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Retro Xmas Mix Tape

[That the following article is being published after Christmas is my fault - Vaporman87]

Each December, no matter what state you live in, there’s one local radio station that dedicates itself to playing Christmas music all month long. I applaud their contribution to the holiday season, but I often find some of my favorite Christmas songs absent from the airwaves. I feel like my friends are missing out on some jolly jiving music, so this year I made you a mixtape of my favorite Christmas songs from the 80s and 90s.

Merry Christmas, I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight, Ramones

Punk rock’s quirky quartet Ramones are not known for their cheery demeanor, but on their 1989 album, Brain Drain they decided to pull something special out of their stocking. No, not a baseball bat to Beat On The Brat, instead they gave us a little love ballad about one troubled man’s attempt to smooth things over with his beloved. including such endearing declarations as, “I loved you from the start, 'Cause Christmas ain't the time for breaking each other's hearts.” References to Santa and his reindeer fill out the rest of the song, but it’s the smooth repetition of the title matching chorus that rings in your head hours after listening.

The music video for this song is a low-budget affair showing a psychotic couple literally at each other’s throats in their tiny New York apartment as Christmas party guests arrive to witness the knock down, drag-out yuletide brawl.  Finally left alone, they make-up just long enough to exchange gifts, which leads to another argument and the craziness starts all over again. The Ramones were a very dysfunctional band, so it makes sense that they this was their version of spreading holiday cheer. Click here to listen now.


You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, Gary Hoey

I first became aware of Gary Hoey during his appearances on the Mark and Brian morning radio show in the 90’s. He would always show up around the holidays to play a rockin’ rendition of a Christmas classic. Giving the main theme from the animated Dr. Suess tale a kick in the in the pants with an electric guitar blew my mind. It’s a bouncy collection of riffs with distortion and other guitar tricks that even though it was purely instrumental, still redefined the concept of Rockin’ around the Christmas tree for my teenage self. You can find his multiple volumes of Ho-Ho-Hoey albums on or click here to listen now.


The Night Santa Went Crazy, "Weird Al" Yankovic

The final song on Weird Al’s 1996 album, Bad Hair Day, The Night Santa Went Crazy is basically Rambo at the North Pole. If you ever wanted to know why the whole leaving Santa a plate of Christmas cookies was invented, this tinsel draped tune makes it abundantly clear. I always felt that some cable channel needed to expand this song into a full on animated Christmas special, it just so descriptive. Did I say descriptive? I meant twisted! Basically Al sings us the story of Santa having a psychotic break and proceeding to massacre all the residents of the North Pole with massive firepower. 

The bloody fate of every one of Santa’s reindeer is laid out in gruesome detail, the most ridiculous being, “Then he picked a flamethrower and he barbecued Blitzen, then he took a big bite and said it tastes just like Chicken!” By the song's end, Santa is captured by the FBI and sent to a federal prison. Meanwhile the Elves coped by getting jobs with the U.S. Postal Service and Mrs. Claus is negotiating a movie deal with Hollywood. I remember seeing Al live in concert around 1997 and during this song he would (fake) shoot an angry Santa Claus that charged him on stage. I don't think you can get away with that kind of stuff these days. Click here to watch a fan's animated music video.


Christmas With the Devil, Spinal Tap

Among my top 5 films of all time, This Is Spinal Tap from 1982 is a comedy milestone that broke ground with a mockumentary about an aging British rock band’s declining years. 10 years later the trio of actors/musician re-united for an album called, Break Like The Wind and a televised concert film. Trying to hang on to their Heavy Metal street cred, the trio of Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins gave us a Christmas song from Satan’s point of view.

Playing with the imagery of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, the band dramatically delivers such memorable lyrics as, “No bells in hell, no snow below, silent night, violent night” while mixing in sounds of the season like choral bells and boisterous organ chords. Truthfully if not for the lyrics, it would make a great Halloween song as well. Allow me to leave you with the closing line of this horrifying hymn, “So come all ye unfaithful, don’t be left out in the cold, you don’t need no invitation, no, you’re ticket is your soul!” Click here to view the live version of this song from 1992.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, Elmo and Patsy

This is a novelty tune that still gets some airplay now and again, but not nearly as often as in it’s heyday of the 90’s. After some quick research I found that the song was actually released originally in 1979 by Elmo and Patsy, though I don’t recall any mention of it until around 1994. Song’s about old ladies getting trampled by 4 legged creatures tend to get the attention of 12 year olds, especially during the Beavis and Butt-Head era of comedy. It had a music video that popped up every year once the snow started falling and even inspired an animated kids movie in the year 2000.

If you haven’t heard it, don’t blame me for any spoilers, the title takes care of that on its own. Really the comedy is in the details. Grandma stumbles out the door drunk on egg nog and having not taken her medication, when suddenly "the incident" occurs. The family investigates to find “Hoofprints on her forehead and incriminating Claus marks on her back”. From there the surviving kin try to enjoy their holiday season, but can’t help missing their blue haired Granny. It’s a classic, click here to check it out.

I'll admit, I haven't included the jolliest Christmas tracks on my Merry Mixtape, but their bound to get a chuckle out of those of you with a sense of humor.

So tell me what obscure tunes are on your Christmas playlist?

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Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 05, 2016 at 11:41 PM

This is certainly an odd mixtape for the holidays. LOL! I love the Weird Al "Bad Hair Day" album. It was great, and that song in particular was a real romp.

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