The Sexy Armpit has always been a little bit comic book geek, a little bit rock and roll. Through over a decade on the Internet, one of the staples featured on the site has been the reigning kings of New York City’s rock scene, The Dirty Pearls. They’ve amassed a monstrous, loyal fan base, tour the country, and even show up at swank clubs to sing and play with the rest of their NYC crew known as The Rivington Rebels, whose legend precedes them. Am I jealous that there’s no Route 9 Rebels? No, because I just invented it, and I’m Master of Ceremonies of the New Jersey Chapter, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to score this interview! Just ahead of their upcoming tour and forthcoming new album, our friend and lead singer of The Dirty Pearls, Tommy London, took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of those classic “Jay” questions that I always have.
To arrive at their optimum relaxation zone, some people listen to the soothing sprinkle of a rainstorm or the natural sounds of a tropical rain-forest. But, for my ears, there’s something about TV theme songs that I find strangely comforting. Maybe it’s little details like the “sha-la-la-la” at the end of the Family Ties theme or the hum at the end of the Diff’rent Strokes intro that make me have that extra fondness for them. If you consider yourself the same kind of wacko, then you’re reading the right website! This week, the Purple Stuff Podcast brings you a show entirely dedicated to a select bunch of TV theme songs.
To say that my iTunes is quite a hodgepodge of various types of music is an understatement. If you listened to one of my playlists while driving around with me, you’d likely hear one of hundreds of TV theme songs. Chances are, you’d know the lyrics to the majority of them. That’s what makes it fun. You don’t even need to be an avid viewer of a show to have the theme song stuck in your head, which makes the genre that much more incredible. This is one of the reasons why I felt so compelled to convince Matt that we should do a whole show about some of the TV themes that stand out most to us.
After an arm bar into an Irish whip, followed up by a flying forearm, Matt agreed that it was a good idea. I’m kidding of course, but it did take a little bit of convincing since it is so difficult to do a show like this and not be accused of leaving all the important themes out. Everyone has their favorites, but these are just a handful that we felt compelled to talk about. Some of your favorites are ours too, but we’d need 8 episodes to touch on ALL the good ones.
Personally, I think some of the best TV theme songs are the ones that work on different levels. Some TV themes are great for what they are and work splendidly as a theme for a show, yet other TV themes soar beyond that. There are TV themes that are so catchy that you wonder how the hell they haven’t been deemed required curriculum in music classes in schools. Others are so versatile that they could be covered by metal and punk bands. Most of all, the best TV themes are the ones that pop into your brain the minute you hear someone mention the name of the show that it’s from.
I demand equality for TV theme songs. Even though a show’s theme usually undergoes subtle changes between seasons, a TV theme has the power to bring to mind the full reel of scenes in the opening credits. I loved when the opening credits of a show were so ridiculous. You can sit there and pick out the episode that each scene was from. The theme will also make you reminisce and sing along. Some themes are cheerful or quirky while others are arena-ready and triumphant. In all cases, there’s a lot to discuss so check out The Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 27 and share some of your favorite theme songs in the comments!
To reference Ice Cube, today was a good day. Fall is officially in session and the temperature here in New Jersey has dropped from the mid-80s last week down to maybe 12 degrees today. Of course I’m exaggerating slightly, but the cool air is so comforting. I am not one for the heat and I’ve been waiting for it to get cooler outside so I can crack open the windows, hear the crickets in the background, and actually believe that it’s Halloween time. Trust me, roasting in 90 degree temperatures is not a way to celebrate the spookiest of seasons. It’s almost as if Halloween time arrived overnight here in Jersey, completely out of nowhere, like Santa Claus coming down the chimney last night. Before you start listening to this week’s episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast, let me update you on a few things.
Several weeks back, Matt broke the news that Burger King was going to start selling HALLOWEEN MOTHA’F*CKIN’ WHOPPERS! We discussed it on the podcast and ever since I’ve been waiting with extreme antici…pation. I’m a lifelong BK fan from an early age, and although they didn’t have the enticing playground and Officer Big Mac Jail Cell that scarred me for life, my Dad and I frequently got Whoppers at Burger King and those are some of the greatest, simplest memories of my childhood. Sitting there eating junk and bullshitting about toys and whatever else I thought was intellectual when I was 5 years old to my Dad who was always genuinely interested in what I was saying.
