My 50 Favorite Albums of 2018, The Top 10

12.21 2018 Best

‘Twas the Friday before Christmas and all through the house we will be scurrying about to get the place cleaned before we go to bed tonight. Like many of you all, we are having family in. Don’t get me wrong, we love it, but the pre-game prep is tough, but not as difficult on me as it is on my beautiful bride. Lordy, I never know where she gets the energy to plow through the house so efficiently as she can. If you are not careful, I honestly think she’ll throw me out with the trash if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. The woman is a machine. When we were newlyweds, I totally didn’t get this obsession. But, once I realized about 20+ years into our marriage that this was her “thing,” I helped out with some things, but mostly I took cover and worried about feeding her and keeping her hydrated. I put my coaching tendencies WAY BACK in my side of the closet, kept my head down and did what she asked. Over time, we’ve developed into a helluva team, but this is the activity in which she’s our LeBron and I play the supporting role, as she does in group situations. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we do a pretty good job having strengths that cover the other’s weaknesses

So, here I go with my “strength,” writing about music. Specifically, let’s finish off my “Best Of” list for 2018. Today, I present to you my Top 10.

12.21 10.Black Panther

10. Kendrick Lamar & Others – Black Panther OST. Can Kendrick Lamar do no wrong right now? Sure doesn’t seem like it. So, who better to coordinate the music behind the most important movie of the year than the man with the golden touch. And, Lamar has hit it out of the ballpark with an album that touches on all types of black music. This album is worthy of the African prince at the heart of movie.

12.21 9.Paul McCartney

9. Paul McCartney – Egypt Station. Paul has quietly been re-earning his songwriting status recently with some pretty great music. I just wish this stuff had been released in the Eighties when people still cared. To me, this is his best since Flowers in the Dirt from 1989. Growing old is not for the weak.

12.21 8.Lisa Mychols

8. Lisa Mychols – Sugar. If I’ve said once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Lisa Mychols has been one of music’s best kept secrets for nearly the past three decades! This woman is an excellent songwriter, great studio performer and, now, on her way to becoming a great mentor to young power poppers all over the world. This may be her career peak, and Lisa was a member of The Masticators.

12.21 7.Ken Sharp

7. Ken Sharp – Beauty in the Backseat. Ken Sharp is quite possibly my favorite non-fiction music writer; yet, he is quickly becoming one of my favorite songwriters. He is a power pop scholar who has amalgamated what he has learned from his book subjects into beautiful power pop. This album is his best, but I wish he had included his single from earlier this year, his ode to Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, entitled, believe it or not, “Utopia.” The song was the homage of the year.

12.21 6.Leon Bridges

6. Leon Bridges – Good Thing. The new king of the retro-soul movement is back with a great album that does not succumb to the sophomore jinx. Bridges gives you glimpses of his heroes, such as Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson, Wilson Pickett and the rest, without just being a very talented tribute artist. Leon loves the retro sound but is not afraid to put modern flourishes into his music. I can only believe this man may end up bringing music back to its basics.

12.21 3.Matthew Sweet

5. Matthew Sweet – Wicked System of Things. This album was release only on vinyl for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event just a few weeks ago, so it may difficult to find as Sweet has no intention of releasing the album on CD. According to the liner notes, Sweet’s inspiration for this album came after playing a couple of songs with Cheap Trick. Afterwards, he asked guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson to play on it. Of course, they accepted. So, Matthew wrote some of the most rocking power pop songs of his career, by pretending he was a youngster again, listening to Cheap Trick, Shoes, Pezband and a host of other Midwestern rock bands, creating a set that he wanted to treat as a “lost album” in his collection. Let’s just say that, even though the guys from Cheap Trick could not make the time to play on Sweet’s LP, it sounds like a bunch of Trick songs that had been undiscovered since the late-Seventies or early-Eighties. This is one killer album.

12.21 4.3x4

4. The Bangles, Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, The Three O’Clock – 3×4. Take the four biggest bands from L.A.’s early-Eighties Paisley Underground scene and record each band playing a favorite song by each of the other three bands. Since all four bands came of age at the same time, you can hear each other’s influence upon them. This a fantastic manner in which to celebrate a long forgotten scene that played an important role in how much of the music of the mid- to late-Eighties sounded. Once again, this was a vinyl-only release for the RSD Black Friday event. This album is a milestone.

12.21 1.Janelle Monae

3. Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer. Monáe was originally an Outkast protege yet had more recently become more musically associated with Prince. And, one listen to this album, and you can both artists’ influences on her music. Still, unlike her previous great yet inconsistent albums, Dirty Computer is the sound of an artist on the cusp of creating big things. Hopefully, this album will be Dirty Mind of her career, as I think this album is introducing the world to a fully-realized artist who is just an album or two away from dominating the world. Without a doubt, I say this album is THE best Prince album of the year.

12.21 2.Elvis Costello

2. Elvis Costello & the ImpostersLook Now. Early, Elvis was diagnosed with cancer. So, he delay this album’s release as he underwent treatment. Then, after dropping this album, which is a summation of his illustrious career, Elvis and his latest band began preparations to make his triumphant return to the road. And, I am not speaking in hyperbole when I say this is Costello’s best album since the highly complex Imperial Bedroom was released way back in 1982. Boy, can this man write a great song!

12.21 5.Kai Danzberg

1. Kai Danzberg – Pop-Up Radio. Power Pop’s German wunderkind dropped this masterpiece early in 2018, and his CD was never far from my stereo. For the past two-and-a-half decades I have been mourning a Jellyfish-sized whole in my life, that would only get partially filled here and there in the time since the band’s untimely demise. Then, Danzberg brought this beautiful album to the masses, and now I am one of his biggest fans. I own electronic files of his whole catalog (thanks Bandcamp!), but his earlier material did not prepare me for this album’s way that he takes a little ELO here, a pinch of Queen there, some Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Raspberries, Beach Boys, Badfinger and all the other greats and make something totally new and fresh out of it. By the way, check out his new single, a duet with Lisa Mychols, called “Let Me Know.” I think Kai is on to something there! Plus the man just released a Christmas single, “If Santa.” I CANNOT wait for his next album! Kai Danzberg gave us my Album of the Year!

