We are in the ho-ho-home stretch now, folks! I have to be honest, before this week I had no idea just how many Christmas songs existed. There are a lot! Once the Funkhouser crew is done with this little experiment, you lucky ducks are going to have a ton of new tunes to listen to while you go wassailing through your neighborhoods next week. So without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Here, in no particular order, are my five favorite holiday jams. Unlike some of the songs selected by my fellow writers that can be blasted at any old time, these tunes are best listened to with glassy eyes and a belly full of booze. I strongly suggest listening to these while slowing getting faded off a giant vat of bourbon and starring quietly at the twinkling lights of your tree. Click on the link to listen to each song.
On the surface, this 1968-jam from Clarence Carter (which features the horn riff Run DMC used in “Christmas in Hollis”) is little more than a catchy, rhythm-and-bluesy holiday song about a “Santa” who prefers to enter the homes he visits via the back door instead of the chimney. That not only seems practical, but also far safer than navigating icy rooftops. A closer inspection of the lyrics, however, reveals it’s actually about a serial adulterer who visits women while they’re husbands aren’t home and likes to throw change at kids to distract them while he canoodles with their moms. Oh, what a fantastic little diddy to listen to on Christmas!
This hummable bit of melancholy is from the 1982 Burt Reynolds-Dolly Parton musical, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In the film, the song is sung by Dolly Parton and her motley crew of prostitute friends as they pack up and prepare to leave their beloved brothel. Sure it’s a little sad, and maybe it’s not “technically” a Christmas song, but in my book there’s no better way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year then watching Dolly Parton croon on the front porch of a fictional cathouse.
Oh, man. Can anyone sing about the struggles of the working man like Merle Haggard? Again, this isn’t a traditional Christmas song, but I’d argue it resonates with more people than a lot of the jingle-bell driven shlock that gets played this time of year. If you like to get drunk and cry over the holidays, this is the song for you. I mean, if you don’t openly weep when Merle sings, “Heaven knows I been workin’ hard/I wanted Christmas to be right for daddy’s girl./Now I don’t mean to hate December./It’s meant to be the happy time of year./But my little girl don’t understand/Why daddy can’t afford no Christmas here,” you might want to move to Whoville because you’re basically the Grinch.
Everyone has a special Christmas program that defines their childhood, and for me, that show is Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. This 1977 Jim Henson production is basically a retelling of O. Henry’s famous short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” and it’s pretty much perfect in every way. This song appears near the end of the movie and serves as a reminder that, even with no money, it’s still possible to be the richest folks in the world.
Did you know Twisted Sister’s hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is the EXACT SAME SONG as “Oh Come All Ye Faithful?” Well, now you do and you’ll never, ever be able to forget it when you hear either song from now on. Consider this my Christmas gift to you!
Cheers, y’all. And happy holidays to you and yours.