It’s the most wonderful time of year, and to help you celebrate, here is a roundup of some of the best holiday albums and singles in recent memory—dust off those Bing Crosby records, let’s get the party started:
Bruce Springsteen, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town": This single, at least to me, is the sign that the holidays are on the way. Whether it’s the bells jingling or the late Clarence Clemons’ ho-ho-hos, this tune is everything the holidays are about: fun, family and smiling. Cheesy? A bit, but I’m from the East Coast and simply put, hearing it on New York rock radio immediately after Thanksgiving brings a smile to my face.
U2, "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)": This Joshua Tree-era track is a classic. Bono’s vocals are in prime form, The Edge’s guitar tone is great and it’s an overall winner.
Adam Sandler, "The Chanukah Song": Yes, this is a classic. Perhaps the most famous Chanukah tune outside of "Driedel," Sandler’s laundry list of Jewish celebs intertwined with comedy (when he used to be funny) is amazing. From David Lee Roth to Dinah Shore, from Harrison Ford to Goldie Hawn, you can’t help but admire and chuckle along with the former funnyman. Though he’s made two subsequent "Chanukah Songs" nothing beats the original.
Run DMC, "Christmas in Hollis": Some more East Coast love. This was one of the first hip-hop holiday songs and to say it’s not awesome, well, wouldn’t be awesome. Thinking of this tune and its creative storytelling and music is the standard bearer of what all great holiday songs should sound like.
She & Him, A Very She & Him Christmas: The lovely duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward recently put together a package of holiday standards and by all means, it sounds awesome. Deschanel and Ward’s take on old favorites, while remaining true to themselves, is a delightful record that will blow away any holiday album you have.
Bob Dylan, Christmas in the Heart: A bit odd considering Dylan is Jewish, however, in a move that Santa would approve of, the Bard donated all the profits from this 2009 album to charity. Though it’s another record of standards, it’s great to hear Dylan’s interpretation of "Little Drummer Boy." If that doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will.
Bing Crosby, White Christmas: You really thought we’d tease with Bing, and leave him off the list? Crosby is the standard bearer of holiday music, with "White Christmas" being the most famous holiday song of all time. In fact, every song on here is a winner. Nothing says Christmas like Bing Crosby, and although it doesn’t snow here in Southern California, hearing the singer croon, "It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas," can only warm your heart.
Do you have a favorite holiday song or album to add to the list?