Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Today's song is not only a fantastic song but a cherished tradition on The David Letterman Show. In 1986 the incomparable Darlene Love performed Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and has performed the song every year since then.

A ton of people have covered the song since it first debuted in 1963 on the Phil Spector produced album A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector. But no one sings it like Darlene Love. No one. She's the original. She's the best. In fact, in 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs.

A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector was released on November 22, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Neither JFK nor the album faired well. But unlike JFK, the album has found new life over the years and in 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #142 in their 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time. Pretty darn good for a Christmas album.

Above is video of Darlene Love singing the song this year on Letterman.

Buy the song on iTunes here.

Get it for slightly cheaper on Amazon here.

Below is her singing it for the first time in 1986.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hollywood Undead - Christmas in Hollywood

This Christmas song is not, I repeat, not a family song. It's Christmas in Hollywood by Los Angeles-based rap band Hollywood Undead.

I can't explain why I like this song. It's laced with foul language but I like the hook of the song. So if you're leaning towards a profanity-laced Christmas, this song is for you.

You can buy it at iTunes here.

Buy it at Amazon here.

Mel Torme - The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Mix)

What could be better than Mel Torme, The Velvet Fog,  singing The Christmas Song? How about Mel Torme singing The Christmas Song but remixed? Today's song is The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Mix).

I have no idea how this remix came to be but I like it.

The Christmas Song was written in 1944 by Mel Torme and Bob Wells in a blistering 40-minutes. Best 40-minutes of their lives. This is another song in which nearly everyone who has ever lived has covered it: Robert Goulet, Babyface, Twisted Sister, and The Temptations to name just a few. And I mean just a few.

Buy it at iTunes here.

Buy it at Amazon here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Slow Club - It's Christmas and You're Boring Me

Here's a Christmas song  for everyone who's bitter at this time of year. It's Christmas and You're Boring Me by the English duo group Slow Club. It's a fantastic break up song. I mean come on, lots of people pick this time of year to break up and it sucks. Well, it sucks any time but it especially sucks at Christmas.
Your mother's heart is bursting for me
As we sit by her impressive tree
Her heart is open, but mine it is torn for her first-born
It's Christmas and you're boring me
Now what can I possibly do?
You've made me happy but you don't excite me
I'll wait till New Years to tell you we're through
This Christmas the bells ring out of tune
It's Christmas and You're Boring Me song was released in 2009 on the Christmas, Thanks For Nothing EP. What a fantastically bitter title. So if you're feeling bitter this holiday, this is the song for you.

Buy it at iTunes here.

Buy it at Amazon here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Aimee Mann - Whatever Happened to Christmas

Christmas. It's all holly and jolly until melancholia sets in. Today's song - Whatever Happened to Christmas - matches my mood.

 Whatever Happened to Christmas was written by Jimmy Webb. I was just talking about him today. Jimmy Webb wrote a gazillion songs, among them Wichita Lineman and MacArthur Park. Whatever Happened to Christmas was first recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1968 for the album The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.

I like the Sinatra version but Aimee Mann's version particularly grabs me. I think it's a beautiful and touching song.

You can but it at iTunes here.

Get it at Amazon here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lou Rawls - Christmas Is

Christmas Is, sung by Lou Rawls, is my song of the day. This song makes me sway and swoon. It's from Lou's album Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho, which I believe was released on Jan 1, 1967. Missed the Christmas album buying window by that much.

Christmas Is has been a mainstay on my holiday play list for years. The opening sax is as smooth as a hot chocolate martini. Hmm. That's sounds yummy right about now. If you'll excuse me, I have a drink to make. But first, let me put on a some Lou Rawls.

Buy the song at iTunes here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Keith Richards - Run Run Rudolph

What do The Grateful Dead, Kelly Clarkson, and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mahyem all have in common? They've all recorded one of my favorite Christmas Songs - Run Run Rudolph.

But the version I prefer is by today's birthday boy, Keith Richards, who turns 70 years old today. Crikey. Happy birthday, Keith.

Keith's version is fantastic. It's gritty, it's rocking, and it's Keith Richards for crying out loud. It was released as a single and the B-side is Pressure Drop with Toots and the Maytals. How awesome is that!?

First recorded by Chuck Berry in 1958, the song was released as the single Run, Rudolph, Run on Chess Records (the same fantastic label that released The Gems' Love For Christmas). All subsequent releases of the song have been under the title Run Run Rudolph. Probably because that's what it says in the lyrics. I'm just guessing.

Buy it at iTunes here.

Buy it at Amazon here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Amy Winehouse - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Here is a very rare recording of Amy Winehouse singing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. I think it's from the Q Awards in 2004. Side note: The Pet Shop Boys were award the Q Inspiration Award and The Red Hot Chili Peppers won the Best Act in the World Today at the 2004 Q Awards.

Anyway, I'm a huge Amy Winehouse fan and and love this version of the song. The only place I've seen it released is on a Dutch produced CD compilation called Best of Christmas.

You can buy it at Amazon.

The Gems - Love For Christmas

Oh how I love the song Love For Christmas by The Gems. The Gems was a Chicago-based group from the early 1960s and featured a very young Minnie Riperton. Minnie went on to have a number one hit with Lovin' You in 1974. The Gems were on the Chess Records label, started by a couple of Polish immigrant brothers with the last name of Chess. Go figure. Love For Christmas was written by Raynard Miner, who also wrote the Jackie Wilson hit (You're Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.

 All that said, Love For Christmas is a terrific holiday song.

 You can buy the song on iTunes here.

 Get it at Amazon here.

The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song

I really dig The Christmas Song by the Danish band The Raveonettes.

This is such a great song. I don't have much to say about this song other than it's lovely and should be on your playlist.

Get it at iTunes here.

Get it at Amazon right below.

The Beginning of the End - Gee Whiz, It's Christmas

What's Christmas without a Christmas song with a Junkanoo beat? Exactly. So here's Gee Whiz, It's Christmas by The Beginning of the End. The Beginning of the End was a band from Nassau, Bahamas.

They formed in 1969, released their Funky Nassau album in 1971, hit number 15 in the Billboard Top 100 Chart, and then abruptly dropped out of sight. But this version of Gee Whiz, It's Christmas is the one that rings my bell.

Buy it on iTunes here.

The Pogues - Fairytale of New York

While a lot of popular Christmas songs are about presents, family, and various snow-related activities, Fairytale of New York by the Pogues is about an alcoholic sleeping off a binge in a drunk tank. And how about these lyrics to warm your cockles:

You're a bum 
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You Scumbag, you Maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy christmas your ass

I pray God it’s our last

This song definitely puts the "Merry" in "Merry Christmas." But here's the thing: it's an awesome song. It's been covered by a bunch of artists and the song has consistently been on various "Greatest Christmas Songs of All-Time" lists in the UK. Figures the UK would put a song about a alcoholism and drug addiction in the number one spot. But I have to agree with them. This song is wonderful.

 Buy the song on iTunes here.

Sufjan Stevens - Christmas in the Room

Let's face it, Christmas is a time for bittersweet songs. For every kiss stolen under the mistletoe, there's grief from the memory of family and friends no longer with us. Christmas in the Room captures the bittersweetness of the holidays and life. But the song by Sufjan Stevens (He has a brother named Marzuki. What up with those names?) hits on what's really important: being together. No gifts. No crap. Just the joy of being together.

Buy the song at iTunes here.

Buy it at Amazon by clicking below.