New holiday classics | Mark’s Remarks


Have you ever heard the song “Santa, Teach Me to Dance”?  I listened to it the other day and can’t really understand why it didn’t catch on.  

Sure, it was most likely a regional hit with radio stations on the east coast giving it some air time, but a girl group called “Debbie and the Darnells” sang it with aspirations of it becoming a classic. It is sung from the point of view of three teenage girls who aren’t as adept at cutting a rug as their teenage friends. 

So, they ask Santa to teach them the latest moves.  

Of course, I went on to try and find a few more obscure tunes that didn’t quite make it into Christmas compilations.  

Fitz and the Tantrums, a present-day musical group that sound a little like Hall and Oates from the 1980s, are a bunch who apparently tour around the country.   They sound pretty good.  One of their original songs is entitled “Santa Stole My Lady” and is a tad darker spin on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” One of the lyrics talks about Santa being conked out, unconscious under the tree because he was caught kissing this guy’s girlfriend.  

So, you better watch out, St. Nick. 

“Just Another Christmas Song” is a soulful tune by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Sharon sings the titles of a bunch of well-known songs, intertwining them with some catchy lyrics about why the song she’s singing is just another holiday song. But this time, she’ll sing along.  

Because, “song” rhymes with “along.” There’s some good saxophone on this track. Plus, their album cover is festive and very cool.

How’d you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island? Well, the Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby can tell you all about it in the song “Christmas Island” from 1946. If you’ve done much shopping in Home Depot or Walmart during the holidays, you’ve probably heard this one way too many times.

“Donde Esta Santa Claus” was a minor hit in the late 1950s, recorded by Augie Rios (who was only 12 at the time). He sings to his mother, wondering where Santa is as Christmas Eve ticks away. The lyrics are simple and include some new names for the reindeers and a scene of Santa playing the castanets.  

Rios also had a flip side minor hit called “Ol’ Fatso.” It’s a funky tune about an unfortunate kid who no longer believed. He has a bad disposition and resorts to name calling as he says “don’t care who you are, ol’ fatso, get these reindeer off the roof.” 

The song ends with toys going to all the kids besides the unbelieving Rios.  Poor kid. In the end, he admonishes the other kids to believe or they will wind up like him.

Remember the tune “867-5309?” I kid you not. The group that made this tune famous decided to cash in on the popularity of the song and wrote Christmas lyrics to the same tune.  I urge you not to listen, because it’s one of those songs you won’t be able to get out of your head for a while. 

What were they thinking? 

There are others worth your time, at least. 

How about “Santa in a Four-Wheel Drive” or “Merry Christmas From the Family” about a dysfunctional gathering of chain smokers, Bloody Marys and champagne punch.  

There’s the song “Nice List” that pokes fun at the Elf on the Shelf, and a funny one called “Present Face” about how to react when you get a gift completely wrong for you.

Getting too caught up in the seriousness of things this season? Give some of these songs a listen and you’ll remember why you like the classics.

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