Tag Archives: Christmas Videos

Christmas Songs of the 80s and 90s

17 Dec

Waitresses Christmas Wrapping

Any pop band from the 80s or 90s could have achieved immortality by doing one thing that most of the others didn’t:

Write and record a Christmas song.

30 years after a one-hit-wonder’s success faded, their one-hit would be relegated to some lunar rotation on a niche genre satellite radio station. It will rarely, if ever, get downloaded, streamed, or even remembered fondly.

But their holiday song will still be a staple for 6 weeks per year for all eternity. It will have people who didn’t even like the band back in the day singing along. And more importantly, people who weren’t even born yet will make this part of their annual must-hear oldies.

Case in point: The Waitresses

The Waitresses hit the New Wave scene in 1980 and eeked-out a minor hit, “I Know What Boys Like,” upon its re-release in 1982. Though it was in heavy rotation on MTV in ’82, it only reached #62 on the Billboard charts.

square pegs johnny slashThey also recorded the TV theme to Square Pegs thought it wasn’t a hit at all. (“It was a totally different head. Totally.”)

But how often are either of these songs heard? Not much compared to The Waitresses’ one holiday tune, “Christmas Wrapping.”  It was not a hit record, never even entering the charts in the US. But 35 years later, the song has somehow scored a top spot in everyone’s holiday song rotation. In the first week of this year’s Sirius XM’s annual Holly station, I heard it 3 times in 3 days. Or at least the first 30 seconds of it, which is usually juuuuuust enough for me.

Look at the one-hit download wonders of today. Who will still be heard 30 years from now? The ones with a Christmas song…

MTV Christmas Videos 1981 – 1986

19 Dec

MTV Christmas

During MTV’s golden age of 1981 through 1986, an annual tradition was the low-budget, slapped together, in-studio Christmas video! Let’s take a look…

  

Billy Squire “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You” 1981

This was the first MTV Christmas video and arguably the best of the songs. The video itself could be replicated now with the phone in your pocket. It set the trend of featuring the MTV staff, most of whom look really high. I think there was a White Christmas in the MTV offices in 1981!

The video set a nice precedent for having A-list artists involved in these MTV-produced projects. Squire was huge at the time, a veritable one-man Led Zeppelin reborn. But that would end in just a couple of years, ironically when his “Rock Me Tonight “ video on MTV killed his rock credibility in less than 5 minutes.

 

 

Joe King Carrasco “It’s a Party Christmas” 1982

This song is truly awful. It’s not only the worst Christmas song of the Modern Rock Era, but is in the running for the worst song EVER. I’ve tried to like it for years in the spirit of being such a fan of the genre. But, c’mon, this sucks. I am embedding the video below, but do yourself a favor and DON’T watch it.

 

 

George Thorogood “Rock n Roll Christmas” 1983

Unfortunately this video has been pulled from YouTube. C’mon Lonesome George, really?

 

 

Bryan Adams “Reggae Christmas” 1984

By ’84 the budgets were bigger and Pee-Wee Herman showed up. Somehow this give us Canadian Reggae. Yeah, mon, eh?

 

 

 

Jon Anderson “Three Ships” 1985

This is 90125 – era YES lead singer Jon Anderson. It’s indescribable;  just watch.

 

 

Monkees “Christmas Medley” 1986

Sixties nostalgia reigned supreme in 1986, culminating this part of the Monkees’ comeback. The Monkees were one of the biggest bands of 1986 and capped the year with this video that officially reunited Mike Nesmith with the other boys. Spoiler! He’s in the Santa suit. 

And there’s the circle of life for MTV: Nesmith, whose PopClips videos were an inspiration for MTV’s creation appears at the very end of the golden age of MTV via this Christmas video. Within a year, new owner Viacom would gut MTV and begin replacing music with reality shows and other nonsense.

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