Christmas is coming and, like it or not, the Christmas music is unavoidable. We've written about some of the best examples before, here and here. So this year, we're going local. Here are 10 holiday songs with a strong L.A. connection. 'Tis the season, after all.
1. Killers, "Christmas in L.A."
Yeah, the Killers are a Vegas band, but it would be all kinds of wrong to ignore this 2013 song, which featured the additional talents of Dawes (as well as actors Owen Wilson and Harry Dean Stanton in the video), about how lonely the holidays can be here when you’re struggling to make your dreams come true but feel like you’re treading water.
2. Dickies, "Silent Night" (also Faster Pussycat)
Both L.A. punk stalwarts The Dickies and sleazy hair-metal clubbers Faster Pussycat had a go at this most traditional and beloved of Christmas carols. And, to be fair, both are a blast. The Dickies’ version is typically snotty, hyper-punk, while Pussycat’s is a glorious glam-industrial mess.
3. Bad Religion, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"
A surprisingly faithful rendition of another trad tune, at least until about halfway through when the band kicks off with the speedy riffs and the whole thing goes crazy. Frontman Greg Graffin was a choir singer in his youth, so he proves more than adept at crooning on a song like this.
4. The Vandals, "Oi to the World"
Taken from the holiday-themed album of the same name, and later covered by friends No Doubt for the A Very Special Christmas 3 album, “Oi to the World” tells the heart-warming story of Haji the punk and Trevor the racist skinhead getting into a fight on Christmas Eve when Trev objects to Haji’s sweet guitar noise. Haji, armed with a sword, does some major damage to Trevor, but when Haji uses his turban to bandage the white supremacist, they make friends and drink liquor together. It’s a true Christmas miracle, played out over a classic, anthemic Oi! Melody.
5. Fear, "Fuck Christmas"
Nobody does furious angst in these parts quite like Lee Ving. Fear’s “Fuck Christmas” begins like a moody ballad before the repeated refrain of the title. It really is the antidote for those who are simply sick of the music, movies and lights that are everywhere.
6. Warrant, "Father Christmas"
Arguably the most bubble-gum of the ’80s Sunset Strip hair bands, even singer Jani Lane was sick of singing international mega-hit “Cherry Pie” by the time he died in 2011. But Warrant were undeniably great fun, and this hard-rock “Father Christmas” is delightful.
7. L.A. Guns, "Run Run Rudolph"
This version of the song written by Johnny Marks and made popular by Chuck Berry sees L.A. Guns going all rockabilly, and having a great time doing it. It should be noted that the sadly deceased Hollywood resident Lemmy Kilmister also covered this one, alongside Dave Grohl and Billy Gibbons.
8. Eazy-E, "Merry Muthafuckin’ Xmas"
"The badass Eazy-E was drinking whiskey and gin at the age of 3," according to this merry yuletide ditty. Definitely not safe for work, the tune essentially sees the much-missed E spouting all sorts of filth over Christmas classics. It was destined to be a dorm-room classic the minute it exited the studio. But be warned — this is the sort of stuff that will plant you firmly on the naughty list.
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9. Snoop Dogg, "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto"
There’s really nothing quite like hearing Snoop and his Death Row friends waxing lyrical about jolly old Saint Nick and other holiday themes. Unlike Eazy-E, this one covers traditional themes — they just happen to be covered in a fresh way.
10. Demi Lovato, "I’ll Be Home for Christmas"
Nobody ever needs to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” again, but it is occasionally nice to hear a female pop star crooning a family favorite. Lovato does a fine job here.