I’m Still Finishing the Book, So Here’s a Picture of a Cat, Plus Another Question

Sugar enjoys laying on me while I’m trying to type. It’s adorable, but also makes the typing just a little bit slower.

Today’s audience participatory question whilst I am furiously typing:

If you could have one musical artist cover a particular holiday song, which artist and song would it be?

NOTE: This is for holiday song versions that do not already exist, so far as you know.

Mine: Alison Moyet, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Yours? Put it in the comments!

114 Comments on “I’m Still Finishing the Book, So Here’s a Picture of a Cat, Plus Another Question”

  1. Quick notes:

    1. Again, thread is for holiday song versions that to the best of your knowledge don’t exist, but you would love if they did.

    2. Please have this thread for song suggestions only; don’t post off-topic things or post to criticize other people’s choices. Let’s have a fun thread, please.

    2a. Comments about the cat are okay too. Because, cat.

    (Also, it’s okay if you pick a song and/or artist that someone else has already picked — there are lots of variations possible!)

  2. I apologize in advance, but this just popped in my head (probably because the song just played on the radio here at work). I’d like to hear Andrea Bocelli’s version of “Snoopy’s Christmas,” or for that matter, any other novelty Christmas song.

  3. Disturbed -Little Drummer Boy. Actually, I want them to cover all the Christmas classics but I’ll settle for this song first.

  4. Fleet Foxes covering The Christmas Song, although if they really did it their way, they’d make it a sort of blended medley with Silent Night or something like that.

  5. For years, I have been looking for “killing me softly” by someone that sounds like the haunting voice in Portishead. And the song redone in a minor key. If anyone knows of such a thing, please, Im begging you, post it here.


    Holiday cover song? Probably Digital Underground (Humpty Dance) doing Twas the night before christmas, rap style.

  6. Oh Holy Night by the Grateful Dead. Actually, any Christmas song by the Dead, if only to hear Jerry play one more time again.

  7. Every December when I was growing up, I hoped that would be the year N.W.A. released “Fear of a White Christmas.”

  8. Ooh… wasn’t going to contribute, because I couldn’t think of anything good, but then I saw KellyandGeoff’s suggestion of KD singing “O Holy Night”… just wanted to add another vote for that. Maybe if we asked her?

  9. I would want to hear Brian Eno do Twelve Days of Christmas, all (12^2 + 12)/2 recitations of the numbers, but at the tempo of airport ambient music, so it takes about 18 hours.

  10. “What Child Is This?” (“Greensleeves”), covered by Sade. Or Bonnie Tyler. Or, now that I think about it, Bonnie Raitt.

    I ‘third’ the KD Lang “Oh Holy Night”. What a great idea.

  11. I would love for the ladies of First Aid Kit to cover “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “O Holy Night”, or, less traditionally, John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison”.

  12. I would like Dave Goelz in the voice of The Great Gonzo to do a whole album of Christmas songs. And could I please have Richard Hunt, who has unfortunately long ago passed away, amongst the chorus.

  13. Jimmi Hendrix — O, Holy Night (for my dad) For me? Disturbed doing All I Want for Christmas (Because I’m a bit… uh… disturbed — and my 7yo is missing both front teeth right now.)

  14. Mary J Blige with U2, rerecording Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – her version of One is utterly delightful.

    Love the idea of Die Toten Hosen doing We Three Kings – maybe they could also take on Christmas All Over Again (then again, that’s Tom Petty and I’m not sure you can improve on Tom Petty)

  15. Tom Waits doing “Last Christmas.”
    (To go along with my ultimate cover wish, which is Tom Waits doing “Careless Whisper.”

  16. Die Antwoord covering Baby It’s Cold Outside. Must be a video, not just sound. Just because . . ., why not?

    Squirrel Nut Zippers covering Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Not likely to compete with Lou Rawl’s version, my favorite, but I bet it would be good.

  17. I would like to hear my parents, live, singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”, with James Galway on flute doing instrumental bridges. Because we used to sing it together (without James Galway), and they both died 20 years ago and I miss them. (Yes, I just messed with the question. Not sorry.)

  18. E. Power Biggs, Carol of the Bells.

    Can that even be done on a pipe-organ? Dunno, but if it can, then he’s the one to do it right.

  19. I have three –
    Sara Bareilles doing a Judy Garland level mournful Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Because I love Sara Bareilles and that song is supposed to be mournful – watch Meet Me In St. Louis, people!

    I would like to hear what Loreena McKinnett would do with O Come O Come Emmanuel.

    And lastly, I would like to see Nathan Lane record Count Your Blessings.

  20. Maybe it’s a generation thing, but shouldn’t the verb be “perform” instead of “cover”? (I keep having this conversation with people who take Dylan as the model for the working musician. Neither Louis Armstrong and His All Stars nor the New York Philharmonic is a “cover band.”) /End geezer grumble.

    Oh, I almost forgot–Tennessee Ernie Ford and “Deck Us All with Boston Charlie.”

