Imaginery animals fill up only the toe of our stocking.
Pocket monsters became the hit Japanimation of the ’90s (when it wasn’t giving kids seizures). Since cartoon shows beget toys faster than fast food arenas beget teen showdowns, we’ll visit two whole novelty songs. Naturally Bob Rivers has something snarky to saw about “Pokemon” ‘s commercialization to the tune of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.’ Better are the wacky word-songs from the album Pokemon Christmas Bash: including, “I’m Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas” (Veonica Taylor), and the title tune “Pokemon Christmas Bash” (Bill Rogers)–it’s nearly hip hop.
But let’s leave the world of yuletide genetic hash on a melodic note: Sufjan Stevens with “Christmas Unicorn.” This is off his amazing box set Songs for Christmas with over 40 songs–many original and genius. Strap in, friends, this goes on for a while….
Most of the youtubes with dragons + noels are DnD video game snippets assaulted with dull tunes. I will give John Mapes props with “I’m Spending Christmas in Skyrim.” A bit o’ dragon and a lot of Millennial holiday spirit.
The best dragon carol has to be Roger Whittaker folk silliness “Darcy the Dragon.” And apparently several families have posted about this ’80s bit of ephemera. I like what the Heywoods did–no money, no talent, all love.
Before we had our regular Noah’s ark of a petting zoo, other creatures were there…
For examples: prehistoric thunder lizards. What’s Christmas without ’em?
If you’re not sure about the blessings of the Son on animals before He was born, may i introduce “Dino the Dinosaur’s Christmas Tree,” sung by Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone.
Bob Brown uses that ‘Hippopotamus’ formula of begging with a game plan for “Santa Bring Me a Dinosaur.” Perhaps i’m a little disappointed that the singer does not plan Calvin-style mayhem on other playmates with his gift-to-come.
Just as Brit but one-tenth as kid-friendly, The Lovely Eggs is an enchanting chanting garage rock band from Lancaster, UK. All you need to know about how little they suck is to listen to “Tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas.” You may dig the dino-war chant at the end the very most.
Crustaceans are the bugs of the sea, but technically they are simpler than arthropda. So, let’s consider the few yule tunes for those multi-jointed animals that white people claim they enjoy eating.
“Sandal the Sand Creature” by La Guardia Cross may actually be made out of garbage, and not possess a chitninous shell at all. (And i song bombed this bit last 10/24/2015!) But the festive funster bears repeating.
‘The Little Mermaid”s Sebastian hermit crab does a passable pass at crabbing up “Deck the Halls.” Samuel E Wright sings cannily enough without the Rasta-slack most character vocalists inject into Jamaican mockery. Color me not a fan here, but i was touched by Jonathan Oosterhof’s notes for his youtube entry: that’s what a novetly Christmas song aficionado sounds like.
A Baltimore holiday staple is David Deboy’s “Crabs for Christmas.” It’s fun. They have funny accents over there.
Sassy aunts and an uncle family-scramble to uke out humor with “The Christmas Lobster Song.” Homemade homkum for the folks at home, hmm?
What does it mean to be a truly wonderful novelty Christmas song here in the 21st Century? The melodic, lulling intro… the astonishing betrayal of tone (the irony!!)… the coffee-house random poetry of the lyrics… the unknown ballsy singer (with less than a couple hundred views)… the lovely discovery of something new. Folks, may i introduce Nick Fredy and “The Christmas Lobster.” (He might not kill you.)
Also Mollusca are slugs and snails (but not little boy parts).
Their inclusion in holiday humorous hymns is hit and miss.
Snaildartha is an experimental jazz album playing under the spoken word jazz of (The Story of Jerry the Christmas Snail). If that’s your thing, go with Thelonius. Or you could start with “A Snail is Born.” It’s different. Not exactly novelty Christmas music.
More outre are The Snails, post modern rockers from Baltimore with band mate names like Snailpril and Snailliam. Their “Snails Christmas (I Want a New Shell)” is just what you want to hear before you go clubbing.
Folk On is a comedy folk trio from Little Dribblepatch. Gloucester. Reminiscent of The Irish Rovers and The Kingston Trio, they know how to set a mood and tell a story. Listen to the saga of poor little “Ernie, the Christmas Slug” as he moves out of the regular rotation as ‘the Little Pet Slug’ and becomes the saviour of the working class.
Granted, bugs are fairly complex critters on the taxonomical chart. But there’s not a cornucopia of Christmas songs about blobby floaty things in the sea (not even sponge Christmas carols about Bob) (nor worms!–someone get on that!).
