12 Days of #108Mas: The 5 – Original XMas Songs from the 1980s
I’m pretty sure literally everyone in the music industry has their own holiday album at this point. Look, it’s an excellent cash grab. Release covers of a bunch of old standards and we’ll listen to ’em. It happens every year and in a year where musicians had a lot of time on their hands and no touring revenue, I’d expect even more. But we’re here to talk about those brave few that have written their own Christmas songs during my lifetime. And for this group, we’re starting in my birth year (1980 believe it or not) and ending prior to the glorious ’90s. This unfortunately cuts out some of my favorite tracks: Happy Xmas (War is Over), Father Christmas, and Santa Claus and his Old Lady.
5. The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)
Of course, I need a punk track in here. This is actually a fun song. It was competing with The Pogues for the final spot, but their Fairytale of New York depresses me more than this one, so the Ramones won out. Overall, it’s 2 min of holiday punk fun with the guys that made 2 minute songs a thing.
4. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
If you’re like me, you probably only know them for “I Know What Boys Like”. But this Xmas track is a lot of fun. Is it really rapping? Well, I guess for the early ’80s. But these guys also have a track called “They’re All Out Of Liquor, Let’s Find Another Party” (it’s not good). Sounds like my kind of people to hit a holiday party with.
3. Wham! – Last Christmas
Wham! spent the early ’80s cranking out hits and this is no exception. And if you like really cheesy music videos from the 1980s, well do I have a treat for you. It’s got over 500 million views on YouTube, so I’m not the only one who likes it. This is a solid Christmas offering that puts it right in the center of our rotation. It’s also been covered a ton, so if you don’t dig this version, go listen to the one by the artist you like.
2. Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas
Despite being released 36 years ago, it certainly feels like this is about this fucked up year. Regardless, Freddie Mercury was an incredible vocalist and he belts this one out beautifully. Just a fantastic track and is almost at the top for me, but…
1. Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis
You’d have to be living on a different planet to not know this track. It was featured in Die Hard and is a staple of any good Holiday Song Playlist. The track itself is incredibly good and it shouldn’t surprise you one bit that Rick Rubin produced it. Another note is that they sample Clarence Carter’s Back Door Santa in this, which is a heck of an interesting track if you have the time for a listen. I can’t say enough about this track, but to put the cherry on top for it, this was written to be part of the first A Very Special Christmas album which means a lot of the proceeds of this song went to the Special Olympics. Here’s the tremendous video, featuring DMC’s actual mom, a Trailblazers jacket that MySoxSummer would love to sell on eBay, and a Cadillac sleigh.
You’re probably wondering where Band-Aid and McCartney are on this list, but don’t worry, I assure you those will be played every five seconds on every holiday station.
Keep an eye out for the 1990s in the next few days