From Nat King Cole’s Christmas classic “The Christmas Song” to Mariah Carey’s 90’s pop hit “All I Want for Christmas is You”—there are plenty of overplayed holiday songs that, while enjoyable from time-to-time, can begin to wear on your sanity.
If you’ve had one too many fa’ la’ la’ la’ la’s this month, don’t fret! Here are some lesser-known songs to add to your Christmas mix this year.
‘Rock Around the Christmas Tree’ with these soulful favorites
Ready to break out your dancing shoes this Christmas season? Here are our favorite soulful holiday singles that will have you cutting loose with those you love most.
Louis Armstrong & The Commanders: Zat’ You Santa Claus?
Louis Armstrong, one of the most iconic voices of jazz, delights audiences once again with “Zat’ You Santa Claus?” Find your favorite dancing partner and spin around the dance floor with this fun take on trying to get a peek of Santa on Christmas Eve.
Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby
One listen to this soulful, romantic tune will make it rank as one of your holiday favorites. Otis Redding’s songwriting, the sleighbell percussion throughout, and the sweet lyrics will make you want to snuggle up with your sweetie by a fire.
BB King: “Christmas Comes But Once A Year”
The King of the blues will have your rockin’ once again with “Christmas Comes But Once A Year.” Heavy on the keys and energizing horns in the background, the song will have you singing along, “let the good times roll, because Christmas comes but once a year.”
Koko Taylor: Have You Heard the News?
This song starts off with a bang, telling the news of Santa Claus coming to town. With her powerful, raw vocals, this is, hands down, one of the best Christmas songs in the electric blues genre.
Songs that will make your belly jiggle “like a bowl full of jelly”
Christmas songs can encompass a wide range of emotions, but some songs just make you want to laugh out loud. Here are some favorites that will get you giggling.
Robert Earl Keen: “Merry Christmas from the Family”
To many Robert Earl Keen fans, this is a classic; however, unless you know of him, you probably won’t recognize this Americana hit. During this track, the songwriter sings of things that most of us can relate to—family dysfunction around the holidays.
RuPaul: “Santa Baby”
Ready for a song with some attitude? This fun cover of the Christmas classic takes it to a whole new level with RuPaul making plenty of hilarious side comments throughout such as “that’s right, baby”, and, “mhm, you better run. Run, not walk, honey!” Needless to say, if Santa Baby is one of your Christmas favs, try this version too.
The Dukes of Hazzard: “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
John Schneider (Bo) & Tom Wopat (Luke) of The Dukes of Hazzard will keep you entertained with a jazzy take on “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” Their humorous bond is very apparent onscreen and offscreen as they put a hilarious spin on this wintertime tune.
Bill Barclay: “12 Days of Christmas”
Another sing-along that will have you chuckling aloud is this Scottish singer’s take on the 12 Days of Christmas, only he’s singing about alcohol. Barclay plays at being ever more intoxicated as the song continues on—but is ready for some relief on 12th day.
Not your mama’s Christmas mix
There are plenty of underrated songs that just don’t get enough airplay during the holiday season. But hopefully, with enough listens, we can change that.
Cyndi Lauper: “Christmas Conga”
This 80’s queen of pop shows that “girls just wanna have fun” in her Christmas album, “Merry Christmas, Have a Nice Life.” While you should listen to the whole mix, “Christmas Conga” is particularly fun and will have you nodding along while sipping your eggnog.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “Christmas All Over Again”
Keeping true to their authentic sound, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers created a holiday classic with “Christmas All Over Again.” Tom Petty’s quintessential voice shines throughout this Christmas jingle and it’ll have you smiling amongst the noise and haste of the holiday traffic.
Run-D.M.C.: “Christmas in Hollis”
A Christmas rap is just what you need this holiday season to kick things off and Run-D.M.C. has perfected the art of putting rhymes on top of a nod-inducing beats with “Christmas in Hollis.” This holiday hip-hop classic will have you bobbing your head throughout holiday errands.
John Prine: “Christmas in Prison”
You know a song is going to be good when it starts with “It was Christmas, in prison, and the food was real good.” John Prine is known for his ability to tell stories over simple guitar chords, and that is ever present in his holiday tune, “Christmas in Prison.”
As Los Angeles DJ’s we’re always on the lookout to expand our collection of songs for events, weddings, and more. What are your favorite underrated holiday tunes?
Like our Christmas mix? Follow us on Spotify and check out our Christmas playlist.