And, there you go sports fans! You all have a fantastic Christmas! I’ll probably write a couple more blogs next week, but it won’t be part of a huge, multi-part countdown. Merry Christmas!

My 50 Favorite Albums of 2018, #11-20

12.20 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! At least, the traditional Christmas movies are on TV again. Last night, we watched for the 28th Christmas in a row, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. That movie still rings so close to home. Which, of course, got me to thinking about those Christmas movies on my shortlist. So, in addition to Christmas Vacation, my favorites are A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Home Alone II, Elf, Trading Places and Die Hard I and II. Okay, the last three are just taking place during the holiday season, but I always like to throw them in the mix.

Wait! Why am I talking about movies?!?! I don’t know! Let’s just get back to the music of 2018. Once again, this was a year signaling a changing of the guard. Like back in 1981 through 1983, we are witnessing some of the better music being created by newer artists. As a matter of fact, there are very few artists on this year’s list who were part of my youth. So, in order to see which artists are part of my Top 50 Albums, let’s get back to the countdown.

12.20 20.The James Hunter Six

20. The James Hunter Six – Whatever It Takes. Good old-fashioned R&B and soul is The James Hunter Six’ specialty. And, they do it like no one today. Now that Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley have passed, from the sounds on this album, The James Hunter Six is poised to carry the torch for this genre of music.

12.20 19.Graham Parker

19. Graham Parker – Cloud Symbols. Believe it or not, Graham Parker has been on a roll since his appearance in the Paul Rudd movie This Is 40. Since then, he has been back in touch with his muse from the Seventies, bringing back that R&B-based, punk-infused sound that he made famous back in the day. Young’uns start here to learn how music was done back in the day.

12.20 18.Prince

18. Prince – Piano & a Microphone 1983. Who cares about the circumstances surrounding this album’s release. This album proves the true musical genius of Prince since this album is stripped down like the album title says. The man proved how his songs stand up with different arrangements, stripped down to its basics. I can’t wait to hear what other music will be found in The Vault.

12.20 17.The Late Show

17. The Late Show – Sha La La. Who cares that it took this Indianapolis-based power pop band 38 years to record a follow up. Their debut is a bonafide masterpiece, and this is a brilliant sophomore effort. The Late Show definitely still a great band.

12.20 16.Steve Perry

16. Steve Perry – Traces. Finally! Steve Perry’s voice is back for all of us to enjoy. And, it was not a moment too late. Forget his replacement in Journey, because that guy is missing Perry’s soulfulness in his vocals.

12.20 15.Lady Gaga

15. Lady Gaga & Various Artists – A Star Is Born OST. Listen to me youngsters! Appreciate Lady Gaga’s artistic vision! This young lady is the real deal, a true artist willing to take risks, much like Queen and David Bowie. Back when I was younger (God, I sound like a grandfather…uh…which I am), people still purchased those artists’ albums no matter what turns they took. But, if Lady Gaga moves away from pop music, people whine and cry without recognizing her vision. Now, she’s moving into Barbra Streisand area, proving she IS more than a pop star.

12.20 14.The Genuine Flakes

14. The Genuine Flakes – Issues. Power pop is alive and well thanks to, among many others, The Genuine Flakes. Sweet harmonies, jangly guitars, everything that makes life worth living.

12.20 13.Paul Weller

13. Paul Weller – True Meanings. Weller’s career is in its 4th decade, and he just keeps getting better and better. True Meanings is Weller stripped down, much like Prince’s most recent album, to Weller and his ACOUSTIC guitar. This album displays the true genius of the man. Now, if only the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would just recognize Weller’s brilliance and put him in the Hall as a member of The Jam AND a solo artist. I’m NOT asking for much!

12.20 12.Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

12. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs. Indie rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have brought rock music into the 21st century, as they break down the barriers that separated pop and rock, punk and new wave, power pop and glam, all rolled up in one brilliant album.

12.20 11.Kacey Musgraves

11. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour. Thank goodness that we are moving past the Taylor Swift-era of country music. Kacey Musgraves is like a latter-day Loretta Lynne or Dolly Parton, bringing real life back into the rural soul music of country. Musgraves, along with Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, are saving country music from their run as being new versions of bad Eighties songs with a fiddle.

Forty albums down, and the Top 10 to go! Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this whole countdown for my favorite albums of 2018. Later!

My 50 Favorite Albums of 2018, #21-30

12.19 2018

2018 represents the year when the millennial artists began to exert their creative muscles. Up to this point, music was being influenced by their tastes, especially with regards to their love of hip hop and their relative indifference to the rock music of the past. Sure, we have been witnessing a surge in the bromance side of country music, which has caused a new kind of outlaw country music to become the music d’jour. Additionally, we seem to be leaving the emphasis on noise-based rock, as popularized by the shoegaze movement of the Nineties. There’s only so much atonal guitar noise a generation can tolerate, which may be why this generation is slowly embracing power pop and other forms of what is now called indie pop music. The generation is even beginning to back away from their “voice,” Kanye West, not because of his insane antics, but because his embrace of atonal music beats that make him sound as if he was trying to become the shoegaze artist of rap. While, my older son continues to defend Ye’s music, his colleagues are turning away from his new music in droves.

Obviously, it will be interesting to see how all of this turns out. Now, let’s delve further into 2018 as I continue my countdown. Today, we are covering #21-30. Here we go!

12.19 30.Ariana Grande

30. Ariana Grande – Sweetener. Our little Ariana is maturing, both as an artist and an individual. And although, this album reflected her short-lived engagement to SNL star Pete Davidson, the album was still full of adult hope and love. She is ready to accept the mantle of the people’s favorite diva from Mariah, and this album proves it.

12.19 29.The Carters

29. The Carters – Everything Is Love. Now, the Carters have their marriage back on track, and this album was dropped to prove their love was true. First, their was Beyoncé’s self-titled LP intimating there was trouble in paradise. Then came the reconciliation tour. Next, Queen Bey released Lemonade telling the world that Jay-Z cheated, and she was pissed. Jay-Z followed with his “tail-between-his-legs, I’m sorry” 4:44. Now, the couple had reconciled and are moving forward together, and here is there musical document. The cynic in me thinks this is a little too neatly wrapped up commercially, but, whatever. The current critics and public loved the whole love story played out in albums.