Earlier today, after several hours of editing a piece of the Halloween special, (that ultimately will only amount to about 35 seconds in the final cut) I decided to venture out to run a few errands. I’m a man of efficiency, so I decided to stop at the store that was near one of our BK’s. To my surprise, I spotted the poster in the window from about a half mile away. I can’t see that last line of a vision test, but sure as shit can see a Halloween hamburger poster from triple the distance. I’m going to leave the detailed review to Dino Drac, but I must say, the A1 steak sauce in the bun gives the entire burger an extra tang that it didn’t have. I wouldn’t say that I like it better than the original Whopper, but I would definitely eat them if they came around each year. Plus, the crown of bones is pretty friggin’ great. Thanks to Matt for bringing this to our attention!
In other news, I’ve promised to have a production blog posted, and unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. The reason for this is because the production of the Halloween Special 2015 has sucked up every second of my personal life, hence leaving me very little time to write posts. I am going to be relaying my thoughts on this special and the process of making it very soon. It feels like I can’t write about it until it’s nearly completed because I might jinx it. That’s just superstition though.
To cap off an awesome day, grab yourself some pumpkin anything, a cold beverage, and join Matt and I for tonight’s episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast! This week we get into one of my favorite subjects: music! We count down some of our favorite Spooky Songs and try to formulate the type of playlist you would hear at a Halloween Party, but a party that only lasts about 45 minutes. We’d also like to hear your favorite Spooky Songs so tell us about them in the comments or on Twitter! Appropriately, we also premiere our cool new theme song from our friends Leopardactyl! Thanks so much to them for making it and thanks to all of you for listening!
The show at the Brighton Bar was basically a warm up for the band. When you’re prepping for a workout, you might want to stretch first so you don’t pull a muscle. Some people choose to contort themselves, others jog in place. Occasionally, you’ll see some crazy bastards doing thousands of jumping jacks. That’s all good if you’re exercising, but what if you’re a rock band preparing for a bunch of concerts in support of your new music? You can do all the vocal exercises you want, but you better be on point when you come to New Jersey. In this case, the crew from the lower east side of New York City, The Dirty Pearls, brought their A-game to The Brighton Bar – no arm circles necessary.
On our way to the show, I realized that I hadn’t been to The Brighton Bar in about 10 or 11 years. This fact was shocking to me, and after the night was through, I already wanted to go back because it’s such an awesome place to see a show. The layout is perfect for seeing bands and the bar made me want to plant myself next to it for a few hours. I felt at ease there which is rare for me since I’d rather watch the concert via my couch at home.
The Dirty Pearls flawlessly incorporate sleek guitar riffs and headbanging drums with pop hooks and serve it all up on a grand scale. Every time I witness them on stage it’s as if they are a masterful arena rock band who skipped a grade. To top it off they pull a Springsteen and refuse to leave the stage until you are 100% in awe.
Although they are primarily known for their NYC shows, once in a while, they’ve thrown New Jersey a bone. Over the years, they’ve played down the shore in Asbury Park at The Saint, The Stone Pony, and The Wonder Bar, and even up in North Jersey at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair. They’ve opened for KISS, and so many other giant acts, but their New York City shows are iconic.
The original version is some badass bombastic bluesy bar rock, you might pick out an early Aerosmith vibe and some booze fueled sleaze in the vein of Faster Pussycat. There’s also a brilliant breakdown that calms the mood only to leave you primed for the chorus again. The newer version, still great, lacks the natural flow of the predecessor and has a noticeable pop sheen, which is never a bad thing, but the irony here is that this song is actually a sequel to their song about being suckers for a sequel. If you understand that, then great, either way, I’m still a sucker for the original!
