Guide to Christ­mas rock­ing

There’s more to a fes­tive song than shmaltz, mistle­toe and whine, writes JAN CRONJÉ

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

FROM punk rock to high­oc­tane funk, there is more to pop­u­lar Christ­mas mu­sic than the jin­gles that are fill­ing shop­ping cen­tres this month. For fans of rock mu­sic, here is a se­lec­tion of some of the best Christ­mas rock ’n’ roll songs (yes they do ex­ist).

Kick­ing off our list are the Las Ve­gas rock­ers who played in South Africa in 2009. Don’t shoot me Santa is a song about a Santa “with a bul­let in his gun” com­ing to take re­venge on a mur­derer at Christ­mas time. The high­light is a soul­ful give and take be­tween Santa and the man in his sights. It’s daft and catchy.

“Don’t shoot me Santa Claus, I’ve been a clean liv­ing boy, I prom­ise you.”

It’s Christ­mas

road trip mu­sic.

1980s rap su­per­stars Run DMC re­leased Christ­mas in Hol­lis in 1987 as a sin­gle, work­ing with leg­endary pro­ducer Rick Ru­bin. It com­bines tra­di­tional Christ­mas songs like

and Joy to the World with funk-driven horn in­ter­ludes and down-to-earth lyrics.

“Christ­mas­time in Hol­lis Queens, Mom’s cook­ing chicken and col­lard greens.”

Ei­ther when you are in Hol­lis or when a friend asks you to name your favourite Christ­mas rap tune.

Dy­lan’s first (and so far only) Christ­mas al­bum Christ­mas in the Heart was re­leased in 2009 with all prof­its go­ing to char­ity.

His grav­elly voice mixed (sur­pris­ingly) well with tra­di­tional Christ­mas songs, giv­ing them kind of ten­der grav­i­tas of­ten lack­ing in lighter ver­sions. Dy­lan singing a polka ver­sion of Must be Santa is rea­son enough to lis­ten to it.

“Who’s got a beard that’s long and white? Santa’s got a beard that’s long and white”.

When your Dy­lan-ob­sessed friend comes for Christ­mas lunch. A copy of this al­bum is the mark of a true Dy­lan con­nois­seur. is a song about boys rob­bing a depart­ment store Santa, de­mand­ing money in­stead of toys. It’s a rare ex­am­ple of Christ­mas so­cial com­men­tary. Like Don’t Shoot me Santa, by the Killers, it man­ages to sound up­beat de­spite its bleak mes­sage.

It starts as a sweet melody of bells, then a dis­torted gui­tar and thump­ing drums tear in. Re­leased in 1977, Fa­ther Christ­mas

“Fa­ther Christ­mas, give us some money, don’t mess around with those silly toys.”

When watch­ing a thought­ful doc­u­men­tary about the state of Bri­tain in the late 1970s.

It’s a punk Christ­mas sing-along gem by the band that brought you Keep Bri­tain Un­tidy and Elvis is Dead. Your re­viewer saw the band in a Ber­lin night­club a cou­ple of years ago, and three days later the ring­ing in his ears had started to die down. Find it on their 1980s al­bum The Best of Peter & The Test Tube Ba­bies.

“There’s no fu­ture in this lonely life so I’d bet­ter have a beer.”

It’s the kind of mu­sic that might ap­peal to you at 3am on Christ­mas Eve af­ter seven glasses of mulled wine, when you sud­denly re­mem­ber how good it felt to mosh.

The glam shock-rocker puts a dark spin on this well-known Christ­mas song. When he drawls his way through lyrics such as “he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice”, they’ll never sound sweet to you again. Find it on the 2008 com­pi­la­tion al­bum We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Head­bang­ing New Year.

where you live.”

“He knows

young kids are around.

When

A wist­ful rock song fea­tur­ing a string sec­tion and Christ­mas bells by Nineties su­per group the Smash­ing Pump­kins, Christ­mas­time was writ­ten for a Spe­cial Olympics com­pi­la­tion al­bum. It’s easy lis­ten­ing, essen­tially an up­dated rock ver­sion of a Christ­mas carol.

“Christ­mas­time has come, there’ll be toys for ev­ery­one.”

In your Christ­mas chill-out room af­ter all fam­ily mem­bers have de­parted.

The sec­ond punk Christ­mas song on this list is a stripped-down moody re­flec­tion on how the Christ­mas spirit is killed by quar­relling with loved ones. It was re­leased on the group’s 1989 al­bum Brain Drain.

“Cause Christ­mas ain’t the time for break­ing each other’s hearts.”

Play it for your fam­ily be­fore the fes­tiv­i­ties start – as a warn­ing.

The Bri­tish band that brought glam rock, big hair, power chords, falsetto and Van Halen-like so­los back to promi­nence a decade ago re­leased this Christ­mas sin­gle in De­cem­ber 2003. It reached num­ber two in the charts. You’ll be singing along to the cho­rus once you’ve had enough eggnog.

“Well the weather is cruel and the sea­son of Yule warms the heart, but it still hurts.”

● Did we miss any great Christ­mas rock songs? Tweet sug­ges­tions to @TheWeek­endAr­gus or post your sug­ges­tions on the news­pa­per’s Face­book page.

jan.cronje@inl.co.za

With eggnog.

8. Smash­ing Pump­kins: Christ­mas­time, 1997 10. The Dark­ness: Christ­mas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End), 2003

4. Bob Dy­lan: Must be Santa, 2009

7. Alice Cooper: Santa Claws Is Com­ing To Town, 2008

9. The Ra­mones: Merry Christ­mas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight), 1989

6. Peter & the Test Tube Ba­bies: I’m Get­ting Pissed for Christ­mas, 1980.

1. The Killers: Santa, 2007

Don’t Shoot Me

5. The Kinks: Fa­ther Christ­mas, 1977

2. Run DMC: Christ­mas in Hol­lis, 1987

3. James Brown: Soul­ful Christ­mas, 1968

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