November 15, 2007

Mistletoe Hangs in the Hall

The other day I realized the Writers’ Guild of American strike will affect one of my sacred holiday traditions. Each year, Darlene Love performs “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on the Late Show with David Letterman—and it’s by far my favorite holiday day song ever recorded. However, Dave hasn’t been airing since the strike started. And now, there is the possibility that we won’t have Darlene Love or Jay Thomas’ classic story of meeting Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) or the traditional knocking of the meatball from the Christmas tree. Now, I fully support the writers in their cause and believe that they’re owed much more than the producers want to give up, but I hope something breaks before mid-December.

Jingle Bells – Earl Scruggs
Some down-home guitar and banjo picking by one of the best.

The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle – Burt Bacharach
If you haven’t heard this before, it should be no surprise that Bacharach and Larry Kusick wrote this tune. Poppy and relaxed Christmas perfection.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Ronettes
I love the sound of that big smooch at the beginning. But what’s not like about this version? Phil Spector—what is there to say? I was reading his Wikipedia page today and there is a great story about a track he produced called “(Let’s Dance) The Screw.” A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector was deemed a failure at that time of its release—Nov. 22, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Out of mourning, radio stations didn’t play Christmas songs that year.

Christmas Time – The Boss Martians
I know nothing of The Boss Martians. Their MySpace says that the band members share a love of garage, punk, surf, and power pop influences—it shows. This song proudly wears its early garage and pop influences on its sleeve.

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