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Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

| 24 December 2013

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
By Shane Pinnegar

There’s a surprising amount of good rocking Christmas music available out there – many artists including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canned Heat, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, REO Speedwagon (and even John Denver with The Muppets!) and more recently Kim Wilde have released dedicated Christmas albums, and even more have done one-off originals or covers of a Christmas theme.

John Denver Muppets - Christmas Album CD

Gary Hoey has several volumes of guitar instrumentals available under the Ho Ho Ho-ey banner, ex-Stray Cat rockabilly twanger Brian Setzer’s Orchestra likewise, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra have several concept albums on festive themes. There’s even a Rockabye-Baby collection of Mellotron and harpsichord interpretations of classic rock Christmas songs for kids.

Rockabye Baby - Metallica CD

There is no shortage of softer rocking compilations and individual single releases either, featuring artists as diverse as Queen, The Pretenders, Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora through to The Darkness’s well double entendre hung Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) and AC/DC’s dire Mistress For Christmas.

The Darkness - Christmas Time

Of course, not all rock n’ roll Christmas music is celebratory – The Pogues, Hollywood Undead, Dropkick Murphys and more have released classic Christmas fare which is the polar opposite of the Frosty The Snowman vibe!

Some of the better ready-made albums are featured here, and I end with my compilation of the best Christmas playlist you’ll need, featuring all the hard rock highlights that will make your Christmas complete!
Twisted Sister – Twisted Christmas, 2006

Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas

Twisted Sister blast the doors off it on this collection of Christmas favourites, and the garishly made up ones seize every opportunity to include elements of their trademark sound throughout. Oh Come All Ye Faithful chugs along to the tune of We’re Not Gonna Take It, and best of all, Heavy Metal Christmas sends themselves up wonderfully (“three studded belts, two pairs of spandex pants, and a tattoo of Ozzy”!!).
Billy Idol – Happy Holidays, 2006

Billy Idol - Happy Holidays CD

Billy croons like Bing on this collection of holiday favourites, and pulls it off pretty damned well. Frosty The Snowman and Let It Snow are jaunty singalongs, though a faithful reading of White Christmas, whilst lively, would have been more interesting if it included at least a snippet of his megahit White Wedding – “It’s a nice day, for a White Christmas”, anyone?
JETHRO TULL – The Christmas Album, 2003

Jethro Tull - Christmas Album CD

Ian Anderson and Co collect songs new and old, instrumentals & otherwise for this homage to the festive season. Concentrating mostly on Tull’s softer side with medieval and pastoral influences a plenty, this is a wonderful flute-filled romp, and the absence of most of the more “traditional” Christmas carols makes it a more obscure choice for musicologists.
We Wish You A Metal Xmas (And A Headbanging New Year), 2008

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

This is a metal antidote to the mindless elevator ‘muzak’ we’ve all been subjected to over too many Christmases, and possibly the best Christmas compilation out there for hard and heavy rockers – metal & hard rock luminaries such as Alice Cooper, the late great Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy, Tony Iommi, George Lynch and many more present their take on some classic festive tracks guaranteed to piss off your Nana – the special 2 disc edition doubly so!
We Wish You A Hairy Christmas, 2003

We Wish You A Hairy Christmas

The best Sunset Strip collection of holiday songs, We Wish You A Hairy Christmas rocks hard from start to finish, with Danger Danger taking the honours for best on show.

Rockin' Santa


Keith Richards – Run Rudolph Run
Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas
Enuff Z’Nuff – Happy Holiday
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Little Drummer Boy
King Diamond – No Presents This Christmas
Billy Idol – Frosty The Snowman
Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Jethro Tull – A Christmas Song
Mel Smith & Kim Wilde – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)
Alice Cooper, John 5, Billy Sheehan, Vinny Appice – Santa Claws Is Coming To Town
Billy Idol – Let It Snow
Twisted Sister – O Come All Ye Faithful
Ringo Starr – I Wanna Be Santa Claus
Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody
Beach Boys – Santa’s Got An Airplane
The Pogues – Fairytale Of New York
The Pretenders – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Chuck Berry – Merry Christmas Baby
Ann & Nancy Wilson – Here Is Christmas
Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas
Taylor Swift – Santa Baby
Dokken – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
My Chemical Romance – All I Want For Christmas Is You
Gary Hoey – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Halford – Christmas For Everyone
Slade – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Macy Gray – Winter Wonderland
Twisted Sister – Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days Of Christmas)
The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)
Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Blink 182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again
Paul Dianno – White Christmas
Skid Row – Jingle Bells
Hollywood Undead – Christmas In Hollywood
Dropkick Murphys – The Season Is Upon Us
SSS – Merry Christmas
Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – Christmas Eve On The Reeperbahn
Kevin Bloody Wilson – Hey, Santa Claus
Lita Ford & Twisted Sister – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Doro Pesch, Michael Schenker, Tony Franklin, Frankie Banali – O Christmas Tree
Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Chris Wyse, Ray Luzier – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Doro featuring Unkel Tom – Merry Metal Christmas
Angel – The Christmas Song


Share your favourite Christmas rock song in a comment below for a chance to win a pack of all sorts of random CDs and t-shirts and stuff we have lying around – deadline is midnight 31st December, 2013, AWST!



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