Well, today’s list has a song from a forgotten Christmas classic album, an actual Eighties new wave Christmas song, a couple of Nineties yuletide songs, an early rap Christmas entry, one by my favorite Contemporary Christian artist, a couple more soul classics, and a song by one of my favorite artists with a song that they really didn’t intend to become associated with this holiday. So, with that brilliant…<<COUGH>>, <<COUGH>>…er…opening, let’s just get on with the countdown. That way HERC can have fun improving this blog. Thanks HERC!!!
60. Emmylou Harris – “Light of the Stable” (1979). Harris has one of the greatest voices of all-time. She got her start with Gram Parsons. With the help of stalwarts Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, Harris created an nativity classic that seems to have been forgotten over the years.
59. The Temptations – “Silent Night” (1970). I originally discovered this beautiful, gospel version on the Motown Christmas compilation from the Seventies, Motown Christmas. The song was beautiful in its original version, but The Temptations took it to a whole other level.
58. Smashing Pumpkins – “Christmastime” (1995). Who knew Billy Corgan could create such a beautiful Christmas song? We ALL did, especially after hearing Siamese Dreams and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
57. Tevin Campbell – “O Holy Night” (1992). Anybody remember this former Prince-protege? Campbell was a teenager with an otherworldly voice. I thought he would go on to become the Michael Jackson of Gen X. At least, he left us with this masterpiece version of this hymn.
56. Treacherous Three – “Santa’s Rap” (1984). Another forgotten early hip hop entry into the Yuletide celebration. While I am re-writing rock history, remember to include this song on your Christmas party playlist. You gotta dance sometime.
55. David Crowder*Band – “Carol of the Bells/Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” (2011). Crowder is a brilliant artist who is making excellent music in the Contemporary Christian Music market. This song displays the power of his original band while tackling these songs. I have always likened his live performances to those of Springsteen or Petty.
54. Squeeze – “Christmas Day” (1979). I first heard this song as an import single from the UK. In the Nineties, I found this single on a great New Wave Xmas Hits CD. It was written just as Squeeze was reaching its creative peak.
53. Cat Power – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (2013). I am a “Johnny-come-lately” to the greatness of Cat Power. This is the first version of my wife’s favorite Christmas song, the other, our favorite, is coming up later. This one is so beautiful that I had to break my no two versions of the same song rule.
52. Big Star – “Jesus Christ” (1978). This song is found on the third Big Star release, known as Third/Sister Lovers. The album had wrapped in 1975 and wasn’t released until 1978. This song is about the Man Himself, but I don’t think it was ever intended to be a Christmas song. That is, until it was included on a power pop compilation classic called Christmas Time that is credited to “The dB’s and Friends”. After that, you can find cover versions of the song on other alternative music Christmas compilations.
51. Darlene Love – “Marshmallow World” (1963). Yet another beautiful and fun song from that terrific Phil Specter Christmas album. Once again, you can hear the brilliance of both Love’s voice and Specter’s production. And, this isn’t the last song from that album either!
We are half-way through the countdown, but there’s seven more days of Christmas left in the song. Don’t fret! This will work! Have a great weekend!!!