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Friday Riffs: What song gets you in the holiday spirit?

OK, I cave. I don’t usually warm up to Christmas music until a few days before the holiday. But with Brian Setzer’s Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza Saturday at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and a pair of radio station doozies next Wednesday and Thursday (Justin Bieber, Enrique Iglesias, Kesha, Flo rida, etc. at Philips Arena and Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Phillip Phillips, etc. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, respectively), I’m going to have to acknowledge the festivity a little earlier this year.

So, with a nod to all halls appropriately decked, here are a couple of my new Christmas favorites for 2012 as well as two classics that I probably could tolerate just fine if I had to hear them in, say, August.

What songs bring out your holiday spirit?

Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey and The Roots, “All I Want for Christmas is You”: It’s not a new song (yep, it’s 18 years old), but the sweet new spin delivered by Fallon – the happiest dude on Earth – his musical crew, a charming Carey and some adorable kids and their classroom instruments is already making this the viral hit of the season.

Richard Marx, “Christmas Spirit”: Not only is this new tune from Marx’s Christmas album a delightful romp, the video is a hoot. I never thought I’d see the day when Amy Grant and Rick Springfield shared a video, but I’m not complaining. See how many stars – old, new, minor and mega – you can spot.

The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”: I was aghast last week when my hairdresser – an avid music fan – told me he had never heard this bittersweet tale delivered with a wink and a sigh. If you haven’t, either, please listen now.

Wham! “Last Christmas”: As much as I like the numerous covers that have popped up over the years – Jimmy Eat World, Taylor Swift, Manic Street Preachers, Carrie Underwood, Coldplay — few project empathetic heartache like George Michael.

27 comments Add your comment

Atlantarama

December 7th, 2012
5:14 am

Having grown up in the ’60’s, the song I most identify with Christmas is “Jingle Bell Rock.”

fred

December 7th, 2012
7:06 am

Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kristy McColl

david c

December 7th, 2012
7:40 am

David Briel

December 7th, 2012
8:05 am

Any Christmas Music by MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER. They are one of my all time favorite INSTRUMENTAL musical groups. I was a senior in High School when they released their first Christmas album in 1984. Their music is some of the BEST that is out there.

Angela

December 7th, 2012
8:08 am

This Christmas – by Donny Hathaway!!

Don't Tread

December 7th, 2012
8:44 am

Most anything by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Also partial to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and the Eagles’ “Please Come Home for Christmas”, along with the rest of the classic stuff. (Except for “Santa Baby”, sung by anyone…that song is blatantly offensive.)

kimber

December 7th, 2012
9:07 am

“What Christmas Means to Me” by Little Stevie Wonder! Gets me everytime!!

BB

December 7th, 2012
9:36 am

Silent Night by the Temptations

Sarafina

December 7th, 2012
9:39 am

“Fruitcake”-The Superions, “Santa Claus Is A Black Man”-Akim and Teddy Vann, “Five Pound Bag of Money”-Pearl Bailey, “Jingle Bells”-The Puppini Sisters and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”-Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews.

me

December 7th, 2012
9:59 am

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt. Raunchy but it’s my jam!

Mitch Kumstein

December 7th, 2012
10:18 am

Gotta be Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Arounf the Christmas Tree”

Mitch Kumstein

December 7th, 2012
10:19 am

**Around**

Sorry, not enough coffee yet!

Dave

December 7th, 2012
10:20 am

Baby it’s cold outside….

Marie

December 7th, 2012
10:52 am

Any Christmas song by Josh Groban. I sometimes listen to his Christmas music year round.

Michelle

December 7th, 2012
11:02 am

“White Christmas” by the Drifters – nothing better to start the season!

M.E.

December 7th, 2012
11:30 am

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid. Lyrics sure to bring a tear to the eye.

Santa

December 7th, 2012
11:30 am

Either the Cheech & Chong Christmas story (Santa Claus and his old lady) :) Or the Charlie Brown Christmas LP – on vinyl of course!!

Gary

December 7th, 2012
12:19 pm

I like James Taylor’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

(the other) Rodney

December 7th, 2012
12:59 pm

TOTALLY it’s Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas. And yes, the Jimmy Fallon version with her is really cute too.

Also, any of that mandolin Christmas music like what you hear up in the shops in Blue Ridge does it for me, too. Reminds me of old timey Christmas for some reason (I’m only 42 so I don’t really KNOW old timey Christmas but still).

Toledo Dan

December 7th, 2012
1:21 pm

“All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Not the Mariah Carey song. The Carla Thomas song from 1963. Unfortunately, on the versions on You Tube, the tempo is much too slow.

TD

December 7th, 2012
1:49 pm

@angela & @fred,

spot on choices!

For me, for sheer output, the Sufjan Stevens collection, now at 10 volumes, is awesome.

Songs, easily “Father Christmas” from the Kinks for a kick butt rocker, and “Thanks For Christmas” from Britpop geniuses XTC.

Traditionally, it has never gotten better than Vince Guaraldi’s “Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I have almost 1100 Xmas songs in my iTunes library. I love Xmas music, but mostly the non-traditional, updated songs performed by alternative & rock bands.

Oh, and the Adam Sandler Chanukah song :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Basspro2150

December 7th, 2012
2:33 pm

Cheech and Chongs Christmas Story. A little magic dust for Santa.

jennsel

December 7th, 2012
3:05 pm

Santa Claus is Comin To Town – by Bruce Springsteen, and, as a child of the 80s . . . Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid. For oldies . .. Johnny Mathis – Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride . . .

FM Fats

December 7th, 2012
4:06 pm

A big +1 on the Pogues. David Grisman’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is a big favorite, as is “Santa Claus, Go Straight To the Ghetto” by the Godfather. And “Just Like Christmas” by Low.

FM Fats

December 7th, 2012
4:12 pm

If I hear “Wonderful Christmas Time” by McCartney again I’m gonna go postal.

ocp

December 7th, 2012
5:53 pm

Mariah Carey’s O Holy Night. Its just incredible.

ocp

December 7th, 2012
5:55 pm

most annoying: 1. Wonderful Christmas Time by Sir Paul. 2. Last Christmas by Wham. 3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by John Mellancamp.