Rock & roll Christmas songs are as old as rock itself. These 10 great holiday numbers balance the season's heady sentimentality with a taste of true grit.
''Merry Christmas Baby'' Charles Brown (1946).
An R&B standard: ''I haven't had a drink this morning/But I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree.''
'''Zat You, Santa Claus'' Louis Armstrong and the Commanders
Satchmo, transformed into a Santa-searching kid.
''White Christmas'' The Drifters (1954).
''Run Rudolph Run'' Chuck Berry (1958).
''Johnny B. Goode'' meets ''Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.''
''Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'' John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the
Harlem Community Choir (1971).
Wishful and overwrought, but heart-tugging all the same.
''Christmas Wrapping'' The Waitresses (1981).
A bouncy, ultimately touching rap about big-city love.
''2000 Miles'' The Pretenders (1983).
A rippling lonely-at-Christmas hymn, conveying genuine feeling without hokey sleighbells.
''Another Lonely Christmas'' Prince (1984).
Synthesizer hysterics, Grand Guignol vocals, baroque emotions.
''Santa Claus Is Coming to Town'' Bruce Springsteen and the E
Street Band (1985).
Brawling holiday rocker.
''Christmas in Hollis'' Run-D.M.C. (1987).
Middle-class holiday contentment rap-style.