11 Christmas Songs That Never Really Took Off
Though artists from Mariah Carey to Insane Clown Posse release holiday singles, very few of those songs make it to holiday playlists year after year. Here are just a few of the more interesting Christmas songs released by some names you’ll be familiar with. Be sure to let us know if you look forward to one of these songs every year.
1. “Heavy Metal Christmas,” Twisted Sister. Would you believe Twisted Sister didn’t release their first holiday album until 2006? (Yeah, I believed it too.) The whole album is made up of classic Christmas songs with a Twisted Sister twist. “Heavy Metal Christmas” is a spin on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but instead of partridges, pear trees and pipers, the gifts are pentagrams, platforms and spandex pants.
2. "All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan,” Kenny Chesney. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the musical stylings of Mr. Chesney is probably not too surprised by this one.
3. “Back Door Santa,” various artists.
The song was written by Clarence Carter, but the most famous part of the tune is definitely the horn part sampled by Run D.M.C. in “Christmas in Hollis.” The full song has been covered by the Black Crowes and Bon Jovi, but it’s safe to say you’re probably not going to hear it blaring over the loudspeaker at your favorite big box store this year.
4. “Father Christmas,” The Kinks. In 1977, the Kinks told the sorry tale of a Santa Claus beaten black and blue by a gang of poor kids. All they want for Christmas is cash, jobs for their daddies and machine guns to “scare” the kids down the street.
5. "Kentucky Homemade Christmas,” Kenny Rogers. This came from Kenny’s first holiday album, Christmas, released in 1981.
6. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas?” Elton John. This was the B-side to a more popular Elton John song called “Step Into Christmas.” With lyrics like “There’s a pair of large sized Wellies coming down my flue and the smell of burning rubber, oh, is filling up the room,” it’s slightly less warm and fuzzy than the A-side.
7. "Cherry Cherry Christmas,” Neil Diamond. His fans were surely thrilled when Neil wished his listeners a “Cherry Christmas” instead of “Merry Christmas” on his 2009 holiday album. It fills me with great glee to think of a crazed Diamondhead closing out their annual holiday newsletter with “Cherry Christmas! Love, Anne, Michael and Rosie the dog.”
8. “Christmas Time (Is Here Again),” The Beatles. Even The Beatles have a Christmas song that didn't take off. Well, to be fair, it never even made it out of the gate. The song was recorded in 1966 and 1967, but it wasn’t officially released until 1995, when it showed up as a B-side to "Free as a Bird."
9. “Don’t Shoot Me Santa,” the Killers. This one makes my yearly playlist. In fact, I never take it out of rotation. But a song about a Santa who kidnaps the kids on the naughty list and shoots them is bound to get limited airplay.
10. “Christmas Tree,” Lady Gaga featuring Space Cowboy. Back in 2008, before Gaga had quite as many Little Monsters as she does now, she did a little Christmas ditty that’s... well, in her own words: "'Christmas Tree' is about the spirit of celebrating the most joyous holiday and I'll tell you why: because Christmas is the holiday that most makes boys and girls feel randy."
11. “Early Christmas Morning,” Cyndi Lauper. Haven’t heard this one? Not many people have: it was only officially released in Japan, though it’s since surfaced on some compilation albums in the U.K. and Canada.