Wayne Olsen: A Record Guy's Favorite Christmas Songs

Wayne Olsen: A Record Guy's Favorite Christmas Songs

I love Christmas music, everything from Messiah to Advent hymns to Phil Spector to Vince Guaraldi to my mom’s Swedish Christmas album.  I mean, I even like that Mariah Carey song!

Being that we’re in between the twin holidays of Black Friday and Boxing Day, this would be a good time to share with you what I feel are some overlooked sugar plums , along with a couple of Yuletide axes I feel I must grind.  By the way, I must give props (to people still say give props yo?) to Mike Fornatale, who has turned me on to so much great Christmas stuff that I never would have known about.  Google him, he’s an amazing musician.  But I digress)

Here are some of the best Christmas songs you probably never heard. 

Wayne Olsen: A Record Guy's Favorite Christmas Songs


“December” by the Waterboys:  The Waterboys were a U2ish eighties band who also spawned the great World Party.  This song from their first album perfectly captures the gloom of the last month and the promise of that night in Bethlehem.


“The Family Coach” by the Lilac Time: This will resonate with anybody who sat in front of the TV watching Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve in 1968.  (sigh)


“Mary’s Boy Child” by Harry Belafonte: Harry’s Christmas album is chockablock full of amazing songs that nobody else ever did.  Maybe because they knew they couldn’t beat him.  This is such a lovely song; it was made into a big Disco hit in 1978 by Boney M.  Humbug.

4.       “Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie: A beautiful sentiment and a fairly humorous song.

5.       “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard:  Roy Wood even LOOKS like Santa Claus.


“Mary Did You Know” by Cee-Lo Green:  This guy’s Christmas album is so great, you need to pick it up and give “Now Christmas 107” a rest.  This song makes me cry every time.  What’s a good holiday without waterworks?

7.       “Star Carol” by Simon and Garfunkel: Columbia I suppose went to all their artists requesting a holiday song that they could put on albums sold at A&P and Shell.  So Paul and Artie did an oh-so-quiet rendition of this song made popular by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

8.       “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by T-Bone Burnett: Yes, you’ve heard the song, but T-Bone does such a fabulous job with it. I met him at NARM a few years ago and I grabbed one of his legs and said “I’m not letting go until you make an entire Christmas album!!!!”  He chuckled as he good-naturedly called for Security.

Songs that make me wish it was January:

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” :The “Grandma” song was sort of cute halfway through the first time I heard it.  “Baby” was a cute fifties novelty hit with Dean Martin and some chick, but now everybody’s putting it on their album.  I recommend that we combine these songs for the sake of brevity.  After spurning the poor guy’s sexual advances, the hot young vixen steps outside and is immediately gored by sixteen antlers. 


Wayne Olsen has worked for three record companies, two of the most influential record retailers in America, and today owns over 1,000 LPs, CDs, and 45s.  Guess you can say he likes music, huh?