Now that we are officially in the season the Christmas song madness has begun. Sirius XM has 20 channels devoted to just Christmas music, are you kidding me?? Even my Big Band/Swing channel is now holiday music until January 3. I checked out some lists of all time Christmas favorites by looking at four different surveys and was amazed none of them even came close to one another. One didn’t even have “White Christmas” listed and one had mostly all rock, heavy metal and hip hop artists versions of Christmas classics. So I have my own “Top 10” list of Christmas songs, but in no particular order. I’m a traditionalist for the most part, when it comes to the great Christmas classics, so here goes.
White Christmas – Bing Crosby – There over 100 versions of this song and some are really good. Still, like Santa Claus, Crosby and that song have become synonymous with the Christmas holiday. To not include a song that has sold over 100 million on any Christmas song list is a head scratcher.
The Christmas Song – Nat “King” Cole – It’s more commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” but it is an all time classic. There have been a number of other versions over the years, some very good. But for me, there is no one who could ever do this holiday classic better.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee – My old rock and roll roots are showing here, but this upbeat song is another one that regardless of what generation you are from it has all the right spirit. This year, 65 years later, it finally hit #1 on the Billboard charts!
I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Frank Sinatra – Originally recorded by Crosby during WW II, the song has been recorded by dozens of artists since from Crosby to Perry Como, Kelly Clarkson to Meagan Trainor and on and on. For me the Sinatra version and orchestration is my all time favorite.
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry – Talk about classics, this is certainly one that every little kid, and grownups, have heard and probably had a copy of. You just get a smile from listening to it or singing along. How this could be left off any list is beyond me.
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Marian Carey –I know this has become “the” song at Christmas ever since she recorded it back in 1994. I know its a popular song with many people under 40. For me personally, it is just okay. Like I said I am a traditionalist, but yes, it belongs on the list.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Michael Buble – The real classic here is, Judy Garland or Sinatra’s’s version, which I thoroughly enjoy. I am a fan of Buble and his version is a great combo of tradition and modern together giving it a fresh new sound. (He is also on my “worst” list)
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt – It was recorded in 1953 and became a gold record. Ms. Kitt’s sensual, breathy sexiness in that song made it a fun song to enjoy. It is one of the top all time Christmas songs. Yet, here we are in 2023 and still a few radio stations that refuse to play it considering it ‘obscene”.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – The Jackson 5 -This song has been around since the 1930’s and been recorded by every type of artist Sinatra, Como, Mathis, the Crystals, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen and more, but the Jackson’s have the most popular version showing up on the charts, so I had to give it it’s due.
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano – This song took over twenty years to finally get the popularity it deserves having been recorded back in 1970. It is up tempo, catchy, fun and expresses the holiday in a whole different way. Garth Brooks has a solid version, but the Jose version is still the best there is.
I would love to have your thoughts and favorites so fire away. Have a very blessed holiday season and remember it’s true meaning. Merry Christmas to you all. Next week “Art’s World” will have our “”Top Christmas Movies” list.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN