December 2015


PaulSimon-Front#20 – Paul Simon – “Mother and Child Reunion” – (1972)

This song, which hit #4 in the U.S., has a weird reggae element to it and Paul Simon has said that the title comes from a chicken and egg dish on a restaurant menu. Which is a little disturbing, but darkly hilarious. This was Simon’s second solo album and this is one of two amazing songs from it. That reggae bit, though, gives this one the edge.

220px-ExileMainSt#21 – The Rolling Stones – “Tumbling Dice” – (1972)

I originally had another song here but turns out it came out in 1970 so I had to replace it. And then I realized that Exile on Main St wasn’t represented and it’s considered on of the greatest albums of all time. It came down to this and “Let it Loose.” Both songs have an amazing bluesy feel and this one was just more popular (and is more upbeat). It was a top 10 hit in the U.S. and the U.K. and is a prime example of what the Stones could do when firing on all cylinders.

220px-Single_Gene_Autry-Rudolph,_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_coverGene Autry – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – (1949)

Gene Autry made a career off of novelty records. Sure, he was the singing cowboy but his Christmas songs are what stood the test of time. Autry didn’t write this song (it was written in 1939) but his version is what made it a song sung in every household. In fact, this song was a #1 hit. Interestingly, this was the only #1 hit to fall completely off the charts from the top spot – a dubious honor, but understandable considering its content and timeliness. Merry Christmas. 

R-4488498-1366321031-4796.jpegBing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters – “Mele Kalikimaka” – (1950)

You don’t have to Hawaiian to appreciate this song. Bing is crooning in his classic style and The Andrews Sisters are great too. It really takes you back to this era when Hawaii was still sort of a new phenomenon. But this song is perfect for any Christmas when you’re under palm trees and near an ocean. Many people have since recorded this but this version remains the best. 

41zwtweOpeL._SL500_SY300_Da Yoopers – “Rusty Chevrolet” – (1987)

Radio stations used to play this. Nothing quite says “The Midwest” like a parody Christmas song sung in a heavy Northern Michigan accent. Nothing also says “The Midwest” like saying: I remember how hilarious this was when I was younger and it’s one of those parodies that kids pick up on and find hilarious to sing in place of the real version of “Jingle Bells.”

220px-A-Fresh-Aire-Christmas-CoverMannheim Steamroller – “Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing” – (1988)

Yes, this sounds like church music. It’s the opening track to Mannheim Steamroller’s 1988 Fresh Aire Christmas – one of the best-selling Holiday albums of all time. This is little more than a prelude to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

BBXmasCoverThe Beach Boys – “Frosty the Snowman” – (1964)

Gotta love the Beach Boys. They were able to define summer and winter. There are many version of this song, but this is among the best. Why? Because of those vocals! Plus, Christmas music from the 1950s and 1960s is just better. There’s no denying that. And like every Beach Boys song, this song is short – coming in under two minutes.

220px-Home_For_Christmas_-_Amy_GrantAmy Grant feat. The Children’s Choir & The London Studio Orchestras – “The Night Before Christmas” – (1992)

This song, written by Carly Simon, isn’t exactly one you hear on the radio but it’s one I’ve heard a thousand times. The choirs in the background add a nice effect – even though it’s all kids… whose parents probably spent any royalties that came their way. Yay, exploit children for Christmas.

51FyVVE-ZtL._QL70_Sean Morey – Dear Santa – 2002

If “The Bob and Tom Show” isn’t aired in your market, they’re a morning radio show that’s really popular in the Midwest. And they have a whole bunch of classic clips. This one is from comedian Sean Morey singing about what kids all around the world ask Santa for and how Americans ask for ridiculous things and everyone else just wants heat and food (or weaponry).

Foxworthy_crankupJeff Foxworthy – Redneck 12 Days of Christmas – 1996

Jeff Foxworthy was a comedy sensation in the 1990s. He could’ve put “redneck” on anything and made a boatload of money. One thing I like about this song is that it was written by the late comedian Tim Wilson, who was a really funny guy. This song was so golden that it charted on the Hot Country Singles chart five consecutive Christmases – in the top 40 each year, peaking at #18 the winter of ’95/’96. Pretty impressive.

41EA4MJE5NLBob Rivers – Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire – 2000

It’s Christmas time again and we’ll start off our annual Christmas song list with a few spoofs. Some people find them lame but this one is so well done it’s hard not to like. It’s a great, slow, Nat King Cole-style and it takes on David Seville’s classic Christmas song. It’s pretty good.

220px-LisaLoeb_FirecrackerLisa Loeb – I Do – 1997

I like Lisa Loeb. “Stay” is her biggest hit – and a song that has followed my fiance and I everywhere we go, thus it became “our song.” And since we’re getting married tomorrow, I figured this was an appropriate song for today. It was a top 20 hit for Loeb in 1997 and it sounds very 1997.

220px-Janetperiod1993Janet Jackson – Any Time, Any Place – 1993

If you don’t remember this song, you’re not alone. But it was a #2 hit for Janet in 1994. It was the fifth single from janet. It’s just classic, smooth R&B. The success of this song gave Ms. Jackson a Billboard record: the only artist with three consecutive albums to place five singles in the top 10.