The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



There’s a surprising amount of good Christmas hard rock music available out there – many artists including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canned Heat, Bob Dylan and so on who have released dedicated Christmas albums.


Gary Hoey has several volumes of guitar instrumentals available (“Ho Ho Hoey”), and ex-Stray Cat rockabilly twanger Brian Setzer’s Orchestra likewise, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra have several concept albums on festive themes.


There is no shortage of softer rocking compilations and individual single releases either, featuring artists as diverse as Queen, Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora through to The Darkness’s wacky “Christmas Time (Don’t let the bells end)”.


Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting…

Twisted Sister – Twisted Christmas, 2006



1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
3. White Christmas
4. I'll Be Home for Christmas
5. Silver Bells
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
7. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
8. Deck the Halls
9. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
10. Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas)


Twisted Sister blast the doors off it on this collection of Christmas favourites, and the garishly made up ones seize every opportunity to include elements of their trademark sound throughout. ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ chugs along to the tune of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, and best of all, ‘Heavy Metal Christmas’ sends themselves up wonderfully (“three studded belts, two pairs of spandex pants, and a tattoo of Ozzy”!!).


Billy Idol – Happy Holidays, 2006



1. Frosty The Snowman
2. Silver Bells
3. Happy Holiday
4. Merry Christmas Baby
5. White Christmas
6. Here Comes Santa Claus
7. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
8. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
9. Let It Snow
10. Winter Wonderland
11. Run Rudolph Run
12. Blue Christmas
13. Jingle Bell Rock
14. Christmas Love
15. O' Christmas Tree
16. Silent Night
17. Auld Lang Syne


Billy croons like Bing Crosby on this collection of holiday favourites, and pulls it off pretty damned well. ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Let It Snow’ are jaunty singalongs, though a faithful reading of ‘White Christmas’, whilst lively, would have been more interesting if it included at least a snippet of his megahit ‘White Wedding’ – “It’s a nice day, for a White Christmas”, anyone?


JETHRO TULL – The Christmas Album, 2003



1. Birthday Card at Christmas
2. Holly Herald (Instrumental)
3. A Christmas Song
4. Another Christmas Song
5. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Instrumental)
6. Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow
7. Last Man at the Party
8. Weathercock
9. Pavane (Instrumental)
10. First Snow on Brooklyn
11. Greensleeved (Instrumental)
12. Fire at Midnight
13. We Five Kings (Instrumental)
14. Ring Out Solstice Bells
15. Bouree (Instrumental)
16. A Winter Snowscape (Instrumental)


Ian Anderson and co collect songs new and old, instrumentals & otherwise for this homage to the festive season. Concentrating mostly on Tull’s softer side with medieval and pastoral influences a plenty, this is a wonderful flute-filled romp, and the absence of most of the more “traditional” Christmas carols makes it a more obscure choice for musicologists.


REO Speedwagon – Not So Silent Christmas, 2009


1. The First Noel
2. Winter Wonderland
3. Silent Night
4. Deck The Halls
5. Little Drummer Boy
6. The White Snows Of Winter
7. Angels We Have Heard On High
8. Children Go Where I Send Thee
9. I'll Be Home For Christmas
10. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
11. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
12. Blue Christmas
13. Joy To The World
14. Sleigh Ride
15. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
16. I Believe In Santa Claus


Speedwagon weigh in with this soft rock album with touches of gospel and their trademark lush arrangements make it a pleasant romp throughout.



1. All I Want - Styx
2. Christmas In Your Arms - Felix Cavaliere
3. I Believe In Santa Claus - REO Speedwagon
4. Everybody Loves Christmas - Eddie Money
5. All I Want For Christmas - John Waite
6. I Believe In Father Christmas - Greg Lake
7. Christmas Is Here - Survivor
8. Santa's Lament - Father Guido Sarducci
9. Silent Night - Keith Emerson
10. 12 Days Of Christmas - Tommy Shaw
11. Mary (The Return From Calvary) - Mark Farner


ELP, Styx and other soft rockers chime the Christmas bells on this collection, though it doesn’t hold the interest for the full duration – a good one for background music while the family gets together to exchange gifts and break bread, perhaps.


