Merry Chrisknowlesmas!

It's that time of year - for the secret history of rock n' roll Christmas songs! Well, kind of. It's more the secret history of rock n' roll songs that fill me with wistful holiday nostalgia. 

Let's get this party started. Crank it up, you mad dog! 

The Greedies thing is such a great record it really makes me wish they’d done more. No one probably remembers this but me, but you will too after listening.

I really hate this song and I REALLY despise Bob Geldof, but watching this video takes me back to a wild Christmas vacation of chaos and debauchery in Boston. 

Kids nowadays just can’t get away with the shit we did. 

Angel’s whole deal is that they were the counterpart to KISS - who were demons - and Angel were, um, supposed to be angels. They never really went anywhere. The only traces they left were this great Christmas song and Zappa’s parody of guitarist Punky Meadows, “Punky’s Whips.”

Bruce Springsteen breaks my heart. He’s a shameless Regime bootlicker with a phony Okie accent now, and he's made far more terrible records than great ones. In fact, the new year will see the 40th anniversary of the last great Springsteen album.

But once upon a time Bruce was the new King of Rock ’n’ Roll. And this Christmas classic shows you why.

This is a morose GenX late '90s party-is-over kind of vibe and the lyrics are a major drag. But it reminds me of Christmas, so sue me.

Same goes for this. I like this one song by these cats, don't like everything else. 

Happy GenXmas!

Speaking of late 90s party-is-over GenXmas songs. This reminds me of dial-up AOL. So it’s a keeper.

I still like Angels and Airwaves a million times better than Blink. So sue me more.

Everyone loves this tune (God knows why) and it raises the same question in everyone’s mind: “What the hell did Andrew Ridgley even do in Wham?” 

Still, the 80s-ness of this makes me extremely wistful. What the hell happened to us?

John Lennon and Paul McCartney had dueling Christmas songs back in the day, but Lennon won it hands it down. His solo stuff is very much of its time - meaning very much not of ours - but this is still a great tune.

This was recorded when Bowie was shacked up with drag queen Romy Haag in Berlin, which always makes me chuckle. But who the hell knows what kind of hijinks Der Bingle was up to, right? 

A classic that I'm sick of, but can still press nostalgic buttons.

The big joke of the Cocteau Twins doing Christmas songs is that half their catalog already sounds like Christmas carols anyway. And "Frosty the Snowman" sounds like the title of a song on Victorialand

I'm lukewarm on the "Winter Wonderland," but the "Frosty" sounds like the great lost outtake from Heaven or Las Vegas. Transcendent.

I'm generally leery of bands writing Christmas songs, but this classic just sounds like a regular Pretenders song with a reference to the holiday in the chorus. 

Really brings back the warm and fuzzies. Die, Time, die.

No New Wave Christmas playlist would be complete without this song, one of those numbers that no one heard when it first came out but went on to become a standard.

Another example of a Christmas song you can listen to year-round. I still remember when this came out, on account of being old as dirt, and still remember how enraptured I was by it. Nothing sounded like this at the time. 

I miss new ideas.

Again, no attempt to sound like a Christmas song, just a great, flat-out rock 'n roll song with Christmas lyrics. Ray Davies is a treasure, and we don't appreciate him enough. 

'We' meaning the world.

One of the greatest all-time Christmas songs of any genre. And Christ, look how young Greg Lake is here. Like many people in this list, he's no longer with us.

I hate you, Time. If I could, I would murder you. Slowly.

The 90s were a thin time for hard rock bands writing good Christmas songs. This was as close as anyone got to writing anything good.  Leave it to Billy, right?

Well, this one too. Another example of a song just being a regular song with Christmas bits in it. Type O were listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins and other shoegazey stuff when they made this record and you can tell. RIP Peter Steele.

Not really a Christmas song either, but I always associate it with Christmas because it's the first song I heard when I plugged in the boombox I got for Christmas in 1980. It sounded incredible.  I saw the Doobies in 1978 when I just turned 12. It was the first time I ever got high.

I was basically feral. Typical 70s parents.

Bonus Christmas classic. You're welcome.


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89v9xDI97fE

  2. Springsteen is the worst and that Counting Crows song reminds me of my grandma having a massive, life altering stroke and my grandfather dying of leukemia a couple months the later.


Tell me your secret history.