12.19 28.Hawk

28. Hawk – Bomb Pop. The Knack is alive and well in the form of Hawk. Only, Hawk isn’t as horny as The Knack. Okay, so maybe they are a latter-day version of Bram Tchaikovsky. Wait! Either way, this is a great album.

12.19 27.Danny Wilkerson

27. Danny Wilkerson – Wilkerson. Power pop is alive and well, thanks to Danny Wilkerson. This album is just bit more pop than power, but whose complaining? Not the fans of Squeeze, Crowded House and Rubber Soul/Revolver-era Beatles.

12.19 26.The Stan Laurels

26. The Stan Laurels – Maybe. Seriously, how many power pop bands are going to be in this countdown? More than you thought existed. And while this band has a self-effacing name, their are no one’s second fiddle. This band is in it for the long haul.

12.19 25.Jackie Daytona

25. Jackie Daytona – She’s So Hot. This rollicking, hard-pounding album is just the right antidote for Eighties hard rock fans. We are talking about a mixture of Donnie Iris, Cheap Trick and some Jet thrown in for good measure.

12.19 24.Paul Collins

24. Paul Collins – Out of My Head. The godfather of power pop is alive and well and making great music. Today, Collins is more of a craftsman, while his first three LPs represented part of the foundation of the genre. Still, it ALWAYS comforting when one of the power pop gods descend Mt. Olympus to give us a new set of songs.

12.19 23.The Beths

23. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me. The great thing about power pop is that it is gender-neutral, meaning women are as likely to create great albums as the men. And, The Beths prove it with their honey-tinged vocals while rocking as hard as any band this year.

12.19 22.Diamond Hands

22. Diamond Hands – Diamond Hands II. In 2017, Diamond Hands’ debut album was one of last year’s most compelling debut. Diamond Hands II picked up right where the band left off last year. This is a follow-up along the lines of Hendrix’ Axis: Bold as Love or Cheap Trick’s In Color, only a true power pop band.

12.19 21.Daphne & Celeste

21. Daphne & Celeste – Daphne & Celeste Save the World. Who knew that this female duo would bring back true Eighties-styled New Wave. This is a brilliantly fun album was released just when things were getting way too serious in the music world. The timing was perfect. Now, an audience needs to discover them STAT!

Now, we are poised for the Top Twenty Albums of 2018. Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for ten more albums.

My 50 Favorite Albums 2018, #31-40

12.18 2018

Let’s face it. 2018 was not a year for established artists. Oh, sure, Tom Petty’s estate authorized and organized a brilliant posthumous four-CD set, An American Treasure, of unreleased gems, live cuts, B-Sides and important deep album cuts that displayed what a brilliant artist he was. But, this was more of a compilation. Paul Simon released an interesting album, Into the Blue Light, that sounded like an American version of David Bowie’s last studio album, Black Star, from a couple of years ago. The problem was that Simon’s album was intriguing, Bowie’s was simultaneously compelling and haunting. The late Chris Cornell also had a brilliant compilation released that showcased the best music from all aspects of his career, from Soundgarden to Temple of the Dog to Audioslave to his solo stuff. Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp released new albums this past month, but the former was a compilation of his Broadway performance while the latter was a group of cover songs, both of which I got too late to put into this countdown.

Overall, 2018 belonged to the indie industry. The stuff that I first discovered on or other websites that hype the independent artists of the world seem to dominate my year-end list. While I find this exciting for music, it does force my readers to dig a little deeper to discover the music I’m digging this past year.

So, let’s get back to the countdown! Today, we are covering the albums that I ranked in positions 31 through 40. Enjoy!

12.18 40.Young Scum

40. Young Scums – Young Scums. If you are like me and desperately miss the jangle pop/rock songs from the mid-Eighties, like early R.E.M., 10,000 Maniacs or The Church, then Young Scum is for you. These guys bring back that feeling I had in my early-twenties when I was first working as a young medical technologist and listening to the alternative rock radio station 97X, WOXY in Oxford, Ohio. Still, the are more than a nostalgia band. I look forward to listening to this band grow up.

12.18 39.Tony Molina

39. Tony Molina – Kill the Lights. Tony Molina is another artist who is leading the current power pop renaissance. It is obvious that Molina has spent his time listening to The Beatles, Raspberries, Hollies, The Records and The Spongetones, since the music and vocals are conjure up these artists’ memories. Molina continues his winning streak with this album.

12.18 38.Capital Cities

38. Capital Cities – Solarize. Several years ago, I saw this band open for Fitz & the Tantrums in concert in the Egyptian Room at the Old National Murat Temple in Indianapolis and came away thinking this band could grow into something big. Well, this synth-pop/dance duo made major artistic strides on this album. They proved they learned hook to write a great hook while maintaining their alternative music credentials. This band’s music will probably end up being used in TV commercials for all kinds of products while dominating the dance and pop charts. Keep an eye on them!


37. The Aces – When My Heart Felt Volcanic. Following in the footsteps of HAIM, The Aces, an all-female quartet pop/rock group, prove there is plenty of room for these types of bands during the age of Hip Hop. These ladies have the hooks, next comes airplay, then success. I saw them on a late night talk show and was blown away by their performance. Their songwriting is light years ahead of their experience.

12.18 36.P.Hux

36. P. Hux – This Is the One. Legendary power popper Parthenon Huxley is back with another strong album that shows all of his influences (ELO, Beach Boys, Beatles) being alchemized into his own unique sound. Not quite as strong as his epic Deluxe album, but This Is the One is a strong addition to his discography., including his work with the non-Jeff Lynne-led version of ELO, formerly known as ELO II and now called The Orchestra.

12.18 35.Mariah Carey

35. Mariah Carey – Caution. Don’t call it a comeback! You almost think that you hear Mariah saying this throughout her most consistently great album since her mid-Nineties heyday. This album showcases everything we loved about Mariah back in those salad days: unparalleled vocals, sweet melodies, great rhythm tracks and potential pop hits everywhere on the album. It’s nice that she’s in a good place emotionally speaking because she gives us great music like she has on this album.

