I’m pretty particular when it comes to my Christmas music selections. I like the classics, perhaps because this is the one time of year when an artist being in vogue doesn’t matter. Sinatra and Dean Martin are pretty much always listened to within this four to five week span, no matter if The Beatles or Lady Gaga are topping the charts.
Nat King Cole’s timeless version of “The Christmas Song” tops my list of favorites (click for a link to see Cole sing it–very cool!), and I do typically enjoy the countless Christmas albums released by modern artists, like Diana Krall and She & Him.
But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for recordings done decades ago with killer brass sections. While I tend to love remakes of traditional Christmas tunes (like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”), here are five songs I’m pretty obsessed with this time of year–songs you should consider adding to your festive holiday playlist, as well.
“Cool Yule” by Louis Armstrong
There’s no denying that Louis Armstrong is a music legend. In true Armstrong fashion this song has lots of swinging brass sounds and a tune that will at the least make you nod your head to the rhythm.
“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” by Billie Holiday
Love, love, love this song–and not just at Christmastime. If you don’t own any Billie Holiday whatsoever, ease her into your musical collection by adding this to your holiday playlist. You won’t regret it. Seriously. LISTEN.
“Everybody’s Waitin’ for the Man with the Bag” by Kay Starr
I’m a sucker for a good Christmas commercial, especially one that introduces me to a new Christmas song. It took me some hunting, but I finally found that the featured song in the 2005 Macy’s Christmas commercial was done by jazz and pop singer Kay Starr–who I admit I’ve never heard of in my life. But this tune keeps with my soft spot for a classic jazzy Christmas song.
“Kissin’ by the Mistletoe” by Aretha Franklin
The Queen of Soul’s smooth voice glides into this list of classics easily. Yeah, it’s pretty much a love song. But if it doesn’t make you smile just a teeny tiny bit (even on the inside) then there may be something wrong with you.
“What Christmas Means to Me” by Stevie Wonder
I’ve been in love with this song since I heard it featured during the Buddy/Michael montage in Elf. It may be a little less like the others on this list, but it’s way too fun to leave off.
What are you listening to this time of year?