10 of the Best Classic Rock Christmas Song Collaborations
Christmas isn’t just a time to be merry with others; it’s a time for artists to record some of the best Christmas songs together. Whether the tune features a duet or a quintet, they usually always shine brightly atop the Christmas tree-like charts.
However, we’re looking at the best classic rock Christmas song collaborations, for this list, and most of them leant a helping hand in some way or another.
10. Elton John and Ed Sheeran: ‘Merry Christmas’
This collaboration is part classic rock part pop, but we couldn’t help but include it. Elton John and Ed Sheeran just released their highly anticipated collaboration, “Merry Christmas,” this holiday season. It’s everything anyone could want in a Christmas collaboration between the two singers. According to People, all the proceeds from this year’s Christmas season are going to the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation & [the Elton John Aids Foundation].
9. Bing Crosby and David Bowie: ‘Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth’
In 1977, David Bowie and Bing Crosby filmed the most bizarre Christmas duet in music history. Somehow, Bowie agreed to appear on Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. Although he did refuse to sing “Little Drummer Boy,” so the writers had to write “Peace on Earth” quickly. Later, Crosby said he liked working with Bowie, but the “Rebel Rebel” singer still thought their collaboration was one of his weirdest.
8. John Lennon and Yoko Ono: ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’
Some fans were hesitant whenever Yoko appeared on any of John Lennon’s songs. However, their collaboration on “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is one of the most classic Christmas songs there is. It’s got a good message and tends to be covered by a new artist almost every year.
7. Al Green and Annie Lennox: ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart’
“Put a Little Love in Your Heart” isn’t a Christmas song, but Al Green and the Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox recorded a version of the song for the Bill Murray Christmas classic, Scrooged, in 1988. With a bit of synth, it works as a holiday tune.
6. Chris Cornell and Eleven: ‘Ave Maria’
This rocked-out rendition of “Ave Maria” by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Eleven is spine-chilling. Chris Cornell’s vocals on the song are some of his best, and he’s not even singing a rock song. The song appeared on A Very Special Christmas 3, which is part of a series of compilation albums featuring rock stars’ renditions of Christmas classics or originals. The proceeds go to the Special Olympics.
5. Keith Richards and Ian Stewart: ‘Run Rudolph Run’
It’s strange when Keith Richards decides to go alone without The Rolling Stones. However, for his version of “Run Rudolph Run,” he wasn’t completely without his bandmates. Richards had long-time Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart with him on the song, first made famous by Richards hero Chuck Berry. According to ABC News Radio Online, Richards explained he recorded the song because “to me, it’s the hippest Christmas song there is. Beautiful lyrics, a beautiful, joyful feeling about it, and it tells the story, short and snappy. And what a great track, the sound of it is amazing.”
4. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: ‘Silent Night’
Stevie Nicks recorded “Silent Night” for the first A Very Special Christmas in 1987. However, she later performed the song with her friend Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers during the “Very Special Christmas” concert in 2000. Nicks’ version of the classic is mystifying, and it’s great to see the Heartbreakers alongside her.
3. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: ‘Fairytale of New York’
The Pogues wanted to write a nonconventional Christmas song, so they wrote “Fairytale of New York.” It’s an anti-holiday song, speaking about a couple who’ve fallen on bad times during the holiday season. The group got Kirsty MacColl to sing with lead singer Shane MacGowan.
2. Darlene Love and Ronnie Spector: ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’
Darlene Love and Ronnie Spector are the Queens of the holidays. After having separate success on their own respective holiday hits, they came together to record “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” for A Very Special Christmas 2.
1. Band Aid: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
In 1984, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure organized one of the most famous collaborations in music history. Some of Ireland’s and Britain’s rock elite came together to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief. The supergroup brought together Bono, Phil Collins, Simon Le Bon, Boy George, Sting, George Michael and many others. The song sold over 12 million copies by 1989.
So, if there’s anything to gather from this list it’s that most Christmas song collaborations are usually trying to support a cause, which is always good. It’s like hitting three birds with one stone. Artists get to record a great song, stread some holiday cheer, and have a chance to help raise money for things that matter most. The fans get great music and the chance to help as well.