If anything is subjective, musical taste is sure to rank chief among the top ridiculous, silly arguments between people. Sgt. Pepper is better than Revolver! Dark Side of the Moon over The Wall, etc, etc.
So in that vein, here’s my current Top 5 Christmas songs. Of course, there are no correct answers.
A Marshmallow World — Dean Martin
Oh Deano! This member of the Rat Pack scored big in 1966 with The Dean Martin Christmas Album, one of his few collections of Christmas songs. A Marshmellow World is one of those enjoyable Christmas songs that isn’t truly about Christmas, it’s just one of those feeling-good-about-Winter tracks.
I like Deano crooning on this one and there are great background vocals too. Among popular Christmas albums, this one is worth the listen with this as the best track.
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry songs are great like Junior Chickens are great. They are simple, stripped-down, and all of them are the same. In that spirit, Chuck Berry released Run Rudolph Run in 1959, and it sounds a lot like Little Queenie or Johnny B. Goode, which is a-OK in my books.
The Father of Rock and Roll gave us one we can turn all the way up every Christmas and solved the problem of movie producers everywhere in future xmas flicks: What music should go in the background of the protagonists rushing somewhere?
P.S. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the lyrics go “Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s gotta make it to town,” but the song title is Run Rudolph Run? Perhaps it’s just me…
Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby
Pick your Bing poison during the holidays because Crosby might as well be called Father Christmas. If it’s a Christmas song, he sang it at one point (just probably not to his own children…)
The Hawaiian phrase for “Merry Christmas” this song allows for fiendish visions of sandy beaches, cocktails, and a tropical getaway in this song. Clark Griswold would still be gazing in longing out his kitchen window for this track playing if things broke differently.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Oh Brenda what a banger! This staple was released in 1958 and hasn’t looked back since. It’s a song that sounds of its time, and it’s hard to imagine the Christmas season without it.
Apparently, the people agree too. It’s the 4th most downloaded Christmas song in the history of both the internet and Christmas songs and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. One thing I bet you didn’t know–Brenda Lee was just 13 years old when the song was recorded. What a voice.
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
Alright, this is a bit of cheating because it’s a full album, but this is the best Christmas album that’s been made. Say what you want about Phil Spector, he’s a bit of an eccentric (and also a murderer currently in prison) but in the early 1960s, he revolutionized pop music. His Wall of Sound production techniques ie. Be My Baby, was hugely influential to Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and The Beatles.
This record came out in 1963 with tracks performed by artists on Spector’s label Philles Records and has many versions of songs that you’d already know: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) sang by Darlene Love, Sleigh Ride by The Ronnettes, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer performed by Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans.
All of the songs sang by The Ronnettes are absolute bangers. This is the only Christmas album a person needs. And now you know.