The 12 Playlists Of Christmas: The Cover Version List

Choose your tracks of the year and get your playlist made into a radio show!

TeamRock has teamed up with EMP for the 12 Playlists of Xmas. Over the next few days we’ll be posting Xmas/End of Year playlists – and asking you to submit your playlists. The best 12 will be played once a day in the build up to Xmas and win a TeamRock+ subscription.

Our latest playlist is made up of festive cover versions – songs that will even warm the heart of the coldest Christmas cynic.

These are our selections – now tell us yours! Send us your top 12 tracks of 2015 here.

TWISTED SISTER – Oh Come All Ye Faithful
In 2006, the Long Island quintet unleashed A Twisted Christmas in a bid to corner the hair metal stocking filler market. They even made a video for Oh Come All Ye Faithful, where Dee Snider encourages a strait-laced couple to loosen up by bellowing at them like some sort of building site Widow Twanky.

Let It Snow – made famous by Rat Packer Dean Martin in 1959 – can be found on the sort of Christmas compilation gathering dust at your petrol station. Some 48 years later, Marillion recorded their own prog-free version for their 2007 fan club album, Somewhere Elf. We’re absolutely certain the King Of Cool didn’t sing the word ‘shit-faced’ on the original version, mind. That’s because swearing wasn’t invented until Lemmy picked up his first bass and proceeded to spill JD and Coke all over his boots.

HALFORD – We Three Kings
In 2009, Halford III: Winter Songs marked the Judas Priest frontman’s first solo release in seven years. It featured four original songs, while the lion’s share was dedicated to the magic of Christmas – without a single mention of Brussels sprouts or crying silently in the toilet. Hear We Three Kings get transformed into a shining slab of solid Euro metal.

HENRY ROLLINS – Twas The Night Before Christmas
Ol’ Hank has got a strong reading voice, hasn’t he? I wonder how he’ll approach this Christmas poem about a visit from Santa? Maybe he’ll deliver it in the style of a rosy-cheeked uncle, sitting by the glow of a crackling fire. Nah. Fuck that, he’s gone out of his way to make this well-loved children’s classic into an anxiety-fuelled meditation on inner-city tension and an unwelcome visit from an old, bearded man reeking of sherry. Classic Henry.

This song was released as a very rare promotional juke box single in 1994 – and in hindsight, they shouldn’t have bothered. So why include it in this playlist then? Because this is the sole Red Hot Chili Peppers song that isn’t about humping or the state of California.

FAR – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The Sacramento post-hardcore quartet’s all-star version is even more maudlin and ponderous than the 1984 charity smash. There’s no Phil Collins or Boy George here – just members of Will Haven and Deftones shouting and crooning. Listen out for the perfect Bono impression at 1 minute 40.

BAD RELIGION – White Christmas
The bookish Los Angeles punks – despite their atheist leanings and Christian-baiting Crossbuster logo – released a full album of carols and holiday standards in 2013. Here’s their punk version of the Irving Berlin classic, made famous by pipe enthusiast Bing Crosby. It’s executed with such confidence that we can’t tell if the band are taking the piss or not.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie’s 1934 song about Santa’s impending visit doesn’t paint the big guy in the best light: he’s an obsessive list-checker and a nosy bastard, for a start. But here comes The Boss and his gravelly voice to cover us all in holiday whimsy and create the illusion that Father Christmas is some sort of blue-collar hero, despite working one evening a year. And getting pissed on the job.

This Pennsylvania metalcore outfit love Christmas so much, they released a holiday album called Sleddin’ Hill in 2012. It’s not a cosy soundtrack, by any stretch. Joy To The World is basically metalcore with chiming bells and lots of shouting. A bit like your local pub at closing time on December 24.

JIMMY EAT WORLD – Last Christmas
Here’s a festive song about presenting someone a still-beating, slippery heart during the most wonderful time of the year. We assume that’s what George Michael was singing about before he decided to drive his car into a shop. That said, if Jimmy Eat World’s rendition was any wetter, we’d pass it a toasty towel from the radiator.

DIO/IOMMI – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Only the late Ronnie James Dio and Sabbath riff lord Tony Iommi could take a traditional carol and make it sound like a particularly doom-laden jam – especially with those foreboding references to Satan’s power and might. Stop crying and eat your selection box. It’s Christmas, after all.

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