12.18 34.Robyn

34. Robyn – Honey. One of Europe’s favorite dance divas has concocted arguably the finest album of her career with this dance/pop masterpiece. Her vocals are confidently conveying her lyrics, making this the album that Madonna or Britney wishes they could make today. It’s fresh, forward-looking and innovative all the while maintaining its pop credentials. Robyn is at her peak.

12.18 33.Low Cut Connie

33. Low Cut Connie – Dirty Pictures (Part 2). How many times have I said rock music is dead? Then, Low Cut Connie comes out with this album just to prove me wrong. This album is equal parts E Street Band, Mellencamp, Social Distortion and The Hold Steady. This is the kind of music the artists of the heartland were making back in the Eighties. As long as The Hold Steady continues hide from a new album release, Low Cut Connie is positioning themselves to fill the void.

12.18 32.The Mayflowers

32. The Mayflowers – Wild One. Anyone else miss new music by Mick Taylor-led version of the Rolling Stones or The Black Crowes or The Faces? You know, that bluesy, rocking stuff that was so common to our ears in the Seventies and Eighties. Well, The Mayflowers just may be the heir-apparent to this brand of rock and roll. This stuff would sound fantastic on classic rock radio. In fact, this is the type of music several of my old friends would love, like Troy S. and Curt M. This might be an album that will only get better as it ages.

12.18 31.christine and the queens

31. Christine & the Queens – Chris. Remember when Madonna was daring and innovative? Christine & the Queens have taken that mantle now. And, I really don’t care what the sexual status is of this great artist is, because Christine is one helluva singer and songwriter. This is just a terrific dance/pop album that should keep the club dance floors full well into 2019. This album continues to grow on me as I hear more and more musical references to Prince and Teena Marie. I bet Christina Aguilera wishes she could have made an album HALF this good. Christine & the Queens are the real deal.

Honestly, the only genre that did not produce an album that I enjoyed was metal. For some reason, metal has gotten either too dark or too pretentious for my tastes. I know its not dead! It’s just percolating underground. So, while Metallica and Motley Crue are busy becoming Funko Pops, some hungry metalheads are practicing their craft in a garage somewhere in the world, awaiting their moment to clubber us over the head with their debut album. Remember how lame country had gotten with the Florida-Georgia State Line, or whatever the hell they call themselves? Then, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris came through to shake things up. Such is the ebb and flow of popular music.

I am so looking forward to the music of 2019 as I continue to honor the best of 2018. Peace out!

My Favorite 50 Albums of 2018, #41-50

12.17 Best of 2018

I just cannot get over the fact that we are a week away from Christmas and two weeks away from a new year. This year has flown by, but as my dad has always said that life moves like a roll of toilet paper: slowly at first, then it goes by faster and faster as your reach the end. Knowing my dad, he probably stole that cliche from someone else, but I will attribute it to him, as I first heard him use that phrase on his 50th birthday. Although Dad was only a varsity basketball coach for two seasons, he is still full of what I call “coach speak,” which is the language coaches use to tell reporters all kinds of things colorfully without ever really saying anything. I was never as good at those types of quotes because my competitive side was difficult to keep under wraps. Dad, on the other hand, was a master at it.

Well, the end of the year means several things. First, it means my family will hold nearly enough different Christmas gatherings that we would have little problem adjusting to the Jewish holiday Hanukah. Second, like many other families, try to squeeze in as many medical procedures as possible during that like month before the deductible goes back to zero. Which means that I will be having yet another surgery for my back, as the battery life of my six-year-old pain pump is ending in the next six months. So, it is prudent for me to have the surgery. Third, before the surgery, we will have our granddaughter over each week to give her parents some down time. And, last but not least, we will probably do our bit of insanity and have four of our niece’s five kids spend the night with us. I cannot even begin to call this controlled chaos. Nope! That’ll be just straight up chaos.

So, this week is my last week of blogging for 2018. The daily readership has grown a bit this year, especially since the Fall. I’m not sure why, because the quality certainly has not improved. However, I must be reaching a group of bored or stoned readers out their who are simply dying to read what some old geezer from the middle of Indiana’s cornfields has to say about rock music, but why this is happening I am NOT going to question. I’m just going to thank all of you readers for stopping by and adding to the number of visitors to this blog!

So, let’s begin this years countdown of My 50 Favorite Albums of 2018. Today, we will begin at #50 and wrap it up at #41, continuing each day of this week with another ten albums that I have enjoyed this year. So, P!nk, let’s get this party started!

12.17 50.Barrence Whitfield

50. Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – Soul Flowers of Titan. How does this bluesman continue to toil in anonymity while a lesser talent like George Thorogood continues to maintain his following? Whitfield & the Savages are such a perfect mix of J. Geils and Thorogood that they should be plastered all over classic rock radio. And, this album is one of their best of their long career.

12.17 49.Bird Streets

49. Bird Streets – Bird Streets. Power pop has quietly been undergoing something of a renaissance recently, and Bird Streets are one of the new practitioners of the art. They start where the Raspberries and Badfinger left off, rocking out with some great vocal harmonies and pop hooks.

12.17 48.Death by Unga Bunga

48. Death by Unga Bunga – So Far So Good So Cool. I’m serious! The band’s name is Death by Unga Bunga but don’t get scared off by the name. These guys play meat-and-potatoes Midwestern rock and roll, just like I grew up listening to, such as Cheap Trick, Shoes, Fotomaker, etc. These guys are everything we loved about music in the early 80s. I prefer my “flashback” rock to sound this way and not the way Greta Van Fleet try to do it.

12.17 47.Let's Eat Grandma

47. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears. Okay, so the name of this electronic band conjures up some Big Bad Wolf fairy tale memories, but this albums like as if an Eighties female teen idol singer is fronting LCD Soundsystem after Afrika Bambaataa did a little tweaking with the music. This is actually some 21st century electronic music with a human soul.

12.17 46.Pusha T

46. Pusha T – Daytona. Screw Kanye West! His protege has passed him by. Sure, Kanye produced this one, but Pusha T flexes his muscles enough to make us all recognize who really made the finest hip hop album this year.

12.17 45.The Go Team

45. The Go! Team – Semicircle. This band has one of the nuttiest sounds since the original UK ska bands of the late-Seventies landed. The Go! Team is equal parts electronic rock band, high school marching band and college cheerleading squad. But, there’s not denying the melodies in this music. Back in the Eighties, we called this New Wave. Today, I call it great music!