Not sure if frontman Tommy London will get mad at me for even writing about this, but they played this track at the Stone Pony back in May 2013 and I have no idea if it will surface on their upcoming sophomore full length album, but I’m really hoping it does. I recorded the song at the Pony so I’ve been able to hear the live version often, but for the masses, I’d love if you could hear a studio version! It’s a simple, energetic, hard rocking pop gem with a dash of the ’80s. Imagine a harder rock version of The Romantics if they were produced by Ric Ocasek. The result is nothing less than “Dynamite.” With the refrain “…Your love is like dynamite,” this one is sure to be the soundtrack to think about your crush, if it surfaces.
2. “Static” from Whether You Like it or Not
The video for this song was directed by Matt Weckel and filmed with an Xbox Kinect! It’s one of the coolest videos since The White Stripes were big. The sick visuals merge perfectly with this track that’s a pounding pop rock assault with some sick grooves. Put this on when you’re alone and you’ll be singing and dancing in front of your mirror like a silly asshole in no time. I know from experience.
1. “New York City Is a Drug” – Whether You Like it or Not
Take Sinatra for instance, sang about New York City. Old Blue Eyes was from Hoboken, just a short swim across the river, but still, Hoboken wasn’t the pounding heart of the world. Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” is bar none unbeatable, but it’s not inspiring any headbanging as far as I know, unless you do some serious audio editing. That brings me to KISS. They sang about Detroit, but they were from New York City, so go figure. Thanks to The ‘Pearls, we have our quintessential rock tribute to NYC. This atmospheric track will make you envision all that late night debauchery in the lower east side of Manhattan, but with a bit of drama and bombast.
The rest of my favorites list includes tracks like “Caffeine and Gasoline,” “Whether You Like it or Not,” “Bring on the Night,” and “Love Sick Love.” Get their track on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and their videos are on YouTube. Click Here for their official site!
The Dirty Pearls are LIVE! Tonight at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ
The holiday rock extravaganza that is the world renowned Trans-Siberian Orchestra left their mark here in New Jersey – Jersey City to be exact. The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, their made for TV concert special that originally aired on the Fox Family Channel on December 14, 1999, was filmed here in Jersey’s most famous movie house that opened 70 years prior in 1929.
As we’ve mentioned many times before here at The Sexy Armpit, the classic Loews Jersey theater, located in Journal Square, is one of our state treasures and it’s actually a star of this production in its own right. The beautifully shot special highlights glimpses of the theater’s cavernous ceilings, and the rich, finely detailed interior. It’s fitting that the concert is titled The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, because I wouldn’t be surprised if the Loews Jersey theater has some ghosts of its own.
It’s not just you average concert. What makes this stand out is the combination of the thunderous music with striking holiday visuals that help weave in the plot of a runaway girl who wishes she’ll be welcomed back into her home by her family. The story begins on Christmas Eve where we join the girl as she hides in an abandoned theater – the legendary Loews Theatre in Jersey City.
The TSO are incredible musicians and it translates into their concerts which often evoke a haunting quality, ultimately they’re very uplifting, but there are elements that conjure up memories and emotions, especially during the holidays. This spectacle may give you feelings of inspiration, forgiveness, and in this case, you may recall a lost loved one, like the runaway daughter whose story unfolds during the concert.
Ten songs are blasted through in just under 45 minutes, so there’s no time to be bored. Some of the highlights include “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “Joy to the World,” as well as several guest performances, two of which were Jewel and Michael Crawford. I’d forgotten how lovely Jewel is and her version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was equally as enchanting. Later on, perhaps the key moment in the special is a resounding performance of “O Holy Night,” from the former Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford. If that didn’t awaken the ghosts in the theater nothing else could.
The Ghosts of Christmas Eve is subtle yet bombastic, well crafted, and breathtaking. It will enhance your Christmas Spirit and it will also provide fare different than the typical stuff airing constantly on TV throughout December. It’s also perfect to play in the background while you’re putting decorations up or you have company over. Bonus if you have surround sound! You don’t have to be a huge TSO fan to fully enjoy this, but fans of rock music in general would get the most appreciation out of it, especially those from New Jersey. This special is still available on DVD.
*What makes this show different? A lottery will take place throughout the night to determine the lineup of bands taking the stage! That’s some exciting shit right there! Who’s on first? I’m on the edge of my seat already! This approach adds an element of intrigue that you won’t get at any other concert!
