Our Favourite Festive Music Tracks

December 06, 2021

Our Favourite Festive Music Tracks

Who doesn't love a Christmas tune? Our team shared some of their favourite festive tracks so that you can make your Christmas playlist that bit more exciting! From the classic to the whacky - we have it all! Happy listening...

 

At the Christmas Ball - Bessie Smith (1925)

Bessie Smith, the legendary blues singer, recorded this fabulous Christmas song 2 years after she became a household name thanks to her hit album Down-Hearted Blues. This song is a heart-felt ode to the festive season and reminds listeners that "Christmas comes but once a year, and to me it brings good cheer/And to everyone who likes wine and beer." Widely considered one of the best bitter-sweet Christmas songs of all time, and should be at the top of your festive playlist.

Feliz Navidad - José Feliciano (1970)

A firm festive favourite, written in 1970 by Puerto Rican singer/songwriter José Feliciano, this Christmas song delights with its simple yet heartfelt lyrics. This song features the traditional Spanish Christmas/New Year greeting "Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad" ("Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness") followed by the English lyrics "I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart."

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Bruce Springsteen (1975)

Originally written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934, this rock version recorded by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band was recorded in 1975. Taking inspiration from the earlier version recorded by The Crystals in the 1960's, Springsteen's rendition of this Christmas classic has received ample radio airplay at Christmastime for years. Having appeared on Billboard magazine's Hot Singles Recurrents chart each year from 2002 to 2009 due to seasonal air play. This song has been recorded by over 200 artists, but we still think Springsteen's is the best! 

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues (1987)

According to The Pogues' lead singer, Shane MacGowan, this anti-Christmas anthem started out as a bet between him and Elvis Costello that MacGowan couldn't write a Christmas duet to sing with the band's bass player Cait O'Riordan. Costello may have lost his wager, but the world got what we think is the perfect Christmas song for anyone who has been lonely on Christmas Eve.

The Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth) - Bing Crosby & David Bowie (1977)

Little Drummer Boy has always been a Christmas classic, but this version by legend Bing Crosby and superstar David Bowie really shook up this classic and made it a joyous, uplifting song. The unlikely pairing came about thanks to Bowie's mum, who loved Bing Crosby and convinced her son to perform on Crosby's 1977 TV special, Merrie Olde Christmas. We thank you Mrs Bowie! 

Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters (1950)

Written in 1949, this gorgeous song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase Mele Kalikimaka, meaning "Merry Christmas." Written by Honolulu, Hawaii-born Robert Alexander Anderson, this ever-popular song transports you straight to the island. Widely used across popular media, this song features in L.A. Confidential and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as well as The Office and Hawaii Five-0.

Christmass Na Kimangu - Charles Musyoki Kikumbi (1999)

Born in Machakos county in 1970 in Kimangu, Charles Musyoki Kikumbi popularly known as Kijana leader of Kimangu Boys Band is the biggest artist across the whole Kamba Nation to date. This uplifting Christmas tune is popular in Kenya, Africa and beyond! A must for any festive playlist. 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland (1944)

From the ever-popular film Meet Me in St. Louis, this is the perfect melancholic Christmas track. Garland's performance is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Since its 1944 debut, the song has become a Christmas classic covered by contemporary greats like Sam Smith, Christina Aguilera, and Frank Sinatra, to name but a few.

Put the Lights on the Tree - Sufjan Stevens (2019)

Sufjan Stevens LOVES Christmas. So much so in fact, he's created multiple albums with all-Christmas songs. In 2012, he released Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas which had a huge 58 songs spread across five EPs. We love this track for it's fun, whimsical lyrics that remind us of simpler times. We can also heavily recommend the track 'Christmas Unicorn.'

Jingle Bells - Barbra Streisand (1967)

Jingle Bells - a total Christmas classic, however in true Streisand fashion this version from her 1967 Christmas album speeds the familiar tune up so much that it's almost like a totally different song! It's always great fun trying to sing along which is why we just had to include this tune! 

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses (1981)

This popular New Wave band probably weren't the first people you'd expect to release a Christmas classic - but it's definitely one of our faves! Released by ZE Records as part of a compilation album aptly named A Christmas Record, this fast-tempo pop tune is an undisputed Christmas classic. Each festive season, the songs writer and producer, Chris Butler, makes a donation to the Akron-Summit County children's library in the name of the first person to tell him they heard "Christmas Wrapping" on the radio

A Spaceman Came A-Travelling - Chris de Burgh (1976)

This fun Christmas tune from the writer of the slow-dance classic 'Lady in Red' reimagines the Christmas story as a tale of intergalactic travel. It features the angel Gabriel as a spaceship rider from another planet heralding the birth of the little baby Jesus and guiding all to the manger as his starship stood in for a guiding light. Not the most traditional Christmas anthem but definitely one that ends up on repeat! 

Listen to our playlist on Spotify here




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