12.17 44.Whyte Horses

44. Whyte Horses – Empty Woods. If you prefer your power pop slanting toward the alt-country of the seesaw, then Whyte Horses are perfect for you. Their guitars don’t chime, but twang all the while their vocals are sweet, allowing the musical hooks to sink in your ears deeply so the album can pull you in further. Then, as you give into the melody and driving beats, the touches of Sixties-style psychedelia poured through an Eighties’ Paisley Underground filter, only enhances the band’s sound. Although the sound as if they could have been part of the Paisley Underground, they have enough new tricks to score beyond being some retro group. I think this band could grow into something big. I might have them underrated at this time.

12.17 43.Juliana Hatfield

43. Juliana Hatfield – Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John. You read the title right! This IS Juliana Hatfield, the Nineties’ Alternative Nation’s IT girl, who made a name for herself not only for her power pop-based alternative music, but for also being The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando’s girl of choice at the time. Just when I thought she had fallen off the face of the world, here she comes back up-dating her musical idol’s music with a loving heart and no sense of irony. Who knew these familiar pieces of pop fluff from the Seventies could sound so tough and smart in the 21st century. Only someone as talented as Hatfield could pull off this magical album.

12.17 42.Public TV

42. Public Access T.V. – Street Safari. Is there anyone out there who has a Duran Duran-sized whole in their heart? I propose you put Public Access T.V. in there and let it grow over time. Sure, there was no one like D-squared to the Eighties crowd, but PA TV sure wants to. At least, they are doing it with the full knowledge of other funky new wave bands like Talking Heads and early Talk Talk. They are worth the search.

12.17 41.Peach Kelli Pop

41. Peach Kelli Pop – Gentle Leader. Peach Kelli Pop is The Go-Go’s for the 2010s. It’s as if The Go-Go’s tried to play as fast as they could, almost to the point where they’ve become the English-speaking version of Shonen Knife. There’s just something about punk girls that still appeal to me, musically speaking.

So, folks, there you go! All relatively new artists, with nary an oldie but goodie on the list thus far. 2018 was NOT good to the relics of the past, but there are some newer artists trying to keep the rock flame burning. Ya just gotta dig for ’em. See you tomorrow as we continue this countdown.

It’s the End of the Christmas Countdown (And I Feel Fine)

12.14 More Ugly RNR Sweaters

What the heck is with all of these ugly Christmas sweaters? I remember when they were just Christmas sweaters that happened to be ugly. Oh, the Nineties! My mom was known for giving my wife some of the ugliest sweaters known to man. Then, when my oldest son was in high school, the kids would scour Goodwills and Salvation Armys for those very sweaters from the Nineties to wear to parties and basketball games dress-up nights during December. Well, I guess that became too popular for companies not to try to make some major cash on this phenomenon. Now, during the Christmas season, you cannot go to an athletic team’s website and not find an ugly Christmas sweater for your favorite team, even mine, those small market powerhouses, the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Reds.

12.14 Ugly Xmas Sweaters

And, in the past five years, even rock artists have gotten into the act. Of course, the great marketing geniuses of Kiss, released versions, which were probably so successful that many other artists followed suit. So, now, we have available ugly Christmas sweaters from the obvious artists such as The Beatles, Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, as well as the less obvious like Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses and Run-D.M.C. Even crazier, you can find ugly Christmas sweaters from artists that truly exude the Christmas spirit by their name let alone their image, such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer and AC/DC, among others from the dark side.

12.14 Ugly Dead12.14 Ugly Simmons

So, now, go ahead and hold your ugly Christmas sweater parties, but, remember that you can actually add semi-expensive mass-produced ugly sweaters (and sweat shirts, as well as T-shirts for those of us who run at a higher body temperature than mere mortals) to your wardrobe from the comfy confines of your recliner. You, actually, some of these sweaters actually look kinda cool. But, I need to limit my search to T-shirts and sweat shirt so I can actually wear the garment.

12.14 Ugly Beatles12.14 Ugly Ramones

Now that I got the ugly Christmas sweater off my chest (or did I?), let’s finish off my Christmas Song Countdown. So, may I introduce to you, the to my Top 20 Modern Christmas Songs? Wait a second! I don’t need your permission! This is my damn blog! On with the countdown! And, I can stretch it out as long as I want to. Lucky you, eh?

12.14 20.Wizzard

20. Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” [1973]. Back when this song was released, it lost the coveted UK #1 spot to Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody,” but lately, artists have been covering this song like crazy on their recent Christmas albums. That means that Wizzard mastermind Roy Wood has been rolling in the cash from those royalties. Plus, it’s honestly the better song.

12.14 19.Band Aid

19. Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” [1984]. This charity single sparked a brief run of charity songs, albums and concerts. This song actually brought back the modern Christmas song to the US Hot 100.

12.14 18.The Pogues

18. The Pogues Ft. Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York” [1987]. This is a beautiful melancholy song about the beautiful darkside of Christmas. And, it only grows in stature.

12.14 17.Ray Charles

17. Ray Charles – “That Spirit of Christmas” [1985]. This song is a beautiful nostalgic song about Christmases past. It was used to great effect in the classic Christmas film Christmas Vacation.

12.14 16.Extreme

16. Extreme – “Christmas Time Again” [1992]. Remember this hair metal band? Actually, these guys were too talented to be lumped into that genre. And, this Christmas song proves that fact. I wish this band had not imploded, because we could sure used them today.

12.14 15.John Lennon

15. John Lennon & Yoko Ono – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” [1971]. Leave it to Lennon and Ono to create an anti-war song that is dressed up as a Christmas song. This is a classic.

12.14 14.Donny Hathaway

14. Donny Hathaway – “This Christmas” [1970]. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t discover this song until the mid-Nineties when I bought a compilation CD with this fantastic song included. It captures the holiday and soul music perfectly.

12.14 13.Otis Redding

13. Otis Redding – “White Christmas” [1968]. This version of the modern yuletide classic actually captures the dark underbelly and bleakness of the holiday in the non-white communities through Redding’s brilliant performance. This song has been finding its way into movies.

