ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • Christmas

My Top Seven Christmas Songs

Updated on December 16, 2010

Holiday Classics That You Need To Own

Perhaps one of the biggest aspects of the Christmas season are the songs that are so essential to the holiday.

Over the years, I've heard so many versions of tunes like "O Christmas Tree", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Jingle Bell Rock" that by New Year's Day I scream when I hear those standards (and others).

Recently I pondered about those songs that I never got tired of or screamed at when I heard them, they were so good; these are the tunes that not only get me into the holiday spirit, they also induce tears.

In numerical order, best going last, I thought I'd list those holiday songs that I strongly recommend and that people should buy, that I feel best depicts the true meaning of Christmas, starting with...

7. FELIZ NAVIDAD, JOSE FELICIANO (1970)

This Christmas ditty is loved by millions and is one of the best for one important reason: It's a fun, danceable song.

The fact that it is sung by one of the all-time great guitar virtuosos predominantly in Spanish doesn't hurt either; Feliciano is a genius, and has been for over forty years.

Although the lyrics are simple, basically wishing for a Merry Christmas "from the bottom of my heart", that's perfectly OK for a song like this - as they have always said on "American Bandstand", it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

6. HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER), JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO (1971)

This holiday number was part of the great ex-Beatle's peace campaign in the late 1960s and the early 70s, which included large posters and billboard signs saying "War Is Over - If You Want It" in cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles during the time the song was written.

Being that the war in Vietnam was still in effect, this appeal for a Happy Christmas from Lennon and his wife was quite appropriate - and is every bit as much so today considering what's going on in Afghanistan.

It also conveyed a hope for peace on Earth, which was John and Yoko's primary goal.

And it's a really good song on top of everything else.

5. CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE, VNCE GUARALDI TRIO (1965)

In my view (and countless others, I'm sure), the significant reason why A Charlie Brown Christmas is such an animated classic is the soundtrack that this jazz pianist's combo contributed to that TV special.

With just a upright bass and a basic drum set accompanying Guaraldi's piano arrangement, this theme song to Charles M. Schulz's first Peanuts show had a simplicity to it, which was exactly what made it so memorable.

Along with the lyrical version of this song that you hear on the special, there was an instrumental version which stood out precisely because of Guaraldi's piano. It is on the soundtrack album, which what you should definitely buy if you can only buy one Christmas CD in your lifetime.

It's also a big factor, together with the iconic "Linus and Lucy", to Charlie Brown Christmas being considered the greatest cartoon ever made.

4. RIU RIU CHIU, MONKEES (1967)

If you are one of those people who think that the Monkees were nothing but a fabricated group, I promise that seeing this clip of them performing this Spanish villicano from the mid-16th century, which they did at the end of their Christmas episode, will change your mind.

Describing the conception and nativity of Jesus, this Spanish language song is one of my personal favorites due to the fact that the melody is exquisite.

Many renditions of this carol exist, one notably from David Archueta of American Idol fame, but it was this version from the so-called "Pre-Fab Four" that made Riu Riu Chiu a classic in my book; Mickey Dolenz's solos were sung so beautifully that it brought a tear or two to my eyes.

That's why this holiday classic is an essential one.

3. LITTLE DRUMMER BOY/PEACE ON EARTH, BING CROSBY AND DAVID BOWIE (1977)

Even though I was only ten years old at the time this song was performed, I knew even then that this pairing of one of the greatest entertainers of all time with the guy who was best known at that time for being Ziggy Stardust and talking to Major Tom from Ground Control was unusual, if not outright weird.

I mean, who ever thought that Bing Crosby would even want to associate with a glam rock star?

That's why when I checked out the clip of this pairing from Crosby's Christmas special, I was blown away, particularly with Bowie's "Peace on Earth", which was written for that show.

The significance of this duet, as it turned out, was that it was recorded one month before Crosby passed away of a heart attack and shown six weeks afterward on November 30th, making this song the legend's last TV performance.

It's safe to say that he went out in style.

2. DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?, BAND AID (1984)

I clearly remember when this single dropped during my senior year in high school; my primary memory was that I felt a bit upset over never getting the chance to buy this record.

Organized by the Boomtown Rats' Bob Geldof to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, as millions were starving in that country, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was the first song featuring an all-star cast put together for the purpose of charity, inspiring other projects like Farm Aid, Live Aid, and USA For Africa's iconic "We Are The World".

I particularly loved the African-style beats in the background, as well as the vocals of stars like Sting, Bono, George Michael, Simon LeBon of Duran Duran, and Boy George, who were all riding the crest of their fame back then; Phil Collins playing the drums was a nice touch, too.

The lyrics were outstanding, helping to shoot the song straight to Billboard's number one spot with days of its release at the end of November. Needless to say, it raised millions of dollars for the famine relief effort.

All these years later, I'm still miffed that I didn't buy that single.

1. GABRIEL'S MESSAGE, STING (1987)

To be honest, I never really had a favorite Yuletide song for much of my life; don't ask me why.

That changed very quickly after I heard this cut from the Police's former front man, which was part of the "A Very Special Christmas" album made to raise funds for the Special Olympics.

With its lyrics describing the Virgin Mary being informed by the angel Gabriel that as the "most highly favoured maid", she was going to conceive and give birth to the Saviour, this piece gave me chills and tears.

In fact, "Gabriel's Message" was - and is - so excellent that I consider it the greatest Christmas carol ever made, being that it was beautifully sung and best depicted the true meaning of Christmas, what that holiday is (or should be) all about.

At least, that's how I feel about it.

When you get down to the bottom line here, songs of this genre should convey what Christmas is about an addition to helping, in their own small way, to bring peace on Earth and goodwill to all people, as opposed to just men.

If you do follow my advice and listen to these tunes, if not download or buy them, I certainly hope that they help you get into the holiday spirit - with times being what they are, Lord knows people need that.

 

Which one of these Christmas songs is your favorite?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)