Tag Archives: Alternative Christmas Music

TBT Vinyl: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Chance, 1980

26 May


Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Warner Bros


Great album by the band that does Springsteen songs better than Springsteen. It features Bruce’s “For You” with vocals by Chris Thompson and Trevor Rabin on lead guitar.



TBT Vinyl: David Bowie and Bing Crosby, Peace on Earth

19 Nov

bowie bing 2

David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy
1977, released 1982
RCA Records


Surreal television. Weird team-up in entertainment. Perfect musical moment.


In 1977 glam rocker David Bowie appeared as a guest on Bing’s long-running annual Christmas TV special, and they sang a duet after an awkward scripted setup. The song was a medley of “Peace On Earth” with the standard “Little Drummer Boy”.

Bing died a month after this was recorded, and a month prior to the airing of the TV special.  The song was finally released as a single in 1982. Also that year, MTV added the clip to its rotation as a stand-alone video.

After decades of forgettable holiday TV specials and variety shows with uninspired duets with artists from different genres, this performance stands out. At first you may think it’s due to the shock factor of the pairing: it’s the tiny point on the Venn Diagram where The Golden Age of Hollywood overlaps with Modern Rock. But shock value alone doesn’t hold it up this long. Two great voices do. 












Modern Rock Christmas: JD McPherson “Twinkle Little Christmas Lights”

18 Dec
JD McPherson on The Tonight Show

JD McPherson on The Tonight Show


Sometimes when you hear newly-written Christmas songs, you end up thinking, “man, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to.” But Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s new favorite son JD McPherson is here to prove that wrong. See, this little white dude who sings like Little Richard DOES make ’em like they used to. And without any ironic, cooler-than-you sensibilities. Nope, this guy and his band (notably including bassist and musical director Jimmy Sutton) nail their vintage sound so well, you actually just feel like you’re listening to the greatest 1950’s album you’ve never heard.  One review of his record said it was “engineered to renew your faith in rock’n’roll” and that is dead-on.

And while you are busy having your faith renewed in rock’n’roll, why not multi-task and have it renewed in newly-penned Christmas songs. This one takes a little something old, a little something new, adds some warm feelings and some holiday cheer, and comes out of the oven with my favorite track of the season. Merry Christmas.


Thanks to Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Michael Hodgin for today’s guest post!

%d bloggers like this: