First up is Snoopy’s Christmas, the follow up to the Royal Guardsmen’s inexplicably popular 1966 hit Snoopy Versus the Red Baron – a number eight hit in the UK and number two in their native America. Although this particular song (just one of a slew of tracks the band released about either the Red Baron, Snoopy or both, including The Return of the Red Baron, Snoopy for President and 2006’s Snoopy Vs. Osama) did not chart in the UK or US it was, for some peculiar reason, a number one hit in New Zealand. Originally released on Laurie records in the US (and on London in the UK), the song tells the tale of how Charlie Brown’s mutt had to go out and fight the Red Baron on Christmas Eve, the two mortal enemies setting aside their differences for the night, sharing a drink and then flying off to meet another day.
The ridiculously flat bass playing on Snow Man, from Bob Gerard, is typical of a great number of the offerings from Tin Pan Alley, one of my absolute favourite song-poem labels. Luckily this particular horror clocks in at just 97 seconds. Bob was the ‘performer’ of one of the best song-poems ever, Tin Pan Alley’s Jodey Is a Wise Guy, a real stinker which I may well bring you once the festive season is through.
Track number three, The Christmas Shoes, came my way courtesy of Ross Hamilton. Its perpetrators, Christian rock phenomenon NewSong, should have been shot for this horrifically sentimental pap: written by Eddie Carswell and Leonard Ahlstromy this garbage, about a small boy who wants to buy his mother some new shoes that she can wear when she meets God later that night, provided the inspiration for an equally sickening film of the same name. Truly music to slit your wrists to, The Christmas Shoes made the coveted number one spot on Billboard for one week in January 2001. This song made me feel so ill I was forced to play Rock Music by the Pixies incredibly loudly just to get the evil noise out of my head. NewSong are one of the biggest acts on the Xian music scene, and founders of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the United States' largest annual Christian music tour.
Today’s final two ‘songs’, if you can call them that, come from Christmas in the Stars, the Star Wars Christmas Album. You may recall that we featured another track, R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jon Bon Jovi’s professional recording debut, here last year. Today we present a bunch of droids singing Merry, Merry Christmas and C3PO, aka Anthony Daniels, retelling the classic T’was the Night Before Christmas (retitled here A Christmas Sighting) with a suitably Star Warsian bent. It won’t be long before George Lucas decides to remaster this album, add in a CGI JarJar Binks and repackage it as Star Wars Episode 5a, or some such nonsense.
On Friday I’ll bring you the final instalment in this year’s Christmas Cavalcade. Until then…enjoy!