It’s easy to list off classic songs of the season, isn’t it? Even now, the hit holiday tunes we all know by heart rush up the music charts every year, gracing radio and streaming options for the happiest season of them all.
Of course Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” — written in 1944 by Mel Torme — is currently No. 5 on the Billboard charts, while “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee (1958) tops even that chestnut at No. 3 of the top hot holiday songs as well.
But what about all those other holiday songs that never had a chance to be on a chart anywhere, except perhaps the chord charts these bands use to play live gigs? How will the odd songs, the weird ones — the tunes that just “think different” — ever get heard?
That’s why we’re here, with a bunch of weird tunes you just have to hear. Happy holidays!
Ok, sorry about that, but we really had to share this weird holiday tune starring none other than Star Wars’ comedic duo, C-3P0 and R2-D2, singing “Sleigh Ride.” Anthony Daniels comes off as a bizarre Mary Poppins in this one, trying to teach R2 to sing a song while disparaging the little bucket of bolts along the way. Bonus points go to the chorus in the background, whose members have to sing “Artoo!” as part of the melody.
“Sleigh Ride / Christmas in the Stars feat. R2D2 & C3PO” – Amazon
If you need your hip-hop Christmas fix, rapper Dana Dane is here to get down with you and rap some holiday rhymes. During the song, he meets three wise men, walks the desert in Bally loafers, breaks into a palace, and then saves Christmas by beating a sucker MC. Yeah.
“Dana Dane Is Coming To Town” – iTunes (Kids Rap version)
Danish-born King Diamond shreds the guitar as well as his voice in this weird and wonderful theater-metal song, “No Presents for Christmas,” in which he tells us, over and over, in joyful falsetto, that Christmas is here agaaaaaaaaain. Diamond has quite a vocal range, sounding like a cut-rate cross between Axl Rose and Vince Neil, and he puts it to wacky use, while his band shreds with all the bombast you’d expect from a dude that looks like Diamond. You can thank us for turning you on to that ending, too, while you’re at it.
“No Presents for Christmas” – iTunes
Uncork some old-school holiday humor with “Santa Lost a Ho,” a clever little ditty by the Christmas Jug Band. The instrumentation is vintage-inspired, and the band — which pops up every December like a crop of red-and-green magic mushrooms — is filled with some of Northern California’s best veteran musicians. Just like those bawdy jazz and blues tunes that filled the clubs before iTunes was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, the lyrics are riddled with witty double entendres. Don’t fear the jug. (Disclosure: We know the members of the CJB and they say they have no idea what happened to Santa’s ho.)
“Santa Lost a Ho” – iTunes
This one’s a bit on the maudlin side of weird, but why, John Denver, did you write and record this one? Alan Jackson even covered it, so it’s a genuine classic. It’s also incredibly awful to listen to Denver croon “I don’t wanna see my momma cry” as often as he can. If you’re sensitive to spousal abuse, you just might want to give this one a miss.
“Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” – iTunes
Who else to finish up this wacky list but Spinal Tap, the fictional metal band from Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer? This one’s got it all – killer guitar work, great backing harmonies, and a stage dancing elf. Enjoy!
Christmas with the Devil – iTunes