  21. I’d love a whole Christmas album from Rihanna and Eminem. Songs to include: “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, “Silver Bells”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “Silent Night”, and “Jingle Bell Rock”

  22. I’ve always wished nine inch nails would do a Christmas album. If I had to choose one song from nin, though, it would be Away in the Manger.

  23. Alex Boye, “Carol of the Bells”. Y’all go to Youtube and listen to his “Little Drummer Boy”, watch the dancing too, it’s glorious.

    I’d like to hear Alexander James Adams take on “Carol of the Bells” too, come to that. His “We Three Kings” is on Bandcamp and it’s the most haunting thing. Reverent. (If that matters to you. Being as I’m not Christian, I’m not clear on why it matters to me!)

  24. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – O Little Star of Bethlehem.

    I’d also really love to hear a Paul and Storm take on Twelve Days of Christmas. Of course, if they did it before a live audience it would probably take all twelve days of Christmas for them to get through it. :-)

  25. David Bowie or Sting singing “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”. Sounds bizarre, I know, but it seems appropriate.

    Re cat picture: Yes, I see Sugar making a frankly adorable nuisance of herself–it made me smile!

  26. Dear John,

    The duo of Tony Bennett and Madonna (soooo good!) covering Michael Franks’s “Said the Snowflake” or “Watching the Snow” …

    or, really, covering anything on Franks’s “Watching the Snow” album.

    Best. Xmas. Album. Ever.

    pax / Ctein

  27. All of them. Doing covers of John Cage’s 4’33” of silence. Consecutively. On all radio stations.

    Though Abney Park’s versions of 12 days and baby it’s cold outside are quite fun.

  28. for the lols: I second Tennessee Ernie Ford (or Weird Al Yankovic for you young’uns) and “Deck Us All with Boston Charlie.” I constantly wonder how Walt Kelly would have drawn Donald Trump. A walrus?

    Prince doing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. would probably be the raunchiest version ever.

    More in the spirit of the season: Since someone mentioned Maddy Prior, how about Steeleye
    Span doing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting and all that) as a jig?

  29. Joy Division: Silver Bells
    Talking Heads: It’s a Marshmallow World. (Maybe Devo would be better for that).
    Capt. Beefheart: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

    Upthread: I have a ridiculous obsession with holiday music and buy it every year when it shows up in the sale bins – the weirder the better. I actually have a cut of Sting doing “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In” on a promotional disc with a ton of other musicians doing great stuff (Enya singing Silent Night in Welsh, I think, No Doubt doing Oi to the World, etc.). I also have another disc with a cut by Flaming Lips doing “A Change at Christmas” which is a beautiful, original song.

  30. Prince. Doing any song that he wanted as:
    a) He was sooooo talented he could make any song Christmassy (and funky).
    b) He would still be alive (boo sucks 2017).

  31. Postmodern Jukebox doing Rockin Around the Christmas Tree,
    or maybe,
    Daft Punk doing Blue Christmas.

  32. Lamb of God – Another Christmas

    The original version of this song is on The Yobs Christmas Album.

  33. Gogol Bordello doing “God Rest Ye,” “We three Kings,” or pretty much any carol in a minor key.
    (And to Ken Baker: LOVE the suggestion of an 18-hour Brian Eno version of “12 Days…” Brilliant!)

  34. not a holiday song but i’ve always wanted to hear tom waits sing as time goes by (CASABLANCA SONG)

  35. The Cocteau Twins doing Frosty the Snowman! The Dickies doing Silent Night! Fear doing F*ck Christmas! Oh wait, those are real.

    How about every Xmas catalog song done by John Cage in the style of 4’33”? After a lifetime of working retail, I hate all Xmas music done by anyone who doesn’t hate it too. A truly silent night works for me.

  36. I like Lisa’s idea of Disturbed and The Little Drummer Boy, but would also like to hear that covered by someone like Ivan Rebroff.
    I only have one cat that likes to sit on me when I’m at my desk — but it’s the Maine Coon…

  37. Lady Gaga, anything that requires her to use her natural voice to belt it out. That woman has some serious chops!

  38. ACK! I wrote “Tony Bennett and Madonna” earlier. I meant Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, of course!

  39. The one I’d like to hear covered is “Jolly Old Christmas Time” (originally by Weddings Parties Anything), and I’ll accept any Australian artist covering it, or indeed all of them at once – Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue leading the respective masculine and feminine choruses would be a neat little fillip. Mostly because it’s a beautiful and realistic song about a modern Australian Christmas, and I suffer from the understandable PTSD of ten years working in retail.

    (Do not play “winter solstice songs” at me at this season, or I will do my level best to strand you in the middle of an Australian shopping centre car park with a shipping anchor tied to each ankle.)

    Failing that, I’ll take a collection of Aussie seventies and eighties pub rockers (Jimmy Barnes and the remaining members of Cold Chisel; the surviving members of AC/DC; the surviving members of Skyhooks, the Angels, Australian Crawl, Men At Work, et cetera and so on) performing a version of “the Boar’s Head Carol”, because it’s a university undergraduate carol about food and feasting and the other joys of the season.