This summer, why waste your time taking your significant other to the boardwalk to play a silly wheel game just to win a giant box of gum that’ll just lose its flavor in under a minute? Take your shot at winning tickets to Barnstorming the Bowery – right here…NOW!
All you have to do is correctly match each band to their song! It’s that simple. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name and the subject BOWERY. All correct answers will be pooled and a winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by e-mail. Contest ends on 8/1 so get those answers in!
August 21, 2014
Doors open at 7PM, show starts at 8PM
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancy St.
New York, NY
Fallon’s impressions are always dead on, especially when they involve him singing or playing guitar (you must see him as Jim Morrison in The Doors singing the theme song to Reading Rainbow), but his wig and ’80s Springsteen attire put it all over the top. I didn’t think it could get any better until THE BOSS himself walked up to the adjacent mic, all duked out in the same ’80s Bruce-wear that Fallon was rocking. Even if you’re not a Bruce fan, you’ve got to give it up for the fact that he was game to do a parody like this. It shows he has a sense of humor about the old days and he’s also not afraid to take a jab at the Governor, even though it’s been well documented that Chris Christie is an obsessive Bruce fan. I’m sure the Governor has caught wind of it and feels like more of an idiot now. Anyway, it’s a phenomenal parody and I want to watch it like 30 more times right now.
This video is literally all over the Internet right now, but not everyone is on point with their reporting of it. The New York Daily News website reporter Chiderah Monde clearly knows NOTHING about Bruce because this is what she included in her report of this performance:
“…By the end of their parody, Fallon and Springsteen had the audience laughing and cheering, but maybe not everybody shared the sentiment on the “Bridgegate” scandal — towards the end, it sounded like they may have garnered a few boos.”
Seriously Chiderah? They were screaming BRUUUUUUUUUCE not BOOOO! Clearly she’s never seen him perform before. Can I wager that she’s never watched the New York Giants Victor Cruz score a touchdown before either? CRUUUUUUZ sounds like BOOOO as well. C’mon, she works for a tri-state news outlet. GET WITH THE FRIGGIN’ PROGRAM!
*Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band’s new album is called High Hopes and it’s available now
Just like during Halloween season, music is a crucial aspect of creating the proper atmosphere of my holiday season. Currently, I’m in the middle of a soft launch of my diverse and hefty holiday playlist. This week, I’ve been sprinkling in a Christmas songs into my regular playlists, with a full-on Christmas music bonanza most likely hitting the speakers tomorrow.
From mid-November until the very last bit of Christmas Day, I only listen to Christmas tunes. Yeah, I take it seriously. There’s never been a Christmas when it was any different either. My father started this tradition in our family once cassettes became standard in the household. He would record all of our favorite Christmas songs off the radio, essentially making mix tapes for us to listen to the entire holiday season. We had about 5 or 6 tapes chock full of awesome Christmas music. Once we got a more advanced stereo system we even started to “dub” (No, not dub-step kids. At one time dubbing referred to copying or recording) Christmas record albums (younger kids only semi-know what these are) onto cassettes.
My parents had an extensive record collection. A decent chunk of the collection included some pretty awesome Christmas records that provided me with an endless amount of musical discovery when I was really young. I remember going through stacks of records and finding a bunch of different Christmas compilations that my parents got through gas station promotions. For some reason gas stations used to give you full kitchen silverware sets, glassware, and LPs. It was a peculiar, yet f*cking amazing time in America. I guess gas was a tough sell back then? Now all you need to do is announce that there’s a gas shortage and there’s a line of cars 3 1/2 miles long down Route 9.
The moment November arrived, I hounded my parents incessantly for permission to bring the Christmas decorations inside. We used to keep all of it in the garage and being that we were one of the only families I knew who actually parked their car in the garage, it was sort of a bitch to get all the huge heavy boxes down off the shelves when there was a big brown Buick in the way. Plus, it always seemed to be very cold, not like nowadays when we’ve been getting random stretches of 65 degree weather. So, my parents took all that into consideration and they would attempt to dissuade me every time, but Christmas overcame me. My Christmas force power was too strong even for my parents who were firm when they wanted to be. As soon as they relented and gave me the exasperated “Go ahead…bring it in,” approval, I would instantly start playing Christmas records.
