Morning Music: Christmas Songs You Won’t Like

Vera LynnIn many ways, I am a vicious person. I thought it would be fun to do a week a Christmas songs. In general, I hate Christmas songs. And I could, if I wanted, try to find those Christmas songs that I actually like. But it seems like more fun to torture you.

Now that doesn’t mean that I’m going to try to present horrible songs. But I’m not going to shy away from them. And that brings us to today’s song, “The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot.” It’s one of those songs that people like because they get it. I distinctly remember liking the song when I was ten years old because it made me feel clever. Plus: it is a real tearjerker. Now I just feel vaguely embarrassed that the song would manipulate me both intellectually and emotionally. It’s worse than Beaches.

It was written by the Michael Carr, Tommie Connor, and Jimmy Leach. I can’t find any information about Leach, but the other two are well know British songwriters. Carr wrote the title tune in the 1939 Gene Autry’s vehicle, South of the Border. But I suspect the preciousness of this song comes to us from Connor who wrong the similarly sly, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” And I might run that song, which I actually like.

“The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot” is probably best known to Americans as a Nat King Cole song. But it’s a bit too hip for such a sappy song. What’s more, it has that horrible spoken word center that makes me want to pull out my hair. So we are going to go with the first big recording of it by Vera Lynn.

It’s a nice version with exactly the kind of accompaniment that we expect from “The Forces’ Sweetheart.” She really is amazing. She has the ability to perform trite nonsense as though it were Homer.

17 thoughts on “Morning Music: Christmas Songs You Won’t Like

  1. “I’m so sorry for that laddie, he hasn’t got a daddy!” Brilliant. Although at 10, if I’d heard this, I would have gone “you lucky fucker.”

    You hate Christmas songs! What’s wrong with you! Christmas songs are the only tolerable thing about Christmas. As Norm noted, the Vince Guaraldi music from “Charlie Brown” is terrific. The lyrics are good, too. “Christmastime is here.” Then, much darker: “Happiness and cheer.”

    But screw modern Christmas music. The best Christmas music is the ancient shit. “What Child Is This” repurposing “Greensleeves” and that sort. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” has a Guaraldi-worthy creepy chorus, “oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.” Doesn’t sound very joyful, and that’s what makes it great.

    Why don’t you like “Good King Wenceslas?” That’s about compassion for the poor, I think.

    “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” is “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” for an earlier age. I’ll grant you, that song sucks, excepting the strange turn on “five gooolden riings!”

    Christmas clips.

    You know Tom Lehrer’s “A Christmas Carol.” So no point linking to that. But have you seen Christopher Hitchens, drunk off his ass, singing it horribly? Maybe not! So here’s that. It epitomizes both the arrogant asshole Hitchens, and the fun side of the guy many were drawn to:

    And, of course, “Much Worse Things To Believe In.” Amazingly, this song has been deleted from YouTube. But it’s on something called Vimeo:

    I didn’t realize the Pogues had a very professional-looking video made for “Fairytale Of New York.” Kirsty MacColl died way too young.

    “Happy Christmas, your ass, I pray God it’s our last” will always make me smile.

    I won’t suggest horrible Christmas songs. Those are way too easy to find, and I want no part of being the person suggesting them. You fire away. Bring it! I can take “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and whatever else you got!

    • Well, next year I’m going to have you do Christmas week!

      I didn’t say I hate all Christmas songs. I said that I generally did. Most of them are terrible. But there are a lot of good ones. I even like this one, despite itself. And the next couple are rather good. I think. I’m writing in a very chaotic way. That’s a nice duet with Costello and Colbert. That is a great Pogues song, of course.

    • Challenge is accepted. Have yourself a little Mariah Carey!

      But otherwise I really don’t pay much attention to Christmas songs. I know the standards, I like the ones from the Three Tenors and otherwise don’t care but I will buy any Nine Inch Nails Christmas album because Reznor’s take on the classics will be a hoot.

    • I love that song so much. Ray Davies in inspired mode is such a genius. He wasn’t inspired all the time, but man, when he was!

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