Run Rudolph run! Music for the season

Run rudolph runNote: It’s the week before Christ­mas and the Doc­tor is fran­ti­cal­ly wrap­ping pack­ages. is a replay from year. Enjoy!

It’s impos­si­ble to escape hol­i­day music – or at least, Christ­mas-relat­ed hol­i­day music. Radio sta­tions begin play­ing it in Octo­ber Sep­tem­ber, Christ­mas muzak (and some­times music) flows out from count­less store speak­ers, and each new gen­er­a­tion of pop­u­lar singers do their best to cre­ate their own ulti­mate hol­i­day record­ing (because, of course, hol­i­day resid­u­als are for­ev­er!).

But for some odd rea­son, about 16 years ago I began col­lect­ing hol­i­day music. Why? Sim­ple – if I was going to be inun­dat­ed with it, I want­ed to have some , AND I did­n’t want to hear the same old same old. A warn­ing, how­ev­er – I grav­i­tate toward the old and the weird. So if you’re look­ing for Mari­ah Carey….well, there may be coal in your stock­ing! With that said, I present to you the Doc­tor’s hol­i­day music picks:

  • Jing a Ling Jing a Ling: The Andrews Sis­ters knock this one out of the park – tight har­monies, man­ic orches­tra­tion, and a great ‘Ha ha! Ho Ho!’ dropped in just for fun. It’s almost impos­si­ble to lis­ten with­out devel­op­ing an urge to bounce around.
  • Sug­ar Rum Cher­ry: To slow down a bit, try out this bit of utter hip­ness from Duke Elling­ton – his own very take on the Nut­crack­er.
  • Jin­gle Bells: Yes, this one is all the time – but not the way Bri­an Set­zer and his orches­tra do it! It’s worth hear­ing just for Bri­an’s men­tion of a ’57 Chevro­let. And, um, the gui­tar play­ing is pret­ty good, too.
  • Hel­lo Mr. Kringle: Corny, but my kind of corny. Kay Kyser and his Orches­tra bring in a series of singers (include Ish-Kabib­ble!) plead­ing their to the fat man.
  • Hey Claus: The Moon­glows give this song the kind of easy, hip feel that drops you right back into an era of smoky night­clubs, yack­ety sax­es, and late late nights. Then there’s the bass singer drop­ping in a very cool ‘yeah’ – just in case San­ta was­n’t get­ting the mes­sage.
  • The Christ­mas Waltz: Not that unusu­al but always incred­i­ble to hear. Peg­gy Lee’s voice lit­er­al­ly floats through this song, and even though the orches­tra­tion veers dan­ger­ous­ly to schmaltz, Lee keeps it real.
  • My Favorite Things: Not sure how this became a ‘hol­i­day song’, but for me, Tony Ben­nett does the defin­i­tive ver­sion. It’s worth it just to hear him shout ‘Music!’ as the band kicks in.
  • We Wan­na See San­ta Do The Mam­bo: From the first gui­tar notes, you know you’re in a funki­er realm of hol­i­day song. John Greer the bon­gos to the front on this one!
  • White Christ­mas: Not white as in Bing, though. The Drifters do the per­fect ver­sion for me. Bill Pick­ney brings it in nice and low, and then Clyde McPhat­ter nails the high stuff.
  • Baby It’s Cold Out­side: Ann-Mar­garet and Bri­an Set­zer take Yule­tide innu­en­do to new heights – AND you get bon­gos, too!
  • Run Rudolph Run: In which Chuck Berry rips off his own gui­tar riffs and cre­ates a Christ­mas clas­sic.
  • Win­ter Weath­er: A lit­tle more Peg­gy Lee, cou­pled with Ben­ny Good­man and Art Lon­don. A great way to dance out the hol­i­days.

So there you have – the Doc­tor’s (extreme­ly abbre­vi­at­ed) hol­i­day song list. What odd­ball (or not so odd­ball) favorite of yours did I miss?

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