Jesus Christ! place mats

Let’s move the rock songs to fit our scene!

ApologetiX goes Murray Head (‘One Night in Bangkok’) to make “One Night in Bethlehem.” Verse dropping! Next, The Cars’ ‘Best Friend’s Girl’ switches around to become “Bethlehem’s Boy.” (Give the intro a minute, ‘kay? ‘Worth it.)

Credance Clearwater Revival’s ‘Up Around the Bend’ gets the Bob Rivers’ bending with “Going up to Bethlehem.” Those wisemen threw babies out of a balcony, jim.

Bob Rivers did this one, too. But it’d been done. Here come The Joy Strings with “Little Town of Bethlehem (House of the Rising Sun).” These Christian British popsters were the Salvation Army holiday band ‘cross the pond in the ’60s. Wild.

Jesus Christ! the setting

Taking the time to rework ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen to meet your own comical needs is a consuming labor, but several have done it.

ApologetiX has a lively, clever version (or two), but it’s OT about David and Goliath. (Did they fight in Bethlehem? Or was that Elhanan and Goliath?)

Queen even did a Santa/gifts lark with their own parody.

I prefer the Mark Bradford attempt. Lots of churches use it (with awful costumes/puppetry), and it’s a super duper parody.

Jesus Christ! b-day greetings

Some songs simply tell JC to blow out the candles on his cake of forgiveness. I suppose God-as-Man has more to do than observe numbers on a calendar, but it gives us great elder wisdom to thank ourselves for not forgetting His special day.

Most pastorages stick some virtuosoistic kid in from of the oldsters and sing “Happy Birthday Jesus” until we can’t stop beaming and crying and feeling fulfilled. Whatevs.

Some try out the joke of singing the (previously) copyrighted ‘Happy Birthday’ song to Jesus: check out the tail end of “Wonderful Christmastime” by Barenaked Ladies. It’s not one you’ll put in your top 100 carols, i’d wager.

I prefer a good Beatles’ parody from the grand master mockumentarian Bob Rivers. “Jesus’ Birthday” rocks the flock. It’s a fine way to get the party started.

Merry Mistletoe: who huh

Most youtube song amateurs are mere children giggling and emulating rap stars. (The funny ones are way too brief.)

A few have the equipment, at least materially, to deliver a song.

Austin Jasay sings out of his range about “Mistletoe.” With his shirt and tie, politeness, and blue hair he’s easy to dismiss. But his song has range and flirts with depth.

Hannah J shows considerable range and intensity that at times reveals emotional fun (the Frosty metaphor) with her “Under the Mistletoe.” Grunge this up a bit with a back up bass and watch out. Sign off after the song, unless you like peeping  in on the lives of underage girls being girls.

United We Christmas Tree Stand: under god

Gentle reminder, the big guy in the USA is not the prez… it’s God. John J. Peterson sings “It’s Christmas in America” as a catchy tune redolent with joy and recrimination about how we may have neglected the true meaning of Christmas. Christine Noga also sings this song. A bit more soul; she can carry a note!

John Kammerer wants to remind us–us!–that Christmas is not just about one nation, but one nation under god (that 1954 insistence). In “Christmas Time in America” his rocks populi nudges us into not taking country too much for granted. Without God… well, let’s not go there.

United We Christmas Tree Stand: just us

We’re getting divisive here, another grand tradition ‘mongst us. But that’s not our theme this month. So let’s leave off all the political sniping, the racism, sexism, ageism, weightism, heightism, classism (yes, virginia, there’s christmas songs for all haters, yo), and come together kumbaya.

Pat Benatar rallies the downtrodden with her “Christmas in America.” It’s extremely light rock, like seventy-year-old.

United We Christmas Tree Stand: birthing

The Christmas songs of our founding fathers are too archaeological to consider (church hymns)–good Christmas carols don’t come around for another century after that.

But those second banana has-beens Paul Revere and the Raiders offer a light psychedelic commentary on Vietnam by singing about Revolutionary wartime conditions in “Valley Forge” (even Doonesbury saw that connection despite the jungle/snowbank dichotomy). Not much of a Yule tune, but it’s off their cool cool cool ’67 album: A Christmas Present… and Past. Good stuff, groovesters.

Xmas Dance Party: shag, snowman

Some of the dance crazes out of the ’60s and beyond commanded their own music. Not too many got their own holiday reiteration.

Do the Snowman” doesn’t mean what you think. It’s a call to dance. Figure it out. The Hollytones have an update for us.

The Crewcuts need a re-mention of their “Dance Mr. Snowman Dance” here. It’s more of a soft shoe, but–white guy scat!

TOUCH OF BLUE ALERT Completely misunderstanding the dance metaphors Ivor Bigguns goes nicely naughty with “You Can’t Have a Shag with a Snowman.” This modern music hall’s not about dancing any more, or is it?

The Bellrays have a handle on the art of the double entendre with their “All I Wanna Do is Shag for Christmas.” It’s definitely dance this time kids, kookie wookie boo-la-rah-rah.

Xmas Dance Party: twist

If one dance gets more than its share of holiday closeup, it’s the twist. Y’know Chubby Checker’s hop.

Now the real stuff, the straight dope, sounds like The Twisting’ Kings and “Xmas Twist.” It’s rock with a Detroit soul, but it’s sincere. It means Y-O-U.

Low key style Los Straitjackets mumble out their “Holiday Twist” so you can catch up to it at any time. Just a warm up.

Usually hilarious, Dave Rudolf tries to sugar coat a mechanical clunker of “Candy Cane Twist.” That sax player wandered in from another song.

Unfortunate as well, The Fairies offer “The Christmas Twist” tentatively as if not sure if we’re allergic. (I am.) This is not rock.

As playful as a puppy with a drum set, Jay Matty lays out his “Merry Twistmas” with a loud backup and a wandering vocal register. So long as you dig he wants you to dance, it’s copacetic.

The respectful update befalls us from Si Cranstoun. “A Christmas Twist” is downright gospel  rock. Amen, scantily dressed twisters.

Syd Straw also modernizes “Christmas Twist” this time with more gnarly electric guitar. Too pretty to really be rock, call it country.

Jack Rabbit Slim tries to recapture “The Christmas Twist” with mush mouth play. Seems idolatrous.

John Rossall simply supplants the original song with the word Christmas. “Christmas Twist” looks like something i got last year.

Cleanse your palate with some tasty bluesy Charlie Starr: “Christmas Twist” is slight and unassuming, but true rock ‘n’ roll.

Dance music today is not the dance music of the twist, but if we twist ’em up together we get a party. Follow the Dino Martinis with their “Twistmas.” Yeah, baby boomer, yeah!


From the movie ‘Twist Around the Clock’ the Marcels lip sync their seminal “Merry Twist-mas.” Yeah, boy. Now it’s happening.