Christmastime was like a state of mind and a drug to me, and it still is. The excitement of the season overshadowed everything else. It was the fact that everything seemed different and better during the holidays. The music, the food, the decorations, the TV specials, the family get togethers, it was all a total blast to me. What was old became new again although this magical feeling would never work without the music.
On the wish list front, I would craft a very detailed list for Santa each year. Months prior to December, I’d cull from the jumbo catalogs that arrived in the mailbox from stores like JC Penny and Sears and very neatly copied down item numbers and descriptions – wouldn’t want those elves f*cking everything up now would we? Frankly, none of that really mattered, I just revelled in being caught up in the season. It was the one time a year when everyone seemed to honestly set aside their differences (for the most part), have a few drinks, and eat some Christmas cookies. I had so many great Christmas seasons with my family and friends and they were all set to music.
Back to those mix tapes. They lasted for years and we played them over and over again. We also started collecting the Very Special Christmas compilations when they started showing up in stores. To have those official releases were great, but Dad’s mix tapes were LEGENDARY. Songs would abruptly cut off and then pick up in the middle of another song, and then other songs would end and he’d forget to stop the tape, so for 8 years we were able to recite Casey Kasem’s post-song banter. Then there’d be songs toward the end of the tapes that were regular top 40 music so we’d go from “Last Christmas” into “Just a Gigolo” by David Lee Roth. It was quirky for sure, but we waited all year to listen to those tapes.
My Christmas music tradition was enhanced when I got my first iPod back in 2004. Christmas playlists were never the same. Gone were the mix tapes that my father made us, but they are fully reflected fully in my playlist. Essentially, this playlist is just a modern version of those old tapes.
Presently, just to give you an idea of what kind of Christmas freak I am, there’s 433 tracks in my Holiday Playlist, some are IDs with Christmas greetings from people like Kevin Smith, Alice Cooper, and others, and a few are sound clips from Christmas movies, but the majority of the tracks are songs. Keep in mind that I’m not one to rip full albums – especially Christmas albums because there’s usually a lot of filler. To clue you in, the only full album I have on my christmas playlist is Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift To You.
You can’t imagine the difficulty I had choosing these songs. What it came down to was, if I had to delete 400 some-odd songs, what are the 30 that I’d keep in the playlist? I tried to narrow it down to 10 and 20, but there were too many that I absolutely couldn’t part with. Once you get down to around the top 15 there’s a more solid rhyme and reason behind why I chose the songs in that particular order. Some are comedic, some are sentimental favorites, others are rockers, but all of them are nostalgic to me and bring to mind memories of the Christmas season. Not everyone is as anal about Christmas music as I am, so, below, I’ve shared my favorite songs with you and also my thoughts on each one.
30. “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas – An actual, fully produced non-ironic song based off the SNL sketch with Horatio Sanz, Tracey Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Jimmy Fallon. Just the idea of it made me happy inside. I’m an SNL fanatic so this is great. Julian definitely put his own spin on it and it worked.
29. “Silent Night” by Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Not only is it a Jersey thing, but Aqua Teen is also hysterical, especially Meatwad. I love Meatwad. I wish he could be my real life meat-friend. I love his voice and his laid back nature. I also really love when he starts telling everyone how he’s “the Boss of music” in this version of “Silent Night” from Have Yourself a Meaty Little Christmas, the Aqua Teen Christmas album.
28. 12 Days of Christmas by Bob and Doug McKenzie – A staple for me every Christmas since it came out. I’m not really a big fan of any version of the 12 Days of Christmas because they’re usually pretty monotonous, but this song is never unfunny to me. It’s Canadian humor went completely over my head when I was a kid. I didn’t grasp it at all when this was all over the radio. I just knew they kept talking about beer and thinking tuques, which I thought was funny. Bob and Doug’s interaction set to the sounds of the ’80s keyboard always warms my heart. Hoser.
