By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Here are 10 favorite Christmas songs for your listening pleasure. What are yours?

🎄 For your Christmas Eve listening pleasure, I thought I’d share my top 10 Christmas song list. What are your favorites?

10. “Christmas in Prison,” John Prine. Kind of fun. Really good first verse, but it falls apart after that.

9. “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto,” James Brown. Have yourself a funky little Christmas.

8. “Must Be Santa,” Bob Dylan. The sole gem on Zimmy’s otherwise wretched Christmas album. Hilarious video, too.

7. “River,” Joni Mitchell. A sublime song from early in Mitchell’s career that’s only peripherally about Christmas.

6. “Christmas Morning,” Lyle Lovett. A really nasty edge here. They tell me that Jesus said to say hi. (Link now fixed.)

5. “Run Rudolph Run,” Keith Richards. With apologies to Chuck Berry, but there’s something special about Keef at Christmas.

4. “Merry Christmas Baby,” Otis Redding. So many great versions of this classic, including one by Bruce Springsteen. Otis wins.

3. “White Christmas,” Charlie Parker. This is a 1948 live recording. Not only do you get to hear the great Bird, but you don’t have to listen to the sappy lyrics.

2. “Ave Maria,” Luciano Pavarotti. A transcendent piece of heaven from a 1978 Christmas special.

1. “Comfort Ye My People” (3:20) and “Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted” (6:45) — one piece, really, from Handel’s “Messiah.” This version is by the Academy of Ancient Music. We’ve been lucky enough to see the complete production twice, by Boston Baroque pre-COVID and then by the Handel and Haydn Society, masked, in 2021. We all love the “Hallelujah Chorus,” but these two pieces, which come right after the “Symphony” (the overture), are my favorites.

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Merry Christmas!


  1. Larry Edelman

    Father Christmas – the Kinks
    2000 Miles – the Pretenders

  2. “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” by Darlene Love still sounds amazing.

  3. Batchman

    Your link to the Lyle Lovett song is faulty. Use this one instead:

    • Dan Kennedy

      No problems here. I’ll have to assume it’s on your end.

      • Batchman

        The YouTube video you linked to has a dropout about a half minute into the song. I played it twice to make sure.

      • Michael Smith

        The dropout occurs between 20 and 22 seconds into the track. Quite easy for you to check, though you clearly did not do so, even when Batchman mentioned it.

  4. My favorite – Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses

  5. Jeff Speen

    Christmas Must Be Tonight – the Band

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