Rock Christmas Songs- Classic Christmas Songs From Favorite Rock Artists (With Videos)
David Bowie and Bing Crosby Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth
This is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs and videos. Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth was recorded in September of 1977 for Bing Crosby’s TV special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. Bowie did not like Little Drummer Boy, and reportedly balked. The companion piece, Peace on Earth, was written for the television special. So the story goes, they recorded the song after only one hour of rehearsal.
Some question whether Bing Crosby even knew who David Bowie was when he was booked for the Christmas special. For his part, Bowie has since said that he appeared on the show because he knew his mother liked Crosby. Bing Crosby died on October 14, 1977, a little over a month after the special was filmed, and a little over a month before it was aired.
Includes Bowie/Crosby duet
Please Come Home for Christmas (Christmas lights show)
Eagles Please Come Home for Christmas
Please Come Home for Christmas, sometimes referred to as Bells Will Be Ringing, was released as a single, with no album affiliation, by the Eagles in 1978, and went to number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. I must admit that I thought this was an original Eagles song.
Please Come Home for Christmas was written by Gene Redd and Charles Brown. Brown recorded it, and the song was released in 1960. It was on the Christmas Singles charts for 9 years, hitting number 1 in 1972.
The single is available on Amazon.
John and Yoko Lennon
Happy Christmas War is Over
John Lennon & Yoko Ono Happy Christmas War is Over
In 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented billboards in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Athens, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Rome, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Helsinki that read “War is over! (If you want it) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko. At the time, the U.S. was involved in the Vietnam War. The words of the billboard became the chorus of the song, Happy Christmas, War is Over.
The song was recorded by John ad Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band in October 1971 in New York with producer Phil Spector. The children’s chorus is the Harlem Community Choir. The words of Happy Christmas, War is Over are by John and Yoko, but the melody is from a folk song, Stewball.
At the beginning of the song, it sounds like Yoko is whispering “Happy Christmas Yoko” and John whispering “Happy Christmas John” which would be weird even for them. John is actually saying “Happy Christmas Julian” and Yoko’s greeting is to her daughter Kyoko.
Wikipedia lists 45 covers of the song by artists from around the globe, including Andy Williams, David Cook, Sarah Brightman, Melissa Etheridge, Maroon 5, ‘N Sync, Diana Ross, Jessica Simpson, Céline Dion, Jimmy Buffett, Sarah McLachlan, Moody Blues, REO Speedwagon, and Neil Diamond.
Includes Happy Christmas/Was is Over
Bruce Springsteen Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus is Coming to Town was written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. First sung on a radio show in November 1934, it was an instant hit. The first known recording was by Tom Stacks and Harry Reser with his band in October 1934. The Tommy Dorsey band recorded the song in September 1935.
An animated television film, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, based on the song, was first aired in 1970 and is now a classic. The postman is the narrator, voiced by Fred Astaire.
The song has been covered by too many artists to count, including Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Alan Jackson, Green Day, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Jackson 5, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. This version by Bruce Springsteen has gotten a lot of radio play over the years.
This song is available on the 2-disk set, Now That's What I Call Christmas!
Queen Thank God it's Christmas
Thank God it’s Christmas was written by Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The song was released as a single in 1984, and again as a B-side to A Winter’s Tale in 1995.
Thank God it’s Christmas was never recorded for a Queen studio album, but is included on Queen’s Greatest Hits III, and has been included on several Christmas compilation albums. It was never recorded as a video, so is not seen on MTV or VH1, thereby making it a lesser known Christmas recording.
This song can be found on Queen Greatest Hits III.
Band Aid Do They Know it's Christmas
Late in 1984, Irishman Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats heard a report on BBC about the famine in Ethiopia. Wanting to raise money, Geldof called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and they wrote Do They Know it’s Christmas.
Geldof began publicizing the project and recruiting artists, putting together Band Aid with leading British and Irish artists. The project came together quickly.
In 1984 Do They Know it’s Christmas became the biggest selling UK single in history, staying at number one for five weeks.
It remained the highest selling UK single until Elton John’s 1997 tribute to Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997.
Jon Bon Jovi
I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas
Bon Jovi I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas
Bon Jovi recorded Please Come Home for Christmas in 1992, long after the Eagles version. Although I think the Eagles’ version has had more air play and is better known over the years, it peaked at number 18 on billboard in 1978, whereas Bon Jovi’s version climbed to number 7 in 1992.
I’ve selected I Wish Everyday Could be Like Christmas, written by Jon Bon Jovi, and released in 1992 as the B-side of Keep the Faith. I was in Turkey in 1992, and don’t recall ever having heard either of these Christmas songs by Bon Jovi.
I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas is available on the disc A Very Special Christmas.
Pick of the Litter
My Favorite Christmas Song is
© 2010 rmcrayne