5 Holiday Classics as Bad as “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
If you missed it in the flurry of holiday activities, Sir Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rat and humanitarian responsible for writing the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which helped Band Aid raise millions for hunger relief in Ethiopia, just recently admitted what most of us already knew: the song sucked. He told London’s Daily Mail:
‘I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is Do They Know It’s Christmas? and the other one is We Are The World.
So, let’s give it a listen again, shall we?
The concept of the song itself is dripping with Western Privilege, and for that element alone, the song (mind you, not the effort to help prevent famine) deserves at least a bit of derision… as if the climate of Africa somehow prevented people from understanding the concept of Christmas. Ideally, the song was designed for the charitable members of the secular set to make them want to donate to the cause, but, to be fair, in 1984, most of the down side of this was masked by the star power of all those UK singing superstars like Boy George, Sting and Bananarama. It’s only now, after hearing it over and over again, every single Christmas season, can we say we’re truly sick of it.
So, we have to jot a memo, fire off an email, send a tweet, or just Facebook poke any and all musicians, vocalists, celebrities, and actors who think they can sing: You People! Christmas Is Forever! If you record a holiday record for some television show, for a film, for a novelty release, or your album, it will be played the year your project comes out, and the year after that, and the year after that, and so on, and so on, until time has ended. So, with that in mind, here are a handful of songs by a few performers you know that likely DIDN’T have that in mind!
Why look! It’s Elton John singing “Step Into Christmas!”
… and there! It’s Paul McCartney with “Wonderful Christmas Time!”
I’ve paired these two songs together because they were both written for specials these two icons of music did back in the 1970s. And these are two classic examples of artists not realizing the permanence of Christmas Songs! Without needing to bash either one of these tunes too hard, it’s clear that these were meant to be disposable fluff that was “of the moment,” something that would be entertaining on their programs, but soon forgotten. The trouble is that they weren’t forgotten and they are still trotted out in all of their Moog Synthesizer glory each and every year as if they were Handel‘s Messiah or at least Nat King Cole‘s version of Mel Tormé‘s “The Christmas Song!” They’re not.
Hey! It’s David Bowie and Bing Crosby crooning a duet called “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth!”
Talk about a stunt. Very much like the John and McCartney offerings above, this song was a part of a Holiday TV program (which you can get a sense of with the campy patter that Bowie and Crosby struggle through before they get to their vocalizing in this clip). We’re up to the 1980s here, and obviously Bingo was trying to find a way to stay relevant to the kids watching, hence getting Ziggy Stardust to float into his tin can. But this song is far more sad than positive: neither singer was in good voice, and really it’s possible they both were lit up like Christmas Trees themselves, Crosby approaching the end of his life and Bowie just likely having a festive celebration. The cringe factor far outweighs the intended warmhearted sentiments.
Why, it’s those Singing Dogs doing that classic, “Jingle Bells!”
Seriously, this is complete disaster. “Jingle Bells” is a fairly annoying song to begin with, but then record the sound of dogs barking out the notes to it, and you have a recipe for something that would make you want to turn your dial as fast as you can reach it, or run, screaming and empty-handed, from the store foolish enough to have it on their playlist. Muzzle!
And a NEW one for the 2010 Holiday season: we’ve got Garfunkel and Oates with “Present Face!”
Riki Lindhome is “Garfunkel” and Kate Micucci is “Oates” in this parody pairing. They comically perform a whole series of ditties explaining why “Pregnant Women Are Smug,” remembering a “One Night Stand” or securing a “Weed Card,” but here, their topic of discussion is your reaction to a gift someone gave you that you don’t like, while you try not to show your disgust. That’s a set up for something negative, or at least not so good, isn’t it? I suppose by making people conscious of this affliction, they are encouraging folks to choose their gifts more wisely to prevent it. However I’m guessing what it’ll actually mean is that everyone will just be more aware of how bad an actor you are when they realize you don’t like what they gave you! (I also presume that they’ll have a follow-up song about “regifting” at some point.)
Riki and Kate, we’ll still be playing “Present Face” for Christmas 2060! I hope you like it then (and every single year up til then) as much as you do now!
So, what Holiday song could you most celebrate the season without?