11 Top Tunes For A Prog-tastic Christmas!

Here’s our selection of 11 of the most festive prog songs…

Luna Rossa - Christmastime

From Panic Room’s Anne-Marie Helder and Jonathan Edwards, under the mantle of their Luna Rossa side-project. None more Christmassy!

Nightwish - Walking In The Air

It’s no secret that Tuomas Holopainen is a big fan of kids’ animation The Snowman and this impressive cover originally appeared on their ’98 album Oceanborn. Former vocalist Tarja Turunen has even been known to roll it out for some of her seasonal live shows!

Dream Theater - O Holy Night

Not just a prog metal band, Dream Theater recorded this cover during a soundcheck in Portland, Oregon in 1993. It was released three years later on a very rare fan club only Christmas CD. Go on, wave those lighters… but don’t set fire to your tinsel!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/Sarajevo

A live favourite and still one of TSO’s finest festive numbers, this double whammy is the perfect blend of progressive rock and traditional Christmas music all wrapped up in a sparkly bow. If you’re not full of the festive spirit yet, you must be Scrooge!

Camel - The Snow Goose

More seasonal than festive, but if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, Camel’s classic The Snowgoose might just be your perfect soundtrack. We can almost hear the snowflakes falling now…

Marillion - The Carol Of The Bells

What is Christmas time without a proggy reworking? This “festive romp” started off life as a fan club favourite, but Marillion decided to release an extended version all in the name of charity. Hark, those bells!

Jon Anderson - 3 Ships

So Chris Squire worked with a Swiss choir, but Jon Anderson enlisted the talents of a children’s choir on the title track from his very own festive album. This Vangelis-inspired version of a classic song even features keys from Rhett Lawrence, who would later go on to collaborate with Yes offshoot Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.

Genesis - Snowbound

“Hey, there’s a snowman!” sings Phil Collins on this crisp little number that gently shimmers with the very essence of Christmas. Taken from the album, …And Then There Were Three…, Snowbound is a must-have for your Christmas Eve playlist to get you in the festive mood.

Jethro Tull - Ring Out Solstice Bells

When it comes to festive Tull, there’s so much to choose from but this 70s classic is right up there among the best. This perky little number first appeared on Songs From The Wood, and also popped up on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album a few decades later with a whole host of suitably seasonal tracks.

Mike Oldfield - In Dulce Jubilo

Mike Oldfield gave this classic carol the prog treatment with a jaunty instrumental reworking. It zoomed up the UK charts to number four when it was (re)released in ‘75 and is just the thing for frolicking around the Christmas tree!

Greg Lake - I Believe In Father Chriatmas

Hands down the best festive prog song ever, even if it was intended as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas. Greg Lake’s almost chart-topper has been covered by a whole host of prog bands over the years but nothing quite beats the original version. Pass us another mince pie, will you?

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.