12.14 12.Run-DMC

12. Run-D.M.C. – “Christmas in Hollis” [1987]. Unquestionably, the greatest Christmas rap song. It is perfect, from DJ Jam Master Jay’s sampling of Clarence Carter’s “Backdoor Santa” to Run’s spot-on lyrics to D.M.C.’s terrific performance. This song is like a fine wine; it only improves with age.

12.14 11.Brenda Lee

11. Brenda Lee – “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” [1958]. A granddaddy of a song if there ever was one. It has been a part of my yuletide life, that I cannot imagine a Christmas without it.

12.14 10.Elton John

10. Elton John – “Step into Christmas” [1973]. I remember first hearing this song on a Christmas edition of American Bandstand way back in 1975. I cannot believe that this song stalled on the UK charts at #23, while Slade hit #1 (“Merry Xmas Everybody”) and Wizzard peaked at #4 (“I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”). This is pure Elton and Bernie at their best.

12.14 9.Wham

9. Wham! – “Last Christmas” [1984]. 1984 was something of a renaissance year for modern Christmas music, as very few new songs were released to much success in the previous decade. Then, Wham!, Band Aid, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Queen all found success in the UK in 1984, while the first two had US success.

12.14 8.Mariah Carey

8. Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You” [1994]. Mariah has the most successful Christmas song of the past 24 year. Somehow, she hit a yuletide zeitgeist by invoking Motown and pop music into one glorious Christmas hit. Christmas will NEVER be Christmas until I hear this song.

12.14 7.Paul McCartney

7. Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmastime” [1979]. By 1979, McCartney seemed to be putting Wings to rest. And, this song represented Paul’s new stripped down, totally solo sound that he would explore throughout the early days of the Eighties. Plus, no other song invokes a sense of happiness as this one does.

12.14 6.Bing & Bowie

6. David Bowie/Bing Crosby – “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” [1982]. This was originally was part of Bing’s last Christmas Special he filmed before he passed in 1977. Bing was always my grandfather’s favorite singer, and Bowie was always one of my favorites, so I thought it was so awesome that the two did this song together. My grandfather had passed in 1975, so this song has always reminded me of him, so this song is special to me.

12.14 5.Tom Petty

5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Christmas All Over Again” [1992]. Tom Petty did it again, pulls another song out of thin air and creates a Christmas classic. For my money, no other genre of rock music nails the yuletide celebration as power pop, and Petty went back to his power pop roots when he created this song.

12.14 4.The Waitresses

4. The Waitresses – “Christmas Wrapping” [1981]. When The Waitresses burst onto the scene in 1981, I was immediately taken by their minor hit “I Know What Boys Like.” So, imagine my excitement when I discovered they had a Christmas song called “Christmas Wrapping.” Not only was it a New Wave classic, but it is now a modern yuletide standard. This song continues to rise on my list.

12.14 3.Harry Simeone Chorale

3. Harry Simeone Chorale – “The Little Drummer Boy” [1958]. I cannot emphasize how this song invokes a childhood memory about bygone Christmas Eves. I continue to be amazed by the haunting vocals of this song. It is just beautiful.

12.14 2.Hall & Oates

2. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Jingle Bell Rock” [1980]. Fellow Hoosier Bobby Helms created this song back in the Fifties and made it a Christmas standard. But, Hall & Oates injected a great sense of humor that comes through in the very funny video. I think that I cannot separate the video from the song, but I honestly love the playfulness of this version. Plus, how can I ignore a Hall & Oates version of a Christmas song? That’s rhetorical.

12.14 1.Bruce Springsteen

1. Bruce Springsteen – “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” [1985]. This is yet another yuletide classic that was improved by the inspired performance of the artist. Back when this was recorded in 1975, Springsteen was “wowing” audiences throughout the country with his live performances when this was released to radio stations for the Christmas season. It took ten years of heavy fan demand before The Boss finally relented and released this as a B-side to the 1985 single “My Hometown.” This has been my favorite modern Christmas song since I first heard it on American Bandstand in 1978.

And that, my friends, is the last portion of My Top 200 Modern Christmas Songs. I think you can find your playlist in this list. Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Rundgren Snubbed by the Hall, Yet My Christmas Countdown Continues

12.13 todd-rundgren
Todd Rundgren was snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

I really thought the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would have made their Class of 2019 yesterday, but NOOOO! No, they made it today, when, of course, I’m having a high pain day and did not check my news app. And, then, my older son comes through with a text message to take a look at the names of those being inducted. Immediately, I noticed that the RRHOF was NOT inducting Todd Rundgren! Are you kidding me? The man hit a commercial peak in the early 70s, though he has followed his muse into a rich cult artist status as he traveled through blue-eyed soul and power pop into prog rock and arena rock. Additionally, the man engineered The Band’s Stage Fright, which helped him move into production work with the likes of Meat Loaf (Bat Out of Hell), Cheap Trick (Next Position Please), Grand Funk (“We’re an American Band” & “The Locomotion”), the New York Dolls (their debut), XTC (their classic Skylarking LP), among many others.

12.13 RRHOF Class of 2019
Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty), Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Stevie Nicks got in the RRHOF, and so did The Cure, Def Leppard, Roxy Music & The Zombies

Still, this class has seven members: The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and The Zombies. Overall, it’s a good class, and I’m especially excited by Roxy Music and The Cure and Janet Jackson. While, I am perplexed by Stevie Nicks being inducted as a solo artist, who has all ready been inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac with whom she has arguably at her most artistic. Sure, she finished second in the Fan Voting behind Def Leppard, but Todd Rundgren finished third yet was left off the induction list. But, that, honestly, is my one complaint about this class. Anyway, with Roxy finally getting in, maybe my son will be right and Roxy Music will reform with original lead singer Bryan Ferry and “noise manipulator” and über producer Brian Eno. Now, that would be a great tour! I’m excited by The Cure, one of my favorites from my twenties, Janet Jackson and The Zombies. And, I will not bitch about Radiohead, even though they are not my cup of tea.


So, I am NOT going to let Rundgren’s SNUB ruin my Christmas countdown, though it will be difficult. Now, we are in the my Top 40 of modern Christmas songs. And, no, Todd Rundgren, who does NOT have a Christmas song, is NOT on my list today! So, let’s get this countdown rolling!

