Tag Archives: 2011

The missing Christmas hits

Fascinating to read in the Milwaukee paper the other day that no Christmas song has been a hit since Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” in 1994.

My pal JB over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ also took note of that story, which prompted him to ponder the state of Christmas radio then and now.

All that said, there certainly are some Christmas songs that should have hit the charts in the last 17 years. Here are some of them.

“Who Needs Mistletoe,” Julie Roberts, from “Who Needs Mistletoe,” 2011. A country song every bit as filthy as Clarence Carter’s great “Back Door Santa.”

“Oi To The World,” Severe, from the wonderful Punk Rock Advent Calendar, 2009. Well, it’s reverent as far as UK punks go.

“We Three Kings,” Blondie, a 2009 holiday release. Always fun to find Debbie Harry under the tree. Always fun to hear Blondie’s classic sound.

“Merry Christmas Baby,” Melissa Etheridge, from “A New Thought For Christmas,” 2008. Blistering vocals and blistering blues guitar. Move over, fellas.

“Silent Night,” the Blackhearts and special guests, from “A Blackheart Christmas,” 2008. Some sound bites from that year’s presidential race make it a bit of a time capsule. It once had a bit of a valedictory feel. Now it has the feel of opportunities lost.

“Silent Night,” Bootsy Collins, from “Christmas Is 4 Ever,” 2006. A sweet mashup of reverent narration, funk, R&B and gospel.

“Winter (Basse Dance),” Blackmore’s Night, from “Winter Carols,” 2006. It’s out of print but is available digitally. If you can get past that Ritchie Blackmore is no longer rocking out as he did in Deep Purple and Rainbow and not cede all the elegant guitar work to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, you might dig this instrumental.

“Wonderful Dream (Holidays Are Coming),” Melanie Thornton, from “Memories,” 2003. It’s an import that has gone out of print. This tune was used in a Coca-Cola ad after the R&B singer’s death 10 years ago, but its back story transcends marketing.

“It’s Christmas And I Miss You,” .38 Special, from “A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night,” 2001. It’s out of print but is available digitally. A gentle ballad reflecting the loneliness the season can bring. It’s co-written by guitarist Don Barnes and our friend Jim Peterik.

“Little Drummer Boy,” the Dandy Warhols, from “Fruitcake,” 1997, a Capitol Records promo EP. It’s out of print. In which the Little Drummer Boy takes a psychedelic trip.

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ (In A Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train),” the Tractors, from “Have Yourself A Tractors Christmas,” 1995. It’s out of print but is available digitally. This fine bit of country swing actually was a modest hit on country radio in in 1995 and again in 1998. After all, it’s just their 1994 hit “Baby Likes To Rock It” retooled with new lyrics for Christmas.

“Soul Christmas,” Graham Parker and Nona Hendryx, from “Christmas Cracker,” 1994. If there were any justice, this scorcher would have been the hit from 17 years ago.


Filed under December 2011, Sounds

Not quite a Grand evening

It’s quarter to 8 on this clear, cold Wisconsin night. We’re supposed to be sitting in the first row of the right balcony at the Grand Theater in Wausau, listening to Glen Campbell.

But he begged off earlier today, reportedly having caught the laryngitis that’s been going around the singers and musicians with whom he travels. He played a couple of weekend shows in Branson, Missouri, then postponed Monday night’s show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, also citing laryngitis.

So it goes.

The only problem is that our show has been rescheduled for Jan. 22. That’s a date I must keep open for work. It’s entirely possible that the Green Bay Packers will be hosting the NFC championship game across town on that Sunday. If so, I’ll be at work and not at the Grand, listening to Glen Campbell.

In 30-some years of going to gigs, I believe this is only the second time that I’ve been all but ready to head out to a show, only to have it postponed.

Ten years ago, I’d driven about 30 miles of a 150-mile trip to Madison when I heard on the radio that the AC/DC show to which I was headed had been postponed. Those were the days before Twitter and texting, of course.

That AC/DC show was made up 10 days later, on a day that worked better for me than the original date.

No such luck with Glen Campbell. Guess we’ll just listen to this Paul Westerberg song we might have heard him sing tonight.

“Ghost On The Canvas,” Glen Campbell, from “Ghost On The Canvas,” 2011.


Filed under December 2011, Sounds