So what have we learned from a decade of Christmas songs?
England’s Elvis, Billy Fury, first charts in 1959 with pretty pieces like “My Christmas Prayer.” In the ’60s he will rival The Beatles for top ten hits in the UK. But this style of rock is getting old here.
Johnny Houston, with “Gimme a Kiss for Christmas,” rocks it Fats Domino style, but colors between the lines without going for it. We need to trade up.
Nearly a dozen different doo wop groups with names like Marquis stepped off street corners in Detroit, Chicago, Philly, and Nyark to lay down tinselly tracks. It would take a meticulous musicologist to trace each’s hit list. For now, let us bask in the Marquees’ “Santa Done Got Hip.” It will make you more hip. Then, sit down comfortably, because “Christmas in the Congo” by Marquees just got weird.
Girls gotta rock, too. Marquerita Trina syncopates “The Rocking Tree” to a wailing sax and a playful axe.
More Detroit doo wop, natch! The 4 Imperials recorded only for a couple years. In fact “Santa Got a Coupe DeVille” may be their last platter. But with it we’re riding roadster rock into the ’60s.
Boyhood chum of Rickie Nelson, Zane Ashton (orig. Bill Aken) was one of those guys in The Wrecking Crew, the musicians all cool rock gods in the ’60s had lay down tracks for them in the studio recordings. Not much of a soloist, here is an early rockabilly number from him “The Christmas Spirit.” What an acid trip of echo effects and tinkly percussion.
Edd Byrnes is known as ‘Kookie’ from the ABS detective series 77 Sunset Strip. Here’s a wild ride from him: “Yulesville/Lonely Christmas.” I don’t know what to tell you, except that’s 1959, baby.
Canadian rockers The Martels bring it home with “Rockin’ Santa Claus.” Dance, Dancer, dance!
I’ve had some fun judging sounds of the ‘Fifties, but i don’t know the history of rock ‘n’ roll at all. I have skimmed some websites, researched some groups, and drawn my own conclusions for whatever humorous or profound effect i could conjure. Plenty better historians out there can set you straight as to the geneology of cool (like that blackboard in ‘School of Rock’). I’m just sharing what i’ve heard and what i’ve found and i hope that twists no ones nose. Peace.