Let’s face it: Whether you’re trudging through the mall to shop for presents or fleeing to the drugstore to pick up the prescription that helps you cope with holiday stress, you’re going to be bombarded with Christmas music for the next month. Wouldn’t it be great if you could at least raise the hipness quotient of the piped-in carols, so that you’re not listening to the Muzak versions of ”Sleigh Ride” or ”Joy to the World” for the zillionth time? Help your fellow PopWatchers by building a sap-free iPod playlist of the best rock-era Christmas carols.
Let’s restrict the list to original tunes composed or performed by pop singers, rockers, and rappers; no covers of traditional tunes, and no novelty songs, no matter how much you like Bruce Springsteen’s cover of ”Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” or Elmo and Patsy’s ”Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” I’ll start you off with some of my favorites — several of which, it turns out, are compiled on the album Rock N’ Roll Christmas:
”Father Christmas,” The Kinks
”Christmas in Hollis,” Run-DMC (above)
”Christmas Wrappin,” The Waitresses
”Happy Xmas (War is Over),” John Lennon
”2000 Miles,” The Pretenders
”Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” U2
”Merry Christmas Baby,” Chuck Berry
”Step Into Christmas,” Elton John
”Fairytale of New York,” the Pogues
”Christmas,” The Who
Which other holiday hits belong on this list?