Christmas is coming ever nearer, and the undisputed best part of the holiday season (besides family time, presents and tons of pie) is the music. Holiday songs have been filling people's minds and hearts for hundreds of years, and have become more than a tradition.
From "The Christmas Song" to "O Holy Night" to "The Little Drummer Boy," classic Christmas carols have become a major part of the holiday season and worked their ways into family life and popular culture. Thus, old Christmas favorites, which have some of the warmest spots in our hearts, get constant re-imaginings and covers from all of music's major players.
But what versions of all the Christmas songs are the best? We here at Music Times are determined to find out. And, as a part of the 12 days of Christmas, we'll be counting down the days (and the best Christmas songs).
It's the Friday before Christmas, and that means that jolly ol' Saint Nick is soon to be on his way. Holiday parties, family gift exchanges, children peaking in closets... it all kicks into high gear this weekend. So, that means only one thing... Santa Claus is coming to town! And wouldn't it be great if there were a holiday song specifically about that event?
Oh wait. There is.
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is a bona fide Christmas classic. Originally written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934 for radio, the song instantly became a hit. Since then, the track has been covered countless times by artists big and small. But who beckons Santa Claus the best?
With only four days left until Christmas, let's celebrate with the four best versions of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."
4. Michael Bublé
Christmas music is almost always about the classics, but if there's one modern musical artist who can stand up to the likes of Bing Crosby, Burl Ives and Frank Sinatra, it's Michael Bublé. His cover of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," from his perfectly jazzy holiday album Christmas is as smooth as butter. Bublé's milky vocals alongside the flares of big band trumpets and other brass help to make this song stand out, no matter what year it was recorded in.
3. The Crystals
It's been well established in this 12 Days of Christmas series that Phil Spector's holiday album A Christmas Gift For You is one of the best around, with nearly every cover on the record getting a mention. So, The Crystals big band version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is no exception. It's sugary sweet and gives that classic vintage sound we're all looking for around the holidays.
2. The Jackson 5
This track is one of the most explosive Christmas songs around. From the very beginning, it's clear that the Jackson 5's take on "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is going to be just chock full of energy. Little Michael Jackson sings his heart out, and the epic instrumentation helps to propel this song forward. Mix in a little mix of old school Motown soul, and there are few Christmas songs better. It was a hard decision between this song and No. 1, but one version barely edges this cover out...
1. Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band
This is one of the rare Christmas songs that gets a fully extended play on holiday radio stations, and for good reason. The Boss' version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" begins with the singer confronting his band members and audience about their level of goodness (spoiler: it's not many). Then, the track falls into a total good time song that just oozes of holiday cheer, and that's what the Christmas season is truly all about. Mix that with a crazy good saxophone solo, and you've got one of the best Christmas covers around.