Everybody has their favorite Christmas tune. Some prefer the old religious standards like “Silent Night, Holy Night,” others prefer the crooner staples such as “White Christmas” and some dig themselves more commercialized fare a’la “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
Alas, today we won’t be talking about any of the good Christmas songs – you know, stuff like “Feliz Navidad” or that one song by the Ramones. Rather, we’re going to take a big, fat chunk out of the audio equivalent of a stale fruitcake as we recount, reflect and regurgitate upon ten of the most amazingly atrocious Christmas-themed tracks ever.
Have your ear plugging fingers ready, folks – it’s time to revisit some pure, unadulterated jingle bell suck…
“Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” by Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire
Few songs in the annals of recorded music are as annoying as this morbid (and irritating) novelty jingle, which chronicles – in surprisingly graphic detail – the gruesome demise of an elderly woman who gets drunk on eggnog and killed by jolly old Saint Nick and his magical caribou. That the song has been covered a bajillion times doesn’t help – and if you thought the Less Than Jake version was bad, just wait until you hear it through the warbly intonation of a battery-operated plush toy.
“Santa Claus Has Got the AIDS this Year” by Tiny Tim
Hey, you know Tiny Tim, don’t you? He’s that guy with the ukulele who looked a lot like Weird Al Yankovic and sang “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Well, as it turns out, he was kind of a psychopath, who once married an underage girl on live television and starred in a bad-even-for-the-eighties slasher dud called Blood Harvest. And apparently, he also thought it was a hoot and a half to write a comedy song about Kris Kringle getting infected with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. What whimsical fun, eh?
The entire album Hung for the Holidays by William Hung
What’s worse than the consensus pick for worst American Idol auditioner ever covering one Christmas standard? How about the consensus pick for worst American Idol auditioner ever covering six of them? Yes, a William Hung Christmas album – suggestively titled Hung for the Holidays – was indeed released in 2004, and featured the all time champion of Schadenfreude humor screeching his way through beloved holiday staples like “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” (and, for some inexplicable reason, the Queen stadium rock anthem “We Are The Champions,” too.) Amazingly, the 18 minute long E.P. sold more than 35,000 copies … all of which, presumably, were shipped to Guantanamo Bay as torture devices.
The entire album Crazy Frog’s Crazy Hits – Crazy Christmas
Alright, how do I explain this one to all you millennial whippersnappers? Back in the day, we had these things called “cell phones” – they didn’t really connect to the Internet, but you could use them to download customized ringtones. For whatever reason, one of the most popular ringtones was this thing called the “Crazy Frog,” which was basically just the sound of this Norwegian guy doing his best impersonation of a motorcycle engine with techno gobbledygook in the background. Don’t ask me how or why, but this somehow became a best-selling album popular enough to inspire its own special edition Christmas re-release. As a side note: crystal meth was also really popular during this timeframe.
ANYTHING off Afroman’s A Colt 45 Christmas
Afroman was a one-hit wonder rapper whose track “Because I Got High” got really popular right before 9/11. After that, he faded into obscurity, only to remerge in 2006 with A Colt 45 Christmas, a crass, cringey compilation of parodies with titles like “Deck My Balls,” “Let Her Blow” and “I Wish You Would Roll A New Blunt.” Astonishingly, it failed to sweep the Grammys the following year.
“I’ll Never Do It On a Christmas Tree” by Rodney Dangerfield
Anybody who still thinks the early 1990s were some sold of pop cultural golden age appear to have forgotten the deluge of cruddy animated flicks that inundated the multiplexes before Pixar came along. Among the absolute worst of the worst was Rover Dangerfield, a cartoon starring Rodney Dangerfield as a huge-eyed pup who – in the film’s nadir – broke out into song about not pissing on a Christmas tree so as to avoid incurring Santa Claus’ wrath. Yeah, I’m guessing Rodney owed some mad money to the I.R.S. back then.
“The Warm Side of the Door” by Morgan Ames
Imagine, if you will, the most generic, most soulless, made-for-the-Hallmark-Channel Christmas song your brain is capable of conjuring. Odds are, it sounds just like “The Warm Side of the Door,” the utterly terrible – yet agonizingly catchy – ballad penned by Morgan Ames in 1984. Oh, one more thing – he wrote it for a movie about a dude who turns into a psycho killer who impales naked women on deer antlers after watching his mama get raped at gunpoint by a guy wearing a Santa Claus costume.
Tales From The Crypt’s Have Yourself A Scary Little Christmas (the whole damned thing)
Proving once and for all that no idea in the mid 1990s was too stupid for shameless marketers to turn down, a record company actually brought in the dude who voiced The Cryptkeeper to record a full-fledged Christmas album in 1994. Needless to say, not a whole lot of folks are in the mood to hear parodies like “Deck the Halls with Parts of Johnny” and “Should Old Cadavers Be Forgot” around the holidays – and for the love of God, I hope whoever wrote the atrocious “Christmas Rap” has since been apprehended by the proper authorities and locked in some kind of high-security institution.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” by G.G. Allin
“Twelve Days of Christmas” parodies are a dime a dozen, but nobody churned out a more, uh, un-Christmassy version than legendary scumbag punk rocker G.G. Allin. As you’d expect from a performer who routinely took dumps live on stage and beat up women in the audience, Allin’s take on the seasonal standard is more than just a little bawdy – in fact, I’m not even sure I’m allowed to print half the song’s lyrics. And to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out what those “herpes seeds” he keeps singing about actually are.
“Angels We Have Heard on High” by Family Force 5
I’ve heard some brutally bad music over the years, but the stunning awfulness of this yuletide abomination shocked even a connoisseur of sheer pop cultural crap like myself. All you need to know is that it’s the handiwork of some Jesus Rock wannabe-boy-band from Atlanta and my goodness, do they lay the auto-tune thick on this one (to the point that half the track sounds like an Alvin and the Chipmunks outtake.) This is one of those songs that’s so terrible it actually crosses over the threshold of time and space itself and loops back around to being regrettably catchy. And of course, a song this awesomely awful was destined for one thing, and one thing only – being used as the background music for the concluding “dance-off” scene in Kirk Cameron’s (ironically) God-awful 2014 vehicle Saving Christmas.