Pop music is usually what comes to mind when people think about original holiday tunes, but that's not the only genre that makes the season merry and bright. Some of the biggest names in rock music have penned icon Christmas songs (many of which have been covered by pop stars). From Chuck Berry's famous "Run Rudolph Run" to AC/DC's sexually charged "Mistress For Christmas" these 10 songs are crucial for a holiday playlist that rocks.
Chuck Berry - "Run Rudolph Run"
In 1958, Chuck Berry added a new bluesy track to the Christmas canon in "Run Rudolph Run." In the decades since, the iconic song has been covered by artists ranging from the Grateful Dead to Kelly Clarkson, but nothing beats the original
Bob Dylan - “Must Be Santa”
In 2009, Bob Dylan released his 34th album and first collection of holiday tunes called Christmas In The Heart. Though we love the whole record, we just can't get enough of the polka-tinged sing along, "Must Be Santa."
Paul McCartney - “Wonderful Christmastime”
Another rock holiday song that's gotten its fair share of covers is Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." Though the members of Wings appear in the music video, the 1979 track was recorded as a solo single and quickly became a Christmas classic.
John Lennon & Yoko Ono - “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Paul McCartney's Beatles bandmate John Lennon recorded what would become a Christmas standard almost a decade before Macca's "Wonderful Christmastime." In 1971, he and Yoko Ono recorded "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" with the Harlem Community Choir, which served as both a holiday and protest song against the Vietnam War.
Ramones - “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
The Ramones' love/holiday song "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" may be the last song on their 1989 album Brain Drain; however, it's become a favorite Yuletide tune in the rock community ever since and received the cover treatment from Cheap Trick in 2017.
AC/DC - “Mistress For Christmas”
Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like the lyrics "Jingle bells, jingle bells / Jingle all the day / I just can't wait till Christmas time / When I can grope you in the hay." AC/DC's sexually charged Christmas carol "Mistress For Christmas" appears on their 1990 album, The Razor's Edge, and the holiday season was forever changed.
The Darkness - “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)”
In 2003, The Darkness shared their holiday contribution in the form of "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)." Though the song was originally released as a stand alone single, it was eventually included in the "Christmas Edition" of the band's debut album, Permission to Land.
Pearl Jam - “Let Me Sleep”
Pearl Jam's Christmas song contribution isn't so merry or bright, but it's a magnificent track. In "Let Me Sleep" Eddie Vedder sings the story of a drifter freezing in the cold who, after reminiscing of the joy the holiday brought him in his youth, begs "oh, please just let me sleep, it's Christmas time."
Bon Jovi - “I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas”
In 1992, Bon Jovi released their epic holiday ballad, "I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas," where the band longs for every day to be as peaceful and full of joy as Christmas.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - “Christmas All Over Again”
In 2000, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers penned an original song for their A Very Special Christmas TV special. "Christmas All Over Again" is a peppy, rock-forward holiday tune that's sure to make even the biggest Scrooge appreciate Christmas music. During that same special, the band brought out Stevie Nicks for a twangy rendition of "Silent Night."
For more rockin' holiday jams, check out our "10 Best Rock Covers of Classic Christmas Songs" and "10 Alternative Christmas Songs to Amp Up Your Holiday Playlist" lists, and tune into the iHeartChristmas rock playlist.
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