It’s that time of year when Christmas lights are going up, presents are being purchased, and Christmas music fills the air.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about Christmas music-ed out. It’s in every store, on the radio, on social media. It’s everywhere. Ringing bells may be nice, but after a while it becomes annoying.
While I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, there are some songs and versions I do enjoy. In the spirit of the holiday, I’ll call this the “Top 12 Carols of Christmas.” So here they are in no particular order.
1. “Silent Night” – Boys II Men / Deliverance
There are many versions of this timeless carol, but this version is the best one I’ve ever heard (sorry, Pentatonix, B2M are far and away better than you’ll ever be).
There is a metal version that I love, too, by Deliverance. In their cover, they use an interesting play off the word “peace”:
2. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby / The Drifters
There are multiple versions by the great crooner, including the one from Holiday Inn, the two versions (war scene and stage performance) from White Christmas, and the studio version. Personally, I like the Holiday Inn duet with Martha Mears (Marjorie Reynolds’ voice was dubbed with Mears’):
I also enjoy The Drifter’s take on this song. A while back, Nick McKaig did an a cappella cover of the Drifter’s cover that is simply amazing.
3. “All I Want For Christmas” – Mariah Carey
Great singer, great song. ‘Nuff said!
For your listening pleasure, you might also take a listen to this song done in 20 different styles by “Ten Second Songs“:
4. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” – Alvin and the Chipmunks
We all know the classic original, and it has that timeless quality I do enjoy, but I prefer the updated rock version:
Speaking of the Chipmunks . . .
5. “Ho Ho Ho” – Alvin and the Chipmunks
I discovered this song in 2015 and loved it! So, it makes my list:
6. “12 Days of Christmas” – Relient K (only their version)
This is song is overdone, overplayed, and over-everything! I can’t stand it . . . except for Relient K’s cover. The chorus alone makes this version worthwhile!
7. “O Holy Night” – BarlowGirl
It seems everyone does an extremely orchestrated, grandiose version of this song (well, except for Steve Mauldin). However, I prefer BarlowGirl’s take on this classic:
8. “The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole
I’m not all hard rock. I actually do enjoy great jazz and swing (especially Glenn Miller‘s work). This song by Nat King Cole is one I enjoy hearing every year.
9. “Winter Wonderland” – Point of Grace / Stryper
Another song that’s been covered countless times. However, I love Point of Grace’s jazz and big band inspired interpretation. In fact, the entire album is worth purchasing!
Of course, I also like hearing Stryper’s take:
10. “Happy XMas (War Is Over)” – John Lennon
While this is a war protest song, it’s also a timeless song calling us to love each other and live at peace. Between the message and the music, I enjoy this song every year.
11. “Carol Of The Bells” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Who doesn’t love heavy metal meets Christmas? Timeless! And did I mention the screaming guitars? Never can go wrong with this one.
12. “Please Come Home For Christmas” – The Eagles
I’m an Eagles fan, I admit it. While I prefer their earlier work with Randy Meisner, I love the bass work of Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit. This song is with the latter.
BONUS TRACKS: Honorable Mentions
Here are a couple songs worth mentioning, but that don’t make my top twelve list.
“O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Gotta love those guitars!
“Angels We Have Heard On High” – VeggieTales
Yes, VeggieTales. This reggae version is probably the one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time.
What songs or version or versions of songs would be in your top 12 list? Do you agree or disagree with this list? Comment below and share to join in the conversation!