12 Riffs of Christmas BAND AID – Do They Know It’s Christmas?

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Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (from the single Do They Know It’s Christmas, 1984 Phonogram/Columbia) Some of the biggest acts in the United Kingdom got together in 1984 to raise money for famine relief in Africa. Contributors from bands like U2, Boomtown Rats, WHAM!, Duran Duran, The Police, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, and Culture Club contributed to the song, which managed to bring in over ten million dollars during it’s first year of release. This song started a wave of celebrity collaborations and events to aid causes and charities all over the world. It may not be a traditional Christmas song, and may not be the most amazing song ever recorded, but it had heart, and all the right intentions. It’s crazy to think that this song is thirty years old. The cause is still going strong today with @BandAid30 .

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas – Lemmy, Gibbons & Grohl – Run, Run Rudolph

2392387-2392384-lemmy_santa-jpgLemmy, Billy F. Gibbons and Dave GrohlRun, Run Rudolph (from the compilation We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year, 2008 Armoury Records  – First recorded by the legendary Chuck Berry in 1958, Run, Run Rudolph has been recorded by many musicians over the years. The others are okay, but you cannot compete with Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), especially when he is joined by underrated guitar legend Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top), and all-round good dude Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). This is Christmas, Sunset Strip meets Mississippi Delta style; with snarl and attitude. The only regretful thing about this collaboration is that they didn’t make a whole album of Holiday songs. If you had an opportunity to record a Christmas song with a select group ofmusicians, who would you choose, and what song would you do? I choose White Christmas with Joshua Homme (QOTSA) and Tom Waits. Just imagine…

T.

 

12 Riffs of Christmas BING CROSBY & DAVID BOWIE – Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

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David Bowie (L) and Bing Crosby (R)

Bing Crosby & David Bowie – Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (from Bowie’s B-side single Fantastic Voyage, 1982 RCA) What happens when you take an entertainment legend, an amazing pop vocalist and let them sing a carol together? You get this beauty of a Christmas song. Bowie is my favorite male performer and Little Drummer Boy is at the top of my Holiday song list. This is a beautiful rendition, recorded by two gentlemen who could sing anything and make it sound lovely. It was a great touch to put together an actor/singer with Bing Crosby’s influence and a current artist the caliber of the Thin White Duke (Bowie). As far as contemporary Christmas songs go, this may be the best.

As a bonus, here is a Funny or Die tribute with John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell.

//www.funnyordie.com/embed/6f62088f27

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas DIO and Iommi- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

tumblr_mf7kqzjsan1qdev51o1_1280Dio & Tony IommiGod Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (from the compilation We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year, 2008 Armoury Records) Perhaps the the last couple of legends that come to mind when you think of Christmas songs, Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi bring us the finest in Yuletide metal. These former Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell mates made heavy music what it is today, so of course they have every right to do what they like regarding Christmas. I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing these amazing men in concert. The late, great Dio had one of the best voices in music. God rest, ye merry Gentleman. One of a kind.

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas WHAM! – Last Christmas

75233347_1f11d94774_oWham! – Last Christmas (from the album Music From the Edge of Heaven, 1984 Columbia Epic) Often imitated, but never duplicated, this song will get stuck in your head the moment you hear it. George Michael may not be perfect, but he is a hell of a song writer. In all honesty, the first time I watched the video was today just prior to writing this. Is it just me, or is it like a four minute Wrigley chewing gum commercial with Mr. Michael’s hairdo the main star? Christmas means different things to different folks, but to Wham!, it means ski trips, cozy sweaters, and romance. There is a lesson to be learned here; don’t give your heart to just anyone this Christmas. Please, give it to someone special.

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas AUGUST BURNS RED – CAROL OF THE BELLS

mi0003440877August Burns Red – Carol of the Bells (from the album August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill A Holiday Album, 2012 Solid State) These good Christian boys are one of technical metal’s finest bands. The entire Holiday album the released in 2012 is actually quite spectacular. The all-traditional track listing is done up all heavy, but enjoyably so. It may not be your thing, but these guys are undeniably talented. Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I chose their version to share with you. The fancy light show in the video is just a bonus.

T.

 

12 Riffs of Christmas GWAR – Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend

screen-shot-2012-12-20-at-1-03-42-pmGWAR – Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend (from the album Bloody Pit of Horror, 2010 Metal Blade) There are many different Christmas traditions around the world. For example, in the Ukraine, trees are decorated with spider webs because according to legend a “magic spider” will spin webs of gold and silver for the less fortunate. People in the Czech Republic are taught not to eat anything on Christmas eve until a large feast is prepared in hopes to see the “golden pig” appear. In Iceland, there are thirteen troll-like Santa characters that come down from the mountain during the holidays to bring children gifts or rotten potatoes, depending on the child’s behavior. If you are in the band GWAR, you celebrate Christmas in the summer, over a whole weekend, with strippers. It may not be conventional, but who is going to argue with those guys. I have also included a video of GWAR doing some caroling. Ho Ho Ho.

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas EAZY E – Merry Mutha**uckkin’ X-Mas

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Eazy E – Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas (from the EP 5150: Home 4 Tha Sick, 1992 Ruthless/Priority Records – Not exactly your typical Christmas carol, but perhaps the greatest Holiday story ever told? The late, great Eazy E (N.W.A.) and a cast of friends let us know what they want from Santa, and what he’s gonna get in return. This is not for the kids, as it features some pretty nasty lyrics, but how else can Eazy tell us about Christmas in Compton? It was a silent night, it was a Holy night

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas THE POGUES – FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK

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The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacCollFairytale of New York (from the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, 1988 Pogue Mahone)  This folk-style ballad is a real Christmas gem, and one of my favorites. Although it took two years from it`s inception until it`s release, Fairytale of New York is one of the most played Christmas songs in the UK, and has reached the top twenty singles charts every year over the past decade. What could be better than Christmas through the eyes of a drunken Irish immigrant? Not too much.

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas SPINAL TAP – Christmas With The Devil

May I proudly bring to you, a collection of my favorite non-traditional Christmas carols. Each day I will share a song, just to fill your Holiday season with cheer. Behold…12 Riffs of Christmas!

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Spinal Tap – Christmas with the Devil (from the album This is Spinal Tap [re-release], 2000 Polydor).  I could not think of a better way to begin the 12 Riffs of Christmas than the worlds greatest fiction band; Spinal Tap. This is Christmas through the eyes of Nigel Tufnel (Christoper Guest), David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer). This is what happens to X-Mas when you turn the amps up to eleven. If you have not seen the mock documentary This Is Spinal Tap, you probably won’t appreciate this as much of those of us who have seen it. None the less, even the Devil gets lonely during the holidays. Spend some time with him.

T.