ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • Christmas

The Best Covers Of My Favorite Christmas Songs

Updated on December 10, 2013

Santa Buddy -- An Introduction

With this article I attempt to bring the inanity back into blogging by taking classic Christmas songs, beloved the world over, and finding updated versions sung by flavor-of-the-week "musicians" who are more synthesizer than voice. So if you were bored of hearing Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, and Wham incessantly playing on your radio all month but for some reason still love all those incredibly thought-provoking lyrics and wish they would just be sung by someone else--perhaps someone who you grew up with, and not your grandparents--this is certainly the article for you! If, however, you were looking for new Christmas music--such as Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'--you would be disappointed since that song is nowhere near a classic, even if it's already been covered more times than 'The Christmas Song' by Nat King Cole, which itself was a cover of the original version written by Mel Torme.

Incidentally, the subtitle for this post--Santa Buddy--is a reference to Michael Buble's cover of 'Santa Baby', which would have been forgettable if it had not been for the fact that Buble refers to Santa as his buddy instead of his er, baby. What's wrong with a guy calling another guy his baby, especially if that baby is going to bring with him a platinum mine? I would call anyone a baby for that. I guess most of these songs would be classified as 'carols', though I'm not sure what a song has to do to become a carol, or if it's merely a classification reserved for songs out of copyright that can be sung for free. Anyhow, let's get down to the inanity with the Christmas covers!

Away In A Manger

I was initially going to try including dates of first recordings and by whom, but as it turns out it's hard to track down the information behind songs that have been in the public domain for over 130 years. Still, this is a classic song that needs a facelift to bring it into the 21st century with all the other poppy Mariah Carey-esque Christmas music. Therefore for this cover we look to Cascada, who, in 2006, became known for her dance floor remake of Everytime We Touch.
Because that's, that's just totally a good fit.


Carol Of The Bells

Did you know that apparently this quintessential Christmas carol was originally written as a pagan song to usher in the New Year? I know, it's a very inane and trivial piece of information. Have fun finding space to cram it into your brain. The best cover of this song, however, is definitely by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which amusingly enough, without any lyrics would put it as a pagan melody.

Pictured: Marisa Tomei, who is apparently not Mel Torme's daughter.
Pictured: Marisa Tomei, who is apparently not Mel Torme's daughter.

The Christmas Song ("Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire")

This is an interesting song as it's still very much in copyright having only been written in 1944 with the author, Mel Torme, still very much alive. Oh wait, according to Wikipedia he died in 1999. Well, his very attractive daughter is still alive at any rate. When I think of Christmas I always think of two things: spoiled kids getting things they don't deserve, and black rappers trying to stay relevant. Therefore, my choice for this song's cover goes to Justin Beiber and Usher who, for some reason, recorded it together.

Jingle Bells

Here's another lovely song that gets old about the 3rd day of December. Incidentally, this song was originally written as a Thanksgiving carol. But as it turns out people don't sing Thanksgiving carols because that would be silly--so it was shifted into Christmas. For me there will only be one version of Jingle Bells worth listening to and that's by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. The great part about his version is that it doesn't even sound like Jingle Bells anymore--it's some sort of jazzy, big band remix.


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Christmas isn't a happy time for everyone as it turns out. I'm not talking cheesy sadness like Blue Christmas either. I mean Christmas can be a really lonely, isolated time if you have no friends or family. A little known fact is that the original version of this song, written by Ralph Blane, was a lot more depressing before Frank Sinatra demanded rewrites for his album. Because the initial song had lyrics such as "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past", it is fitting that Bright Eyes (Connor Oberst) sings a very depressing cover.

A collaboration for the ages.
A collaboration for the ages.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

In doing my "research" (what research?) I listened to a classic version of this song by Bing Crosby, so I could appreciate the song as it is generally accepted. It's a slow, somber song with a backup choir, all singing about the birth of Jesus. It's even a song sung in churches! With that, the perfect cover is by the Barenaked Ladies, who turn it into a snappy, upbeat song that you will catch yourself tapping your foot along to. Oh, and Sarah McLachlan makes an appearance for some reason.

Joy To The World

Two songs exist with this title--the classic Christmas carol, and a 1971 song by Three Dog Night that has nothing to do with Christmas. So naturally people wanted to know what would happen if both songs were mixed together. The result, recorded by Chuck Negron (of Three Dog Night) in the '90's was a cover that makes listening to this quintessential Christmas song actually bearable after the 50th rendition is played on the radio. Mariah Carey also covered this version for some reason.

Pictured: Kermit the Frog with puppet wrangler.
Pictured: Kermit the Frog with puppet wrangler.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and end on Epiphany. These are the kinds of things I learn while researching my articles--though I'm sure I'm the only one who didn't know this already. This song, while quickly becoming grating, can usually be appreciated by all listeners with The Muppets' version which was incidentally recorded by John Denver, who sings the first line. Just try listening to this song and not saying 'ba bum bum bum' after Miss Piggy sings about her five gold rings.

Auld Lang Syne

This is not a Christmas song and yet it always crops up around this time, doesn't it? We can't have Thanksgiving carols but a song celebrating a holiday that only exists for the split-second between 11:59 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. is alright? Also maybe it's just me, but at 30 years old I still have no idea what the lyrics to this song are. I just repeat 'la la la Auld Lang Syne' over and over until people stop staring at me--or start staring at me. It's hard to find a good version of this song since it hasn't been covered much, therefore we must look to Relient K and their a capella version which is reminiscent of boy-band 'N Sync.

Now that you have a nice, diverse collection of classic covers, why not burn them all to a CD, or make a special Spotify list of them, and play them at your next family gathering? Make a game out of seeing how few people notice that you switched out the standard musicians for the new ones. Then you can see how many people complain that Christmas songs are just too loud nowadays and that back in my day..

Whatever you choose--to listen for pleasure or annoyance--make it Christmas covers! Burl Ives and Irving Berlin have already got enough royalties to last them a lifetime. Isn't it about time we gave a little of those royalties to the musicians who couldn't be bothered to write their own Christmas songs? I think it is; I think it is about time.

Merry Christmas!

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)