is also the longest running number 1 single in Canada. It was number 1 for five weeks in 2001 and for one week in 2002" Ha ha ha! That was months before I moved here.
7. Bob & Doug McKenzie - The Twelve Days of Christmas.mp3
Buy: Great White North (1982, reissued 1996)
Speaking of hosers. This song is even funnier after you have lived here a few years.
8. Elmo & Patsy - Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer.mp3
Buy: Dr. Demento Presents: Greatest Christmas Novelty CD (1989)
This song was originally self released in 1979 in the San Francisco area by the husband and wife team of Elmo and Patsy Shropshire, and was eventually picked up by country and top 40 radio stations in the early 80s. It can now be found in the above collection along with the McKenzie brothers song, and a bunch of other Christmas crap. I know lots of people are annoyed by this tune, but my cousins and I used to sing it as kids and we loved it!
9. Vince Guaraldi Trio - Linus & Lucy.mp3
Buy: A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording Of The CBS Television Special (1965, reissued 2000)
This track always brings a smile to my face. Interestingly, the song was played to the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour as wake-up music on Day 2 of the STS-123 mission on March 11, 2008. Personally, I need something a little stronger to wake me up.
10. David Bowie with Bing Crosby - Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.mp3
From: The Singles Collection (1993, out of print)
There is a really interesting write-up of this song on Wikipedia. In summary, it was originally recorded for a TV special in September 1977. Crosby died a month later. It was not officially released as a single until 1982. The first 40,000 pressings of The Singles Collection contained a bonus CD with this song.
11. Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight).mp3
Buy: Brain Drain (1989, reissued 2008)
Fighting is not for Christmas, its for Boxing Day!
12. Thurl Ravenscroft - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.mp3
Buy: How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 TV Film)
Ravenscroft's name was accidentally left off of the credits of the 1966 classic, so many erroneously thought that narrator Boris Karloff sang the song.
13. Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas.mp3
Buy: It's Christmas Time (2000)
According to "A Fan" posting on Amazon, "This is the 1970 edition of the Elvis Christmas album just re-packaged with a new cover and name."
Sidenote: Does anyone else think that the new Dylan album Christmas in the Heart is so cheesy that its the next "Blue Christmas?" Thank you very much.
14. Da Yoopers - Rusty Chevrolet.mp3
Buy: For Diehards Only (1995)
Ahhh...another song from my childhood. Only the Rockstar family drove a rusty 1975 International Scout.
15. John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War is Over).mp3
Buy: Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon (1998)
Originally released in 1971 as a protest song against the Vietnam War. The children singing in the background were from the Harlem Community Choir and are credited on the song's single.
16. The Kinks - Father Christmas.mp3
Buy: Come Dancing with the Kinks: The Best of the Kinks 1977-1986 (1986, reissued 2005)
This song was originally published in 1977 as a single, and received little fanfare. Its probably more popular today than it was 30 years ago, especially when today's kids are still asking Santa to get their parents a job.
17. Clark Griswold - Merry Christmas.mp3
Buy: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation DVD (1989, special edition 2008)
Another sound bite from our favorite super dad. "We'll have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny Fucking Kay." Speaking of Bing Crosby...
18. Bing Crosby - Mele Kalikimaka.mp3
Buy: White Christmas (1955, reissued 1995)
The original White Christmas was released in 1945 as a ten track 78 rpm album. "Mele Kalikimaka" was added in 1950. The 12 track 33 rpm album was released in 1955. The Andrews Sisters back up Bing on this tropical tune. The first time I heard this song was in the movie Christmas Vacation (above), the scene where Clark is staring out the window daydreaming about his pool and the hot babe from the lingerie shop swimming naked in it. Awesome.
19. MP3J - Christmastime Firestarter.mp3
Paul McCartney vs. The Prodigy (2007)
I used to have Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" on this mix (V.1.0), but all of my friends complained about how terrible that song is. And I agree, it sucks. Sucks hard. So last year (V1.1) I found this little ditty on the interwebs. I like it much better than Sir Paul's version. For more of MP3J's mixes and mash-ups, see: http://mp3j.podomatic.com/.
20. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - I Believe in Father Christmas.mp3
From: Return of the Manticore (1995 Box Set, out of print)
Originally recorded by Greg Lake in 1974 as a protest against commercialism in Christmas. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer rerecorded it in 1993 for the above box set. Ironically, I believe that this song was used in a cell phone commercial in Canada last year.
21. Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan - God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings.mp3
Buy: Maybe This Christmas (2002)
Now I can't believe that I am putting the Barenaked Ladies on my blog. Just think of it as my contribution to the Canadian Content Laws. Plus, its a good song.