On the other hand, there’s a buttload of holiday hymns for cephalopods. What’s up with that?
Some of these are nonsensical hoax-cult children’s addictions like “A Squiddle Christmas 5 Opening Song.” This could-a been TV series at the turn of the Millennium claims to have lost original copies and now only odd scraps show up on youtube. Was it ever real? Who cares?
Continuing the sad caroldy tradition of clumsy substitutions for traditionals, Pirate Stu sings (when not losing his place) “Jingle Piratopus” i guess about a pirate octopus. And Christmas. Arrr.
To cure your sense of childish glee, Face Full of Fist continues their Octopus saga with “Octopus. A Punk Christmas Nightmare.” Like all great OG punk, it tells a story. Actually for a song, it’s pretty talky.
If you’re finally ready to rock your suckers out, then tune in Jason Morris’s hip “Twangles, The Christmas Squid.” It rocks around the ock, it does. Tell your friends.
I’m sure i don’t have to tell you how awful it is to incorporate bugs into the body of Christ-mas music. Eww.
So let’s get nasty.
Worst of all doesn’t seem to have actual arthropoda. Kirby Krackel nerd rock comic songsters extrodinaire have a precious holiday single “I’m Stuck in a Human Centipede for Christmas” which is what the song is about. If you are intrigued at all, check these guys out. This is poor-taste awesome.
Old Hands’ “Doug the Christmas Bedbug” instructs as well as horrifies. View the youtube slide show at your peril. Something Native American about the whole musical theme that makes me wonder.
Wane Fawesome marries Cheech and Family Guy to get an insect-invasion STD Christmas song full of Jingle Bells jollity with hardly the need for a Blue Alert. “Itchy Balls.” It’s catchy.
At a Naturist Convention, Helene Williams & Leonard Lehrman sing an updated “A Cockroach Christmas” with material torn from yesterday’s headlines (listen to his intro). It’s an infestation nativity!
Gary Strickland wants the last word on disgusting Christmas racism with “Jose, the Christmas Cockroach.” The guy went to a lot of video-making trouble and the number is way too long. But this is what novelty Christmas music is all about. All genius effort, no class.
Bugs anthropomorphize poorly, despite Aesop and Pixar. So why write noels ’bout them?
Because kids like them! You know: to eat, to kill, to stuff down friends’ shirts….
Many an elementary school Winter Festival has had a tiny person version of bugs celebrating in their buzzy ways from a musical by John Higgins and John Jacobsen. “A Bugz Christmas” is guaranteed to make you itch! Hee hee hee. (Schools don’t as often preform “The 12 Bugz of Christmas” or the termite rock number “We’re Hongry“–cause they’re pretty awful.)
To be honest, kids’ music is all about the backbeat and the catchy rhymes. It just might kill kids’ songwriters to make sense. Hence “Cicada Christmas” by Ian Ross Williams. Big Hunh?
And then–hey, not even a proper bug–there’s the itsy bitsy spider. Reworked by Matt Thompson’s The Ghost Script (how is that a fun kids’ source of music?) “The Itsy Bitsy Spider (Christmas Version)” delivers on rollickin’ adventures for Santa and that nasty black thing with all those legs. Enjoy kids!
Larvally speaking, take that lounge hit from the ’50s ‘Glow Worm,’ Christmastify it, then trowell on the class with the Velvet Fog himself, Mel Torme, and you get “Glow Worm (The Christmas Version).” It’s smoother than a virgin eggnog (with all the calories)!
Animals love Christmas time. Well, sheep more than goats…
And as we’re feeling more Christian that time of year, we love animals more. Well, puppies more than black widows…
Now i respect the animal husbandry involved in barn birthing, but Come On those donkeys get more holiday loving’ than they ought. So let’s work our way slowly up the phyla to Mammalia.
Starting with bugs!
Not much infestation this time of year. In fact some ‘Christmas bug’ songs are about influenza and the craze o’ Christmas! Let’s save those for later.
The most famous insect hereabouts is Charles Dickens’s “Cricket on the Hearth.” (You thought his only noel novella was about ghosties? Bah!) There’s a 1913 recording by Christie MacDonald and Reginald Weerenrath, but that poor of sound quality leaves even me wanting. 1967 paired Marlo and Danny Thomas in a Rankin Bass animated attempt to class up kids’ programming. No one cared. The only version of the title track “The Cricket on the Hearth” i can access is from a crappy VHS recording. To help determine its worth, check out the Red Ribbon Review. You could watch the whole 22-minute thing on youtube, but i figure four and a half minutes is plenty. (Danny’s intro is seen much more clearly at the end of this.)
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.