12.13 40.Band of Merrymakers

40. Band of Merrymakers – “A Very Merry Medley” [2016]

12.13 39.Eagles

39. Eagles – “Please Come Home for Christmas” [1978]

12.13 38.Kenny Loggins

38. Kenny Loggins – “Celebrate Me Home” [1977]

12.13 37.Bryan Adams

37. Bryan Adams – “Run Rudolph Run” [1987]

12.13 36.Darlene Love

36. Darlene Love – “A Marshmallow World” [1963]

12.13 35. John Mellencamp

35. John Cougar Mellencamp – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” [1987]

12.13 34.CeeLo

34. CeeLo Green ft. The Muppets – “All I Need Is Love” [2012]

12.13 33.Dan Fogelberg

33. Dan Fogelberg – “Same Old Lang Syne” [1980]

12.13 32.Vince Vance

32. Vince Vance & the Valiants – “All I Want for Christmas Is You” [1989]

12.13 31.Billy Squier

31. Billy Squier – “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You” [1982]

12.13 30.Whitney Houston

30. Whitney Houston – “Do You Hear What I Hear?” [1987]

12.13 29.Weezer

29. Weezer – “Christmas Celebration” [2000]

12.13 28.Queen

28. Queen – “Thank God It’s Christmas” [1984]

12.13 27.U2

27. U2 – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” [1987]

12.13 26.The Ronettes

26. The Ronettes – “Sleigh Ride” [1963]

12.13 25.The Band

25. The Band – “Must Be Christmas Tonight” [1977]

12.13 24.The Kinks

24. The Kinks – “Father Christmas” [1977]

12.13 23.Pretenders

23. The Pretenders – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” [1987]

12.13 22.Fitz & the Tantrums

22. Fitz & the Tantrums – “Santa Stole My Lady” [2010]

12.13 21.Darlene Love

21. Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” [1963]

And, there you go! Tomorrow, we will finish this whole countdown. Hopefully, your favorite song has not been listed. And, hopefully, your favorite Christmas song will NOT be snubbed like Todd Rundgren was by the RRHOF. That would be criminal.

Elvis, Beatles, Kiss & The Dead During Christmas – #41-60 of My Top 200 Modern Christmas Songs (And the Last 2 Are Not on My List!)

merry kissmas silent night

I do not have any exact data to back this up; I am totally basing this upon anecdotal or observational information. But, when it comes to rock-based Christmas decorations, four artists actually appear dominate the season: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Grateful Dead and (Surprise! Surprise!) Kiss. As we all know, the images of Elvis have been ubiquitous since his passing in 1977, and that Kiss have been marketed for all kinds of items, from string lights and Christmas balls to JPEGs and coffins. Additionally, we all know that The Beatles are marketed heavily as well. But the Dead? You bet! Actually, there have been so many dancing bear string lights and different types of ornaments, that you could have created a Christmas dedicated to the Dead, or any of those other artists as well.

For me, I attempt to make my rock & roll Christmas tree as eclectic as possible, with ornaments not only represented the “Big Four” but others as well. Over the years, I have accumulated various ornaments that promote disparate artists such as AC/DC, Santana, Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, Run-DMC and Alice Cooper. Additionally, I have the aforementioned Christmas string lights (actually, I finally found a string of Kiss lights, to put the final touch on my tree for this year). Once I get those lights, I plan to put some photos of my tree on this blog, but it may be a week longer.


As you remember, there are two situations which may have influenced my love of Christmas music. First, there were those days in the late-Sixties when I would lay down in the babysitter’s living room, quietly listening to The Ventures Christmas Album as her state-of-the-art aqua-blue lava lamp bubbled away and the rotating three-color wheel slowly rotated colors in front of a projection light that bathed her aluminum-silver Christmas tree. I would just stare at the cover, precociously reading the recording information.

Then, there were those LONG, sleepless Christmas Eves during the ages of four to seven, when I was sent to bed early, like eight- or nine-o’clock, expected to sleep until Christmas morning. But, when you are an non-medicated/undiagnosed ADHD child, Christmas Eve can actually seem like the day with the longest amount of nighttime, even though that day was actually a couple of days earlier. But, I kept my AM radio turned on all night, first pulling in the signal of the local radio station as it played Christmas music until the station went off the air at midnight. Still, I remember the haunting vocals of the Harry Simeone Chorale performing their definitive version of “Little Drummer Boy.” Then, I would spent a few seemingly long minutes as I searched the dial for another station playing Christmas music, when I discovered the sound of Fort Wayne’s once seminal AM station WOWO. Much to my surprise, I was hearing newer versions of these Christmas songs. It was on that station that I discovered Phil Spector’s artists, Motown artists, Elvis, Chuck Berry and many other rockers doing their versions of all of those Christmas songs, hymns and carols. Finally, there was an air of freshness being pumped into these songs we sang in school and church. From the moment I heard Otis Redding’s version of “White Christmas” or the Beach Boys’ rocking yuletide original “Little Saint Nick,” I was hooked. And WOWO became my first late-night foray into rock music.

LP Christmas Tree
I can’t get enough of this creative Christmas tree!

Now, 50-some years on, let’s take a look at the next 20 songs on my Top 200 Modern Christmas Songs of All Time, specifically numbers 60 to 41. So, let’s get this thing going!

12.12 60.Stevie Wonder

60. Stevie Wonder – “Someday at Christmas” [1966]

59. Sufjan Stevens – “Christmas in the Room” [2012]

58. Shake Some Action! – “Christmas in the Sun” [2015]

57. Bob Dylan – “Must Be Santa” [2009]

56. Kurtis Blow – “Christmas Rappin’” [1979]

12.12 55.Jimmy Eat World

55. Jimmy Eat World – “Last Christmas” [2001]

54. Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me” [2014]

53. Bob & Doug McKenzie – “The Twelve Days of Christmas” [1981]

52. Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmastime Is Here” [1965]

51. Bobby Helms – “Jingle Bell Rock” [1958]

12.12 50.Chicago

50. Chicago – “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” [1998]

49. Cheech & Chong – “Santa & His Old Lady” [1971]

48. Greg Lake – “I Believe in Father Christmas” [1975]

47. Eurythmics – “Winter Wonderland” [1987]

12.12 46.Hanson

46. Hanson – “Finally, It’s Christmas” [2017]

45. The Staple Singers – “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas” [1970]

44. Madonna – “Santa Baby” [1987]

43. William Bell – “Every Day Will Be like a Holiday” [1967]

42. Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas” [1957]

12.12 41.The Beach Boys

41.The Beach Boys – “Little Saint Nick” [1963]

Yes! We are now ready for my Top 40 beginning tomorrow! See you in 23 and a half hours or so. Have a great day!

