December 18, 2013

Ed. note: It occurred to me this morning while I was half-asleep that there is no version of “White Christmas (for all you left-wing loons and Obamabots out there, the most racist Charistmas song of all time, but I digress) on my list at all. And yet, isn’t “White Christmas” the ultimate Christmas song? Like, ever? The ultimate version, I suppose, is Bing’s version (his corny whistling notwithstanding), but even Frank, The Beach Boys, and Darlene Love all do great jobs on it as well. I mean, with a tune that good isn’t it hard to wreck it? So it’s not on my list, perhaps should be, but it’s too late now, anyways. Nat King Cole knew that (Ok, there’s another one that didn’t make the list – better luck next year, Nat!)

That disclaimer aside, cats and chicks, ladies and gentlemen, dudes and dudettes, may I present The Great White Shank’s top 10 Christmas tunes of all time.

10. The Most Wonderful Time Of the Year – Andy Williams. Because y’all know in your heart of hearts that it’s not really Christmas without Andy. May he rest in peace.

9. Child Of Winter – The Beach Boys. A 1974 cut that never really saw the light of day. It’s a great little rockin’ tune with Mike Love on the lead and Brian Wilson doing the little dopey narration towards the end. Listen for the Moog synthesizer throughout as it becomes a little more prominent towards the end. A very cool cut.

8. The Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra. The whole Frank Christmas CD is as good as it gets. Not a bad track to be found. Christmas popular music as it should be – too bad our culture doesn’t know what taste, class, and appreciation means anymore. Makes me want to raise a martini glass to Christmasses past.

7. All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey. You can not tell me Mariah wasn’t inspired by Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift To You in this rollicking piece of holiday cheer. The song’s intro tells you that – all that’s missing are the tenor and alto saxes. The piano and driving bass, and the postively stratospheric note she hits towards the end does it for me. Heard it the first time on some Christmas station and didn’t know who did it, but I fell in love with it immediately. The background vocals could be a little more interesting; imagine what this would sound like if they were done by The Beach Boys? In my mind, it gets better (and higher ranked!) every year.

6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – Plastic Ono Band. Sure, John and Yoko sing this classic tune from 1971, but this is really Phil Spector‘s production from start to finish. Multiple acoustic guitars (played by Badfinger), sleigh bells, percussion, and those incredible shimmering strings (as only Phil could do). It’s Spector at the top of his form. The accompanying “official” video is disturbing, just as Lennon wanted it. What it tells me is that nothing has changed since this video was made more than twenty years ago, has it? Very sad.

5. Oh Holy Night – Mariah Carey. OK, I understand the big moment is when she hits that Memorex-shattering “divine” note the second time around (for those keeping score it’s a E5 sustained with vibrato to a F#5!) – that’s what the congregation is begging for – but I just love the way she presents the song. You see in her eyes and body movements a little “aw, shucks” humility that is quite charming, especially given the kind of aural onslaught she’s about to unleash. She looks great and sounds great, and the setting is awesome (it looks just like the Methodist church I used to attend back in Lowell, Mass.). Almost no one can match Mariah Carey’s version of this song. It’s totally mesmerizing.

4. In Praise Of Christmas – Loreena McKennitt. From her wonderful To Drive The Dark Winter Away. Not a bad track on the entire CD, it’s an absolute must have for everyone’s Christmas music collection. McKennitt’s lyrics are lovely and yearning – when I hear it all I want to do is be sitting with friends and loved ones drinking a hot mulled cider.

3. “O Holy Night” – Ricky Lee Jones. Consider this the anti-Mariah version. Backed by The Chieftains on their Bells Of Dublin release. I know what you’re thinking – Rickie Lee Jones??? – but listen – she does a great job. Nothing fancy, stunning in a folksy way. Love the way she pronounces the word “hear”. I think she captures the true spirit of the song.

2. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – The Ronettes. OK, I know what you’re thinking – there goes The Great White Shank again, off on another Ronettes / Phil Spector tangent. For the sake of brevity all I’ll say is this: it really doesn’t get a whole lot better than this – and I’m not talkin’ Christmas music, I’m talking classic pop music in general. The way Ronnie Spector slurs her s’s in “seen”, “kissing”, and “Santa” just makes my heart melt.

1. Blue Christmas. You know who does it. The absolute freakin’ best pop Christmas song ever recorded, hands down. Sparse piano, guitar, stand-up bass, the Jordanaires, all backing the King. How on God’s green earth do you improve on that? You don’t. Two minutes and nine seconds of perfection.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (7)
  1. Not having Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses on this list is a travestiy

    Comment by TFG — December 18, 2013 @ 5:20 am

  2. Michael Crawford’s O Holy Night is the BEST EVER….I have it on my Trans Siberian DVD….you need to hear this and then there is Jewel singing…you just need to get this dvd.

    three words…PGA…Valhalla…August

    Comment by Jana — December 18, 2013 @ 6:12 am

  3. Sorry, but ANY list of favorite Christmas songs that doesn’t include at least one version of White Christmas is bogus.

    And Andy Williams should be in the Top 5.

    Comment by Dave Richard — December 18, 2013 @ 11:16 am

  4. Heard it, it’s OK. Wouldn’t make my list, but that’s why Jana needs to send me her top 10. I’ll throw it up there! 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 19, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

  5. TFG, I have to say that’s one of the %$#@! worst Christmas songs I’ve ever heard. But it would be perfect for a Goodboys Christmas gathering!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 19, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

  6. Very interesting blog post. Are you taking suggestions? What about this:

    Comment by Don Berger — December 19, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  7. […] “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. You don’t get the #2 slot on my Top 10 Christmas list for nothing. Simply put, there is nothing wanting in this recording – the performances are […]

    Pingback by GoodBoys Nation - Archives » My Final Holiday Ode To St. Phil — December 15, 2020 @ 7:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info