Not everyone loves Christmas songs, but you can put me in a special category. I love original Christmas songs from classic rockers.
It couldn’t have been easy for them. I’m sure some producer or agent along the way told them they needed to do a Christmas album or at least a few Christmas songs. It would have been easy to just record a few of the old standards, and many of them did just that. But to write and record an original track and have it turn into a standard, well, that is saying something.
Here are my top 10 original Christmas songs from classic rockers, or at least covers that have become indelibly associated with the artist. Build this playlist into your smart speaker and, if you’re about my age, you’ll be instantly transported back to your teen years when Christmas was carefree.
How’d I do? Did I miss any of your favorites?
10. Jim Croce: “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way”
What can I say, I’m a big fan, and this is my list. But wait. Give it a chance. Listen to the unmistakably smooth voice and heartfelt sentiment.
9. Paul McCartney: “Wonderful Christmastime”
This one’s a bit syrupy, but come on, it’s Paul McCartney! He can do what he wants.
8. Paul Young: “What Christmas Means to Me”
Paul is an obscure ’70s/’80s top 40 artist who somehow struck gold with this one.
7. Kenny Loggins: “Celebrate Me Home”
This obscure song is hauntingly beautiful. Just listen.
6. The Carpenters: “Merry Christmas, Darling”
OK, they’re not rockers, but the angelic voice of Karen Carpenter offers up a true standard of aching loneliness and missing your loved one at Christmas.
5. Bryan Adams: “Christmas Time”
I love this Canadian rocker’s voice and sentiment. Super nostalgic. Always takes me back.
4. Beach Boys: “Little Saint Nick”
They make it seem so easy. These Hall of Famers offer their ’60s hit “Little Deuce Coup” with snow a-flying instead of rubber!
3. Stevie Wonder: “Someday at Christmas”
A pointed, political statement from someone who really cares.
2. Eagles: “Please Come Home for Christmas”
It wouldn’t be Christmas without this this bluesy and melancholy cover.
1. John Lennon and Yoko Ono: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
A political statement mixed with an unforgettable melody and simple words. A true masterpiece from an all-time great.
Honorable mentions: Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie,” John Denver’s “Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913,” Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas.”