Wait! Two Entries Today? WTF?!?!

Well, guys, the fan voting is over for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees. According to the RRHOF’s website, the Top Five vote-recipients were, in descending order, Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, Todd Rundgren, The Zombies and The Cure. That means that each of these artists will receive a vote a piece for induction. Usually, the top five vote-getters in the Hall voting, not just the fan voting, will be inducted, though sometimes that number can be as large as seven, even up to ten. Personally, I think we might see six of these nominees inducted as the Class of 2019. My gut is telling me that we might find out who are being inducted as early as tomorrow morning. So be prepared to see a second blog entry once the Class of 2019 is announced,

With that said, my latest predictions for induction are as follows.

The Shoo-Ins –

I think this is the year for these four artists: glam metal gods Def Leppard, singer/songwriter enchantress Stevie Nicks, rock renaissance man Todd Rundgren and Sixties pop-rock icons and arguably the final deserving band from the original British Invasion The Zombies. After that, it becomes a free-for-all.

My Next Best Guesses…er…Picks –

I really believe that up to three choices will come out of this batch, listed in order of probability: Janet Jackson, The Cure, LL Cool J, Roxy Music, Devo and Radiohead..

Not This Year! –

Rage Against the Machine, John Prine, Kraftwerk, MC5 and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan are all not getting into the Hall this year.

Once again, I am of firm belief that something has GOT to be done about this whole balloting for nomination AND induction into the RRHOF. It seems to me that the only people satisfied with the current system is Jann Wenner and his coterie of sycophants, though that word may be a little strong for the current group of people who vote as members of these committees. Yet, something HAS to be done. Several months ago, I made a clunky proposal for changes. I suggested that ten acts are inducted over the next decade, until we clean up the missing acts by the top three acts in the fan voting getting automatic spots in the upcoming induction class. Then, seven committees would nominated five acts each for the voting members of the Hall for induction. The categories would cover genres such as R&B/Soul/Funk, Country/Jazz/Blues, Hip Hop/Reggae, Pop/Rock, Pre-Rock Influences, Veterans (those whom have been eligible for induction longer than 30 years) and Contributors (DJs, Journalists, Producers, Managers, etc.). Finally, some diversity would be brought into the whole induction process. I know my idea is clunky, but at least let’s get talking about this whole thing.

Well, have a great day! I hope your favorite artist gets inducted with the Class of 2019.

Father Christmas! Give Me Some Money…

LP Christmas Tree

I put the finishing touches on the Rock & Roll Christmas Tree in my music room. After having the same small Christmas tree that I had used in my class, the tree formerly known as “The Chemist-Tree,” complete with Chemistry-based ornaments the students made for extra credit, I finally retired that worn-out, twenty-something year-old tree. Now, I have a brand new black tree, which totally seems more rock & roll. On the tree, I have a string of Grateful Dead dancing bear lights; several Beatle ornaments; bulbs honoring AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Run-DMC and Santana; a couple Elvises; a Purple Rain-era Prince; two Gene Simmons; a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; one Tom Petty; and a Cheap Trick ornament that I place on the top of the tree. It happens to be popular with my family and friends.

Next, I have a little complaining to do about streaming services’ stations for Christmas music: PLEASE create a better mix of music! This is getting so very old. These so-called algorithms are still very limited. Even though I choose, let’s say, the 80s Christmas Music station, I get a limited mix of around 20 to 30 songs that begin to repeat after a couple of hours. Yet, I KNOW there are hundreds of outstanding Christmas songs that could be couple with another couple hundred of holiday songs from 70s and 90s that could make a terrific station for the young Boomers and/or the Gen X-ers, and even some Millennials stuck in their pre-teens. But, NOOOOOOOOOO! These computer programs have a much better feel as to what humans want to hear than other humans. Obviously, my dream has always been to own a radio station, because I actually feel as though I know what people want to hear and that they actually want to be entertained a bit between the songs.


Well, enough of that little rant, let’s move on to my Christmas music countdown. Today, we will ventured further into my more favorite yuletide tunes. So, let’s pick up where we left off yesterday as we travel through numbers 61 through 80.

12.11 80.The Treacherous Three

80. The Treacherous Three – “Santa Rap” [1984]

79. Tyler, the Creator – “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” [2018]

78. Bing Crosby – “White Christmas” [1947]

77. Andy Williams – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” [1963]

76. OneRepublic – “Christmas Without You” [2012]

12.11 75.The Smithereens

75. The Smithereens – “Christmas Time All Over the World” [2007]

74. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – “Winter Wonderland” [2014]

73. Material Issue – “Merry Christmas Will Do” [1991]

72. Carpenters – “Merry Christmas Darling” [1970]

12.11 71.Hootie & the Blowfish

71. Hootie & the Blowfish – “The Christmas Song” [1997]

70. Al Green & Annie Lennox – “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” [1989]

69. Cheap Trick – “Merry Christmas Darlings” [2017]

68. James Brown – “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” [1968]

67. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” [2015]

12.11 66.Old 97s

66. Old 97’s – “I Believe in Santa Claus” [2018]

65. Coldplay – “Christmas Lights” [2015]

64. Emmylou Harris – “Light of the Stable” [1979]

63. Willie Nelson – “Christmas Blues” [1979]

62. The Darkness – “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” [2003]

12.11 61.Slade

61. Slade – “Merry Xmas Everybody” [1973]

Now, that we are 140 songs into my Top 200 countdown, hopefully, I am beginning to mention some of your favorites, or at least versions with which you are familiar. Regardless, we get into the Top 60 tomorrow, so I have been saving the best for last, since, duh(!), they are my favorites. So, see you tomorrow!