We Wish You A Metal Xmas (And A Headbanging New Year), 2008



1. Run Rudolph Run (Lemmy / Billy F. Gibbons / Dave Grohl)
2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Alice Cooper / John 5 / Billy Sheehan / Vinny Appice)
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Ronnie James Dio / Tony Iommi / Rudy Sarzo / Simon Wright)
4. Little Drummer Boy (Doug Pinnick / George Lynch / Billy Sheehan / Simon Phillips
5. Santa Claus Is Back In Town (Tim "Ripper" Owens / Steve Morse / Juan Garcia / Marco Mendoza / Vinny Appice)
6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Tommy Shaw / Steve Lukather / Marco Mendoza / Kenny Aronoff)
7. Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer (Stephen Pearcy / Billy Sheehan / Greg Bissonette)
8. Rocking Round the Xmas Tree (Joe Lynn Turner / Bruce Kulick / Rudy Sarzo / Simon Wright)
9. Silent Night (Chuck Billy / Scott Ian / Jon Donais / Chris Wyse / John Tempesta / Geoff Tate)
10. Silver Bells (Jeff Scott Soto / Carlos Cavazo / James Lomenzo / Ray Luzier)11. Deck the Halls (Oni Logan / Craig Goldy / Tony Franklin / John Tempesta)
11. We Wish You A Merry Xmas (Mark Slaughter / Doug Aldrich / Chris Wyse / Ray Luzier)

Alternate, deluxe version


1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Chris Wyse, Ray Luzier)
2. Run Rudolph Run (Lemmy, Billy Gibbons, Dave Grohl)
3. Santa Claws Is Coming To Town (Alice Cooper, John 5, Billy Sheehan, Vinny Appice)
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright)
5. Silver Bells (Geoff Tate, Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo, Ray Luzier)
6. Little Drummer Boy (Doug Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan, Simon Phillips)
7. Santa Claus Is Back In Town (Tim Ripper Owens, Steve Morse, Juan Garcia, Marco Mendoza, Vinny Appice)
8. Silent Night (Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse, John Tempesta)

9. Deck The Halls (Oni Logan, Craig Goldy, Tony Franklin, John Tempesta)
10. Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer (Stephen Pearcy, Tracii Guns, Bob Kulick, Billy Sheehan, Greg Bissonette)
11. Rocking Round The Xmas Tree (Joe Lynn Turner, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright)
12. Happy Xmas [War Is Over] (Tommy Shaw, Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, Kenny Aronoff)

Disc: 2
1. O Christmas Tree (Doro Pesch, Michael Schenker, Tony Franklin, Frankie Banali)
2. Auld Lang Syne (Girlschool)
3. Frosty The Snowman (Steve Lips Kudlow, Bumblefoot, Chris Chaney, Kenny Aronoff)
4. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (Dez Fafara, Doug Aldrich, Blasko, John Tempesta)


This is a metal antidote to the mindless elevator muzak we’ve all been subjected to over too many Christmases – metal & hard rock luminaries such as Alice Cooper, the late great Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy, Tony Iommi, George Lynch and many more present their take on some classic festive tracks guaranteed to piss off your Nana – the special 2 disc edition doubly so!

We Wish You A Hairy Christmas, 2003


1. Father Christmas – Warrant
2. Naughty Naughty Xmas – Danger Danger
3. Happy Holiday – Enuff Z’Nuff
4. Run Run Rudolph – L.A. Guns
5. Everyday Should Be Like Christmas - Bulletboys
6. Jingle Bell Rock – Stevie Rachelle
7. Won't Be Home For Xmas – Every Mother’s Nightmare
8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Gilby Clarke
9. Happy Family – Pretty Boy Floyd
10. Santa's Back In Town – Roxx Gang
11. Silent Night – Taime Downe

The best Sunset Strip collection of holiday songs, “We Wish You A Hairy Christmas” rocks hard from start to finish, with Danger Danger taking the honours for best on show.


Shane Pinnegar

December 25, 2010