Top 10 Best Traditional Christmas Song Covers

Stockings full of new covers of traditional Christmas tunes are released every year.  They have got to be some of the most covered songs ever written.  I would be set for life if I owned the rights to “The Christmas Song”!  From power pop divas to folksy indie rockers, we all have our favorite holiday renditions of the songs we have been singing since we first learned of Santa’s annual cross-continental delivery route.  The following is a list of some of the best Yuletide cover songs in terms of how well the artist infuses their individual style with the holiday favorite creating a memorable musical experience uniquely their own, yet still unmistakably fueled by Christmas spirit.  Here are some prime tracks to deck your aural holiday halls with with!

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” – Jackson 5

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While many consider the Bruce Springsteen version the definitive “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, I much prefer this cover.  Lil’ Michael imbues the song with the youthful enthusiasm that a child would actually have about a jolly man bringing them free toys.  Somehow, a middle-aged, soul-patched, New Jersey rocker just can’t sell the song as well.

Featured on The Best of The Jackson 5: Christmas Collection available on Amazon.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” – Holly Conlan

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Great Marley’s ghost!  I don’t want to think about how many covers of this song there are!  Conlan’s sultry performance and the fantastic musical arrangement set this version about the rest.

Featured on The Hotel Cafe Presents…Winter Songs available on Amazon.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” – Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLachlan

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This driving acoustic cover breathes life in to two old Christmas standards.  The trio featuring Steven Page, Ed Robertson, and Sarah  McLachlan is a harmonious celebration of baby Jesus!

Featured on Barenaked for the Holidays available on Amazon.

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” – Polyphonic Spree

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Tim Delaughter and his angelic chorus give John Lennon‘s holiday neo-classic the energy that a statement like “War is Over” demands!  A heralding horn line providing the counter melody is sent from Angel Gabriel him(her?)self.

Featured on Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One available on Amazon and iTunes.

“White Christmas” – Otis Redding 

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A no frills accompaniment and one of the greatest voices the world has ever heard doing his thing.  A little snow and a lot of soul.  Enjoy.

Featured on A Classic Soul Christmas available on Amazon.

Click through to page 2 for more musical holiday magic!

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The Author

Brian Rudloff

Brian Rudloff

Brian loves two things: movies and vacations. He has a B.S. in Cinema/Television Production and an M.S. in Recreation and Tourism Management. While he certainly anticipates the latest releases, he is more often found dancing on flying sarapes through the ether of yesteryear and wistfully prancing on clouds of nostalgia. He does not understand kids these days or the entertainment they consume.