Five Worst Christmas Songs of the ’80s (Houston Press)

OK, sure, the truly worst ’80s Christmas songs are doubtlessly “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” But everyone knows this. However, there were many other holiday songs released during the ’80s that nearly reached such heights of crapulence.

Billy Squier – “Christmas Is the Time To Say I Love You”

It’s hard to decide what’s worse about this clip: Is it the drunken MTV staffers who display their outright disdain for the concepts of melody, harmony and rhythm? Or is the fact that Billy Squier was once deemed relevant enough to be the point man for the station’s attempt at a holiday number?

George Thorogood – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas”

Look, I know that the ’80s weren’t the best time for straight-up rock ‘n’ roll, but Thorogood’s pasty, retrograde bar-band shtik was just the worst. Terrible, terrible shit. And this Chuck Berry-referencing, saxophone-bleating paean to some ’50s dreamland is not only a horrific song, but this video clip also gives you the chance to have another look at the rhythm-deficient crew at MTV. (Did you really ever think that Alan Hunter or Mark Goodman could dance?)

Madonna – “Santa Baby”

The same album that gave us “Christmas In Hollis” also foisted upon the world several awful Christmas songs that, inexplicably, are still played on the radio today. John Cougar Mellencamp’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Bob Seger’s “Little Drummer Boy” and Sting’s laughably earnest “Gabriel’s Message” are all bad, but none are as spinal-cord-freezingly awful as the camp overload of Madonna singing “Santa Baby.” It was almost as if she wanted to remind the world that she was (is) perhaps one of the worst singers to ever enjoy a music career.

Weather Girls – “Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man For This Christmas)”

Did these women ever get laid?

Max Headroom – “Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy)”

It was somehow appropriate that a character meant to comment on a dystopic-leaning, media-saturated decade wound up becoming a shill for soda pop and generally annoying omnipresence. But that’s exactly what happened to Max Headroom, and by the time this thank-you to St. Nick (and, oddly, Jesus too) came out in 1986, you couldn’t help but be repulsed by it. It didn’t help that the song was complete garbage.


First appeared in Houston Press’ ‘Rocks Off’ blog, