This is a rerun of a Six Pack from two years ago, with a few notes included.
Six Pack is a Christmas music connoisseur.
Religious or secular, it really doesn’t matter, with a few exceptions. (Six Pack can't stand "Santa Baby," no matter who sings it.)
With more than 200 Christmas CDs and a goal is to play them all at least once, there are few holiday tunes that escape my clutches.
Early in the season, I want my tunes rocking. Hey, I love "Silent Night" at the Christmas Eve service as much as the next guy, but at the Christmas party, "Good King Wenceslas" just doesn't cut it.
This Six Pack is dedicated to the top rockin' Christmas songs, with one note. I couldn't settle on just one Trans-Siberian Orchestra song — they all rock, proving that Christmas and air guitar do mix.
6) "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — This was the song I used to open my music store to on Black Friday when Black Friday wasn't as much about greed as it was about the start of the Christmas season. Released in 1992 on "A Very Special Christmas 2," the song also appears in "Home Alone 2," "Jingle All the Way" and other festive feature films. Tom Petty donated the royalties to the Special Olympics, the charity which the Very Special Christmas albums donate album sales to. Now that Tom Petty has passed away, Six Pack will spin this one a few extra times this season.
5) "Run Rudolph Run" by Chuck Berry — Originally the B-side to his 1958 "Merry Christmas, Baby," single, a song better known from Charles Brown, "Run, Rudolph, Run" was written by Johnny Marks, who penned more than a few Christmas classics. Berry's version has a strong similarity to Berry's all-time great "Johnny B. Goode," proving that if you are going to rip yourself off, you might as well rip off your biggest song.
4) "Sock it to Me, Santa" by Bob Seger and the Last Heard — Before there was the Silver Bullet Band, Bob's backing band was the Last Heard. Whether with Silver Bullet backing or Last Heard, Seger can still rock out the tunes. This song intentionally smells a bit like James Brown "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" but it still is a holiday staple. Seger also owns the best version of "Little Drummer Boy," one of Six Pack's least favorite traditional holiday tunes.
3) "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee — The answer is: Elvis, The Beatles, and Ray Charles. The question is "Who are the only recording artists to out-chart Brenda Lee in the 1960s?" The diminutive Lee had 47 charting hits in that decade, and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," another Marks-written classic, was recorded in 1958 when she was just 13 years old. It gets played every year when the tree does up in my house. And 20 to 30 times after that.
2) "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" by Bruce Springteen and the E Street Band — Bruce's rock and roll version of the classic is the best, highlighted by Clarence Clemons' saxophone and baritone "You better be good, for goodness sake." The version we know best is a live one from 1975. Can it be Christmas without hearing it a few dozen times?
1) "Santa Claus is back in Town" by Elvis Presley — The King should be No. 1, right? The song is from the 1957 "Elvis' Christmas Album," which also contains "Blue Christmas," two huge staples of the holiday music world. It's no wonder it is the top selling Christmas album of all-time. Throw in "Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me" and that might be all the Christmas albums a person needs. Naw, only about 199 more.
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