Christmas Playlist - Our Top 10

We love a festive tune here at Glasswells HQ, there’s nothing quite like it for getting in the Christmas mood, while some familiar tunes are the perfect accompaniment for seasonal rituals of gift wrapping and baking mince pies. We also love songs that are a little less familiar….Check out our top 10!

If you’ve ever lived half a country away from your family and have packed up the car with presents to head home for Christmas through the snow and the ice and the M25, you must appreciate at least the spirit of this song.
If you’re wondering what’s with the video, basically old Chris never made one when he first released it in 1986. So, when it was re-released in 2009, he decided to finally get round to one and dedicated the proceeds to Shelter. Now that’s some real Christmas spirit!

An alternative from the alternatives. The Coventry Carol is a beautiful Christmas carol dating from the 16th century which is not as well known as it should be. It describes the massacre of the innocents part of the Christmas narrative in which Herod orders the murder of all boys two and under. The carol is the lullaby sung by a mother who laments the impending murder of her son.  Merry Christmas one and all!

Unfortunately Bob Dylan’s record company won’t allow his songs to be embedded via youtube. The clip is Dylan reciting The Night Before Christmas. Bob Dylan left those “serious” music critics baffled and nervous when he announced that he was working on a Christmas album. Music buffs were horrified; after all protest songs, autobiographical songs, open ended lyrics and bluesy rootsy music is considered “cool”. Christmas songs on the other hand are “uncool” unless done by an ex-Beatle with an anti-war message attached at the end. The reality is that Dylan, for the last two decades, has been making great music, with the main inspiration being traditional songs that have been passed on through generations, this is just another example of his love of such music.

They were, of course, one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music. Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) first slipped out as a B-side in 1987, to the single I Wanna Live. The 1st-4th-5th chord progression that can be traced back to their first single The Blitzkreig Bop and beyond to the prehistory of rock; the yearning, plainitive tone of both Joey Ramones voice and lyrics (in retrospect, it’s hard not to see this as a plea to his bandmate and arch-enemy, guitarist Johnny); and, of course, the innocence that marked him out from every other punk – “All the children are tucked in their beds/ Sugar-plum fairies dancing in their heads.”

The hard men of rock got together with some punk boys to form a very unlikely alliance. Brian Downey, Philip Lynott and Gary Moore from Thin Lizzy joined forces with Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols with Bob Geldof from the Boomtown Rats making a cameo appearance in a transient offshoot band called The Greedy B*******s,  later shortened to the Greedies for obvious reasons. This line up was originally put together for a one off charity gig but the Greedies played impromptu sessions when ever possible and even got time to record an amalgamation of two Christmas favorites namely “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” which comprised a fusion of rock and punk which became ‘A Merry Jingle’ released in 1979.  It’s a bit fun really, nothing too deep and meaningful.

Gaudete  (“rejoice” in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century, but could easily have existed as a monophonic hymn in the late medieval period, with polyphonic Alto, Tenor, and Bass parts added during the 15th century, particularly due to its Medieval Latin lyrics. The song was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1582. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books. The electric folk group Steeleye Span had a hit in 1973 (No. 14, UK singles chart) with an a cappella recording of the song. Guitarist Bob Johnson had heard the song when he attended a folk-carol service with his father-in-law in Cambridge, and brought it to the attention of the rest of the band.

Recorded at a Long Island gig in December 1975, Bruce Springsteen released the song as the B-Side to “My Hometown” in 1985 and it quickly became a holiday staple. Springsteen will usually break out the song if he’s doing a show around Christmas, though occasionally he has been known to perform it other times of the year!

“Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord” is a 1978 Christmas single for Boney M., a cover of Harry Belafonte’s 1956 hit, put in medley with the new song “Oh My Lord” (Farian / Jay). The single was recorded in a hurry early November, included in the group’s live set and rushed out at the end of the month, topping the UK Singles Chart for four weeks and became Christmas number one, spending eight weeks in the charts. It was the second single for the group in the UK’s all-time best selling singles list. The song was later included in the group’s Christmas Album, 1981.

Seger’s take on ‘Little Drummer Boy’ was an ambitious choice, considering that David Bowie and Bing Crosby had already laid down what many would consider to be the definitive version of the song. So what did Bob bring to the table? Restraint, for one thing. His reading is gentle, maintaining the traditional feel of the original standard that we’ve grown to love.
Backed by the members of the Silver Bullet Band, the stately sound of ‘Drummer’ is built up with additional guitar courtesy of Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren and majestically angelic choral background vocals from an expanded group of singers anchored by longtime Seger backing vocalist Laura Creamer.

“Christmas All Over Again” is a Christmas song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. At the end of the song Petty says that, for Christmas, he wants “a new Rickenbacker guitar, two Fender Bassmans, Chuck Berry songbooks, and a xylophone.”
Featured on the second Very Special Christmas CD to benefit Special Olympics, Petty donated the royalties to the song to the organization. Since its release in 1992, the song has raised more than $200,000 to benefit athletes with intellectual disabilities. The song was featured in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York while Kevin was listening to his Walkman on the airplane flight to New York City. Therefore, he did not realize he was on the wrong flight. It is also used in the movie Jingle All the Way where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character arrives at the mall, and as the closing theme from Four Christmases starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.

Enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!