The Bonus Track: Bad Santas

A sideways look at the world of music

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The Independent Culture

It is not usually in this column’s remit to get personal, but it’s the end of another year and all that time-for-reflection malarky, so forgive me if I take this opportunity to over-share. Being the father of a toddler, you’d think I would want all the Silent Nights I could get my hands on. But having just reviewed the Leona Lewis album, it occurs to me there are only so many times you can listen to the same songs.

Bah, and indeed humbug.

Which set me to thinking about the alternatives – the weirdest, silliest and most inappropriate Christmas songs in the history of Buzzfeed lists and even longer. We’re talking James Brown’s Funky Christmas, included here because who wants to get down at a time of the year when most of us can barely get up.


For sheer shock value, not much can beat Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart from 2009. And it’s not even that Bob was born Jewish, more that if you had to pick a voice incompatible with, say, “It Must Be Santa”, it would be Bob’s. Although he does also include a version of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. To which the answer is, “ Probably not.”


From the ridiculous to the sublime, Andrew Bird’s take on the Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine”


makes this list due to the unseasonably sombre lyrics – a category that must also include Johnny Cash’s “Ringing the Bells for Jim”


And, for sheer inappropriateness, Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa”.


Moving swiftly on to the shock-tactic Santas. Eric Idle’s “Fuck Christmas”,


Sparks’ “Thank God it’s Not Christmas”


and Spinal Tap’s “Christmas With the Devil”.


But the best/worst not-quite-right Christmas music moment of all time? Tough call. But it’s hard to better Kate Bush being strangled by a man dressed as a violin on her 1979 TV special.