  40. The Dwarves cover We Three Kings.

    The Dwarves because they’re incredibly loud and offensive and I hate Christmas. The song because it really doesn’t matter and was the first one I could think of.

    / Bah humbug.

  41. I would love to here Amanda Palmer sing Mary Did You Know. After her Bowie Tribute, I think she would give it a nice, powerful spin.

  42. I am going to add another vote for Lisa Watson’s suggestion of Disturbed doing The Little Drummer Boy.
    On the goofy side I was also thinking about The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo performing Stan Freberg’s Green Christmas.
    I would also like to hear Steam Powered Giraffe do something of their choosing. They do great harmonies.

  43. The group I’d like to cover ‘The Carol of the Bells’ would be Blue Man Group.

    I’d also like the group Within Temptation to cover ‘Silent Night’ and / or ‘Adeste Fideles’. Side Note:I read about this group when Molly Metcalf recommended them in Simon Green’s ‘Man with a Golden Torc.’ I have bought 3 albums since then, plus ‘The Three Goddesses of Metal.’

  44. Marcel Marceau, the Little Tramp, and Harpo Marx doing the entire Ecksmas Repertory. Starting with “Little Drummer Boy” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.” (Disclaimer: Didn’t think of this until after the John Cage suggestions.)

  45. What about Bonnie Tyler, as produced by Jim Steinman, singing “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)?

  46. [Deleted the suggestion was not particularly in the spirit of the thread. Ron, you are welcome to give a more on-point response. Perhaps use actual musicians this time — JS]

  47. This is going to be rather eccentric but… Cecil Baldwin (voice of Cecil Palmer on Welcome to Nightvale) doing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” OK so hear me out, I’d imagine him doing it as more of a spoken word thing, kind of halfway between reading poetry and singing.

  48. The artist has to be Elvis.

    I don’t know about the song, but really he could make anything sound good so does it matter?

  49. I’d love to find an audio recording of the Stephen Colbert – Henry Rollins “Carol of the Bells”

  50. Any one of The Offspring, Green Day or Blink-182 doing The Kinks’ “Father Christmas”.

    And while typing this comment I decided to see if this had already happened. And while Cheap Trick, Bowling For Soup and Man Overboard have done it, I would still like to see one of the above do it as well.

    Props to Galen Bishop for the Type O-Negative “Christmas With the Devil” suggestion.

  51. Tom Jones (whats new pussycat) “up on the rooftop”

    Max Headroom vocals (with Art of Noise playing instruments) doing a cyberpunk version of 12 days of christmas.

    Pharell Williams “sleigh ride with you”

    Collin Hay (Men at Work) “what child is this”

  52. Bo Diddley singing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”, because the words fit to any song Bo Diddley ever recorded:
    Hark, the herald angels sing (Chunk-a-chunk-a-chunk, a-chunk-chunk)
    Glory to the new born king (Chunk-a-chunk-a-chunk, a-chunk-chunk)

  53. @Russell Letson
    My understanding is that whenever a performer or group other than the original artist(s) publishes a version of a song, the verb “cover” is technically correct, whether the performer is a “cover band” or not. The term does not seem to be used in the classical music world.
    [end pedantry]

  54. Steeleye Span doing “The Derby Ram” (May not be strictly a Christmas song, but i first encountered it on _The Second Noel_ by Barrand and Roberts.)
    The Clancy Brothers doing “The Wren Song”
    John Jenson (trombone) doing a collection or medley of holiday classics

  55. On the cat pic: my recently departed grey & white shorthair Lucy used to like to patrol the desk above the keyboard, now and then coming down to add a comment by paw. Unfortunately this blocked my view of the monitor, bringing typing to a halt. That was probably the point, from her POV. (“Why are you typing when you could be adoring me? Silly human!”)

  56. I second a Queen X-mas album. Wonder why they never did any x-mas songs? In the absence of Freddy Mercury, how about Tears for Fears doing some x-mas music.

  57. Alan Parsons Project doing a themed x-mas story, along the lines of Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

  58. Dear Doug B,

    “Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi… “Baby It’s Cold Outside””

    Oh HELL yes!

    Please, Santa, make my wish come true!

    pax / oh-so-good Ctein

  59. Annie Lennox – O Holy Night.

    TBQH I’m kind of astonished this does not appear to already exist.

  60. Okay, off topic but just finished re-reading The Collapsing Empire and your acknowledgements at the end in which you wrote:

    “I am especially grateful to [Tor] because I turned in this book rather later than I intended to […], if I turn in a third book late, I think it would be fair if everyone involved in the production of the book gets to punch me hard in the arm.”

    Dude, you are Sooooo fucked. (Still looking forward to reading the upcoming book).

  61. Pink Martini covering “Fairytale of New York” and the Saw Doctors covering “The Rebel Jesus”