Billy Gibbons has turned Jingle Bells into a slow-burning blues epic

Billy Gibbons
(Image credit: Roger Kisby)

ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons - or Billy F Gibbons, as he prefers to be known on his solo releases - has launched a Christmas single, a cover of James Lord Pierpont's 1857 banger Jingle Bells.

Gibbons has turned Jingle Bells into something altogether more righteous: Jingle Bell Blues, a low-slung, greasy blues shuffle, and has adapted the lyrics to include references to "bells on hot rods" and a "drop top sled." 

Jingle Bells will be available as a translucent red vinyl 7" single, but buyers beware: the single comes with a large, jukebox-friendly centre hole.

"I suppose it could have been produced with a small hole and we wouldn’t have had to deal with the adapter," muses Gibbons. "but this is, at its essence, a juke box record. It was even mixed with that in mind.

“Around Christmas, it always seems that there are five to ten holiday selections listed in the lower right corner of a typical juke box in a typical juke joint, the song titles and artist names printed on wreath-bedecked title strips.” 

The flip side of the single is adorned by an etching that replicates the sidewall of an old-fashioned tire, with raised letters spelling out the song title and Billy’s name. It's available to order now, and will ship in December. 

“Our hope is for Jingle Bell Blues to be one of those records," adds the lustrously-bearded rocker. "Bing Crosby, David Bowie, Elvis, Brenda Lee, Jose Feliciano, Otis Redding, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Gene Autry, and not forgetting Adam Sandler, need some company and we’d be thrilled to provide it in the spirit of the season.”  

Billy Gibbons' most recent album, Hardware, was released in June. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.