Holiday music is everywhere at this time of year, and we'll always love classics such as Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" or Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad." Here, however, are some alternative gems that may make you feel like you're having famous pals over to the house.
Happy Holidays: A Very Special Christmas Album
Performed by: Billy Idol
The orchestration has a karaoke quality, but the seminal punk rocker seriously sells this set of holiday chestnuts. You haven't heard "Frosty the Snowman" until you've gotten a load of Idol's "Thumpety-thump-thump!"
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Christmas Time Again
Performed by: Lynyrd Skynyrd
The album cover shows Santa in a pickup truck with a set of antlers mounted on the hood, and the contents are just as edgy. The Southern hard rockers growl through the title song, which is nicely balanced by the lilting guitar riffs of "Classical Christmas."
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The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Ian Anderson, rock's most famous flautist, recycles a few wintry oldies, including the band's classic "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow." But there's also lots of newer instrumental music to make a perfect background for a happenin' holiday party.
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NBC Celebrity Christmas
Performed by: Various NBC stars
Believe it or not, you can still track down new copies of this 2001 oddity online: Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) does a lovely job with "Silent Night," and there's a goofy charm in some of the The West Wing stars mixing it up with "A Wonderful Christmas Time."
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Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas From Captain Kangaroo
The joyous voice of the immortal Bob Keeshan makes this album sparkle — and there's some nice singing from Mr. Green Jeans (Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum) as well.
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A Twisted X-Mas: Live in Las Vegas
Performed by: Twisted Sister
I'm not what you'd call an anthem rock aficionado, but I'm pretty sure those driving guitars on "Silver Bells" got Twisted Sister a prominent spot on Santa's "naughty" list.
Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time
Forget "surprisingly good" — this just might be the best Christmas album ever. Christmas is the season of one-shot hits, and this collection takes one great shot after another — including the Singing Dogs' "Jingle Bells," producer Stan Freberg's "Nuttin' for Christmas" and, best of all, Freberg's collaboration with Daws Butler on the forgotten 1953 classic, "Christmas Dragnet."
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