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Christmas Songs You’ll Never Hear at Midnight Mass

Posted in: General by Mary McDonough on December 13, 2010

Perhaps it’s the six straight weeks of frigid, icy weather. Possibly the annual Christmas marketing frenzy is finally getting to me. Or maybe I’ve just completely lost my mind. Whatever the reason, I decided to make a list of the top ten Christmas songs you’ll never hear at Midnight Mass. So stoke up a fire, get out the eggnog and rejoice that you don’t have to incorporate any of these songs into your yuletide celebrations.

10. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”: Believe it or not, this dumb little tune actually won 3 Grammys in 1958. The competition must have been pretty thin that year. I challenge anyone over the age of 8 to listen to this song in its entirety. Granted I have hyper-sensitive hearing but, with its shrill lyrics and ear piercing tones, I can’t get past the first 20 seconds.

9. “All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan”: This song was recorded by Kenny Chesney and released in 2003 on his album by the same name. His voice is lovely, music’s kinda nice but the lyrics are … well … better than the redneck song (see number 5) but not by much.

8. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”: Originally recorded by The Irish Rovers in 1979, the song tells the story of how a grandmother gets drunk, forgets to take her medicine and goes outside into a snow storm where she gets run over and killed by Santa’s sleigh. The next day her widower is drinking, watching football and playing cards. Enough said.

7. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”: Written by John Rox, this song was released in 1953 and sung by Gayla Peevey whose voice is so grating that I’d rather listen to someone scrapping their fingernails across a giant chalkboard. Whatever happened to pleasant little kids’ Christmas tunes like “The Little Drummer Boy”?

6. “Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Song)”: Throughout its history Italy has given the world an incredible array of artists, fashion designers, architects, poets, politicians, popes, pastas and Pinot Grigios. So you can imagine my relief when I found out that this song has absolutely nothing to do with the country. Written by Americans Richard Allen, Lou Monte and Sam Saltzberg, it was released in 1960. The chorus goes like this:

“Hey! Chingedy ching (hee-haw, hee-haw)
It’s Dominick the donkey
Chingedy ching (hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey (la la la-la la-la la la la la) (la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da).”

The “hee hawing” alone is enough to make me break out the Jack Daniels.

5. “Redneck 12 Days of Christmas”: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy released this song in 2003. Like “The Chipmunk Song,” I can’t bring myself to listen to the whole thing. Not because of high pitches but because of some of the stupidest lyrics I’ve ever heard. “Redneck” humor, with its glorification of ignorance and stupidity, leaves me cold.

4. “Thank God it’s Not Christmas”: Not to be confused with Queen’s song “Thank God it’s Christmas,” American band Sparks released this perky tune in 1974. The chorus goes:

“Thank God it’s not Christmas
When there is only you
And nothing else to do
Thank God it’s not Christmas
Where there’s just you to do
The rest is closed to public view.”

A fine song for people who just wish the Holidays were over, never to return again.

3. “Christmas With Satan”: Released by James Chance in 1982, when I first heard the title it reminded me of past Christmases spent with certain relatives who shall remain anonymous. Then I listened to it. One of the weirdest songs I’ve ever heard. The lyrics tell the story of a man with the Christmas blues who commits suicide and then meets up with Satan “to join the celebration.” In the background, Chance incorporates bits and pieces of music from famous Christmas carols. One of the lyrics describes the party with Satan: “There’s no angels or wise men, and certainly no virgins.” What more can I say?

2. “Christmas With the Devil”: Not to be outdone by James Chance, fictional metal band Spinal Tap debuted this song on Saturday Night Live in May (apparently they can’t read a liturgical calendar) of 1984 with elves in leather and angels in chains … hmm … it just occurred to me that maybe this is where Alice in Chains came up with their name.… Anyway, I couldn’t find a video of the Saturday Night Live gig but found this one from “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the picture quality is quite poor.

1. “You Son of A Bitch, You Stole My Woman, Now I’m Gunna Burn Down Your Christmas Tree Farm”: Michigan band Red Swan released this song in 2003. Just the title alone puts it in the number 1 spot. Enjoy!

Mary McDonough

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