27. “Christmas Is All Around” by Billy Mack – Romantic Comedies are no friend of mine. I try my best to watch one with Miss Sexy Armpit every couple of years. I give it my best shot, but I usually wind up despising every second of it. One that I did appreciate was 2003’s Love Actually. It’s a good movie for the ladies and it’s more than tolerable for guys as well (i.e. there’s boobs). Plus Bill Nighy sings “Christmas Is All Around,” which gave him a “Do Not Pass Go – Go Directly To My iPod” card.
26. “This Christmas” by Christina Aguilera – This is the one time a year I will listen to a Christina Aguilera song. Aguilera’s cover of the Donny Hathaway song is an excellent update to the 1970 holiday classic and still gets a lot of airplay 13 years later.
25. “Best Part of Christmas” by American Angel If there’s a cult classic status for Christmas songs, this one is in the top 5 for sure. This Jersey band had some decent buzz on MTV in the late ’80s/early ’90s, but was predominantly know for their huge local fan base. You may not have realized it, but their first Christmas song is solid. It’s a bit schmaltzy, but probably the best Christmas song to come out of the 80s rock scene. Think Survivor meets Honeymoon Suite.
24. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” by The Whirling Dervishes Another New Jersey band with a kickass rock rendition of the Grinch theme. If you don’t have it, get it, you’ll love it.
23. “Christmas All Over Again” by Butch Walker Not much of a detour from the orignal, but this is a bang up job covering Tom Petty. If you are a Butch fan you will love this. Very fun and upbeat.
22. “Christmas Tree” by Lady Gaga – Coming off her fantastic performance on SNL and awaiting her holiday special with the Muppets, fill the void with her electro-pop Christmas romp full of double entendres the way only Gaga can do it.
21. “Silver Bells” by Twisted Sister – There was a trend several years ago where a lot of the popular metal and hard rock bands of the 80s began to record their own Christmas songs and albums. Twisted Sister was at the forefront of this trend. Their A Twisted Christmas album was well done, often tongue in cheek, and actually worked since Dee Snider and Co. didn’t make it a joke, they made a legitimately good rock Christmas album.
20. “I Wanna Rock You Hard This Chrismas” by The Dan Band – You may remember this band singing an expletive filled version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the movie Old School. They continued their legacy with an original Christmas rock song filled with F-bombs and sexual innuendos.
19. “Jingle Bell Rock” by 38 Special – There’s a story about this one. When I was in my first year of college I was driving to class in my old Corsica and the stereo reception was extremely fuzzy that day. I was tuned into New York’s Classic Rock Station Q104.3 and I was making out little snippets of a rocking version of “Jingle Bell Rock.” With all the fuzz and the noise from the highway I couldn’t make it out well at all, but a small part of me thought that David Lee Roth was covering “Jingle Bell Rock.” If that was the case, it was imperative that I verify it. Why didn’t I know about this already? This began a several year quest to figure out what song this was. I called 3 DJs at the station about this. I researched their playlists, I scoured the Internet (which was not as advanced back then obviously) and I couldn’t find it. I searched every rock band’s discogrpahy that I thought it might be, but to no avail. Finally a couple of years ago, I was looking at a Christmas album on iTunes from a band who didn’t even enter my mind as a possibility back then. It was 38 Special. Definitely not anything like David Lee Roth, but with all the interference on the station I cut myself some slack. It is a really good rocking rendition of the song and I dig it eve though I still wish it was DLR. This mystery lasted almost 10 years, finally the case is closed.
18. “Rockin’ Christmas Time” by 40 Foot Ringo – You may know this band as a modern offshoot of the New Jersey band Trixter. This bouncy rocker just conjures up all kinds of awesome memories for me. The original Trixter lineup has been promoting their latest album Tattoos and Misery for the last year – check it out, it’s good stuff.
17. “We Need a Little Christmas” by New Christy Minstrels – This specific version was featured on an old album my parents got from a gas station. It’s upbeat with their signature folk sound and it gives me that nostalgic feeling. It was always the first song I kicked the season off with.
16. “Things I Want” by Sum 41 and Tenacious D – In this song there’s a ridiculous Christmas list that comes off almost like a bunch of weird ransom demands. “A Motley Crue Lunch Box filled with sticky buns.”
15. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams I refuse to acknowledge that Scott Weiland recorded a cover of this. This is the Jaws of Christmas songs because it’s such a damn classic that it shouldn’t be remade.
14. “Back Door Santa” by Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi saturated this popular Christmas song with their ’80s pop metal sheen replete with silly banter, synthesizers, and guitar solos. This was when the band was having fun before it became a weird corporation run by an egomaniac with more interest in politics than rock and roll.
13. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Dean Martin – The kind of music to get snowed in to. And toasted.
12. “White Christmas” by Darlene Love – Possibly the ultimate Christmas song from the greatest Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector. It’s pretty damn perfect from the arrangement to Darlene Love’s vocal performance. Many people prefer “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), but if I had to choose, I’d go with “White Christmas” in the end.
11. “Winter Wonderland” by Johnny Mathis Another case of not being able to choose just one, I love mostly all of Johnny Mathis’ Christmas songs but this one is the most memorable to me thanks to it’s superb production quality and the songs ability to literally make me feel like I’m sledding in the middle of Hoth.
10. “Oi to the World” by No Doubt An energetic cover of the Vandals’ Christmas song.
9. “Christmas Vacation” by Mavis Staples – In the vein of ’70s R&B that she was known for with The Staple Singers, this theme song to one of my favorite Christmas movies ever was an instant part of my annual celebration. It accompanies the fun animated intro sequence to Christmas Vacation. Originally, before I was able to find a good copy of it, I started playing my Christmas Vacation VHS tape and held my boom box next to the TV speakers and recorded the song while the movie was playing. I used that for a few years before I was able to get it on a real cassette.
8. “Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters – The Carpenters can do no wrong. Karen’s voice was soothing and calm and brings to mind sitting by my Uncle’s fireplace on Christmas eve, staring at the tree and the stockings, wondering what Santa would bring me in the morning. Plus the line “Christmasing with you” FTW.
7. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses – Belive it or not I grew up hating this song while my sister loved it. I would beg her to stop singing it. It didn’t take long for me to realize I actually adored it too and I was in denial. Originally it seemed kind of annoying, but I just looked past it. Sure it’s goofy, but it gets stuck in your head. It’s so familar now that it’s a holiday classic that you hear in tons of movies and commercials.
6. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney – For some reason this song gets a lot of flack. First of all leave Paul alone. This song is an ’80s Christmas classic, in fact, there was a huge blast of Christmas songs in the ’80s that wound up becoming perennial favorites and this is one of them in all of it’s synth glory. Watching him perform it on SNL last year was awesome too. While listening to this track it’s tradition that I get a small paper cup of spiked egg nog and march around the apartment like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the intro to Real Ghostbusters.
5. “Christmas Celebration” by Weezer – I’ve been a fan of Weezer since they debuted, and to the opposition of many fellow loyal Weezer fans, I actually still really dig their modern output, maybe even more than “classic” Weezer if you can fathom that. They recorded a couple of early Christmas tracks, but years later, around 2008, they released an EP on iTunes called Christmas with Weezer. I love all of their renditions of Christmas songs because they maintain the traditional arrangements but plug in electric guitars and incorporate their signature harmonies.
4. “Christmas In Hollis” by Run DMC – I lost count how many times I’ve rapped along to every word of this song. Using a sample of “Back Door Santa,” Run DMC concocted the greatest rap/hip-hop Christmas song of all time. I can never get enough of this one.
3. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by BRUCE Springsteen This song makes you feel like you’re down on the boardwalk in Asbury on a cold December day and you’re being introspective like Bruce would be…thinking of whether you’re going to be on Santa’s naughty or nice list. It’s a pure Jersey Christmas song and it’s a synonymous with the Christmas season for me.
2. “Last Christmas” by WHAM – Haters gonna hate, Sexy Armpit gonna love. Agree to disagree.
1. “All Alone on Christmas” by Darlene Love – Wall of Sound. CHECK. E-Street Band. CHECK. Recaptures the Phil Spector magic. CHECK. Tugs at your heartstrings. CHECK. Sax solo by THE BIG MAN. CHECK. References to her own song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” CHECK. Nobody ought to be all alone on Christmas. Tell ’em Darlene.