‘Rocking out’ under the Christmas tree

Joe Shearer

It seems the older we get, the more we long to recreate those magical feelings with which we were filled each Christmas morning-when the only thing that mattered was if our parents fulfilled our toy-store dreams. (For me, it was usually the latest Nerf gun.) By junior high, the innocence was fading. The list you used to put so much care into was under attack from outside forces, for instance, the wonder if that crush in your class felt the same way about you.

Little may have changed since, but when I want to go back to another place, I dig around and find some tunes that have a time-travel quality to them. So, before I depart and flee the state for my internship, consider this list my parting gift to you.

(P.S. If your picks aren’t here, you were probably naughty. Sorry.)

The Classics

1. Bing Crosby-Try to forget that rumor you heard about him beating his kids with bags of oranges so he wouldn’t leave bruises. This guy pretty much invented the Christmas pop song.

Recommended tunes: “White Christmas,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

NOTE: In all honesty, I’d highly recommend every song on Crosby’s many Christmas albums.

2. Frank Sinatra

Recommended tunes: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland”

3. Nat King Cole-Six words: chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Recommended tune: “The Christmas Song”

The Oldies

4. Brenda Lee

Recommended tune: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

5. Bobby Helms

Recommended tune: “Jingle Bell Rock”

6. Chuck Berry-There are few artists you can identify by an opening guitar intro. Even when he’s doing the Christmas thing, Berry is one of those artists.

Recommended tune: “Run Rudolph Run”

7. The Drifters-Who can forget this group’s rendition of a classic, when Macaulay Culkin slaps the aftershave on his cheeks? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Recommended tune: “White Christmas”

8. Jimmy Beaumont

Recommended tune: “You’re My Christmas Present”

9. The O’Jays

Recommended tune: “Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without the One You Love)”

The Soundtracks

10. Vince Gualardi-That lonely, jazzy, piano-driven score in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” made Charlie Brown and Linus more than just cartoon characters; it made them human.

Recommended tunes: The entire “A Charlie Brown Christmas” album

11. John Williams-After composing some of the most beloved scores of all time – “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jaws,” “E.T.” – the man tried his hand at a children’s Christmas flick. And boy did it work.

Recommended tunes: Both “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” soundtracks

The Punk Rock

12. The Ramones-These guys never sugar-coated anything-even when it came to the holidays. Hopefully, this doesn’t describe you and your loved ones.

Recommended tune: “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”

13. The Pogues-The founders of Irish punk created what probably could’ve been a mainstream hit with Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s lovely duet.

Recommended tune: “Fairytale of New York”

14. The Vandals

Recommended tune: “Oi to the World”

The Soon-To-Be Classics

15. Chris Isaak-When good old-fashioned rockabilly meets snowy weather and holiday cheer, good things happen.

Recommended tunes: The entire “Chris Isaak Christmas” album

16. Brian Setzer Orchestra

Recommended tunes: “Dig That Crazy Christmas” and “Boogie Woogie Christmas” albums

17. The Raveonettes-On the noisy side, but always charming, the Danish duo delivered late last month what should be a local favorite (“Christmas in Cleveland”).

Recommended tunes: The entire “Wishing You a Rave Christmas” EP and “The Christmas Song” (a different one)

18. Nicole Atkins

Recommended tune: “Blue Christmas”

19. Weezer-You might have to dig around for this one.

Recommended tune: “The Christmas Song” (yet another different one)

The Guilty Pleasures

20. Mariah Carey-It might be a stretch to recommend her entire Christmas catalogue, but there’s at least one song you can’t deny.

Recommended tune: “All I Want For Christmas is You”

21. Wham!-Is an explanation really necessary?

Recommended tune: “Last Christmas”

22. Alvin and the Chipmunks-Yes, they’re annoying. Yes, you’ll probably never admit you like them. But there’s unfortunately an addictive quality about those pesky, high-pitched-singing rodents.

Recommended tune: “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)

Contact all reporter Joe Shearer at [email protected].