All this fab kerfuffle about Rage vs. Joe McElderry got us thinking about our fave seasonal Xmas songs – alternatives, if you will, to the great Noddy Holders, Roy Woods and, er, Cliffs of the past. So here are ten to roast yer chestnuts and stuff yer stockings to. Enjoy!
El Vez: ‘Feliz Navidad’
What’s the difference between Elvis and Santa? Not a lot if Robert Lopez, aka El Vez, is to be believed. Check out the seasonally red faux-leather kecks on this live rendition of ‘Feliz Navidad’, the track from his Merry Mexmas album that amazingly welds Christmas cheer onto a stonking riff from PiL.
Billy Idol : ‘Jingle Bell Rock’
If you thought Jim Carrey as the Grinch was scary, cop a look at sleazy Bill gurning around the Christmas tree like some louche old gacked-up uncle. There’s a whole album of Bill’s Xmas leer should you feel so inclined. It’s called ‘Happy Holidays’.
Patsy Kaye & The Beatniks : ‘Beatnik’s Wish’
So groovy it wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of the Boosh, this is a kinda creepy hep bunny boiler rarity from the late 1950s when the kids were all getting their kicks trying to ban the bomb and suchlike.
Sufjan Stevens : ‘That Was The Worst Christmas Ever’
The incongruously lovely highlight from Sufjan’s slightly overreaching Christmas album, this is the song that documents the traditional family meltdown, dad burning up all the new toys in the woodstove and all!
James Brown : ‘Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto’
Hitch up your reindeer…UH! It’s the Godfather making Mr Ho Ho Ho an offer he can’t refuse from way back in 1968. “If anyone wanna know, tell ‘em James Brown told you so…” Soulbrother Santa supreme.
Rex : ‘Christmas Bop’
All the 70s Glamsters did one – Slade, Wizzard, Gary Glitter, The Wombles, even the Quo! – and all did Santa pretty proud. But Marc Bolan kinda muffed it with this one which begins with the simple Xmas message: “Hello babes… don’t cry…” Strange.
Vashti Bunyan & Twice As Much : ‘Coldest Night Of The Year’
Before she was canonised as the patron saint of all fey folksters and rescued from several decades of deep obscurity by Devendra and suchlike, Vashti Buntan was a wannabe sex kitten pop minx and here she is, enticing two of Andrew Oldham’s hired hands into a cosy clinch by the roaring fire.
The Killers : ‘Happy Birthday Guadelupe’
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They do one every Xmas for charidee but they’ve really outdone themselves this year with a kind of TexMex waltz featuring Mariachi El Bronx and a video wherein Luke Perry appears to marry a balloon.
Buster Poindexter : ‘Zat You Santa Claus’
Thanks to the patronage of Steven Patrick Morissey, David Johansen and his New York Dolls have recently been restored to somewhere near their rightful place in the rock pantheon and are nicely engaged in treading the lucrative reunion trail, but there was a time when Dave was on his uppers, masquerading as a lounge lizard under the guise of Buster Poindexter. And here he is hamming it up with an old Louis Armstrong Xmas chiller.
The Associates : ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’
The late great Billy McKenzie with Howard Hughes of The Books on piano at a one-off show at Ronnie Scotts in December 1984. This is how Billy closed the show, with the Nat King Cole classic. Not a dry eye in the house.
Check it out here (you have to scroll down a little to get there).
What are your alt-festive faves?