These five are not exactly “Away In A Manger,” but by and large they sure are fun.
1. Paul Simon, Getting Ready For Christmas Day. As I posted back in April, I loved this song from the first time I heard it. Why does a non-observant Jew sample an African-American sermon into a song about the birth of Christ? And why did he release it in the springtime instead of November? I don’t have an answer to those; I just know the product of that multi-religious brew is intoxicating.
2. Band Aid, Do They Know It’s Christmas? Rock’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984. Most people find the music rife with cliches, but I never fail to be moved by the refrain’s anguished plea: “Feed The World.” On a lighter note, love the mullets in the video!
3. Bruce Springsteen, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I lived in New Jersey from 1980 – 1987, so how could I not get caught up in this particular expression of the Christmas spirit? With Clarence Clemmons’ recent death, this one is especially poignant in 2011.
4. John Lennon, Happy Christmas (War Is Over). A haunting glimpse into the melancholy this season often brings.
5. U2, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). U2’s cover of Darlene Love’s hit was part of the band’s large-scale homage to all things American in the era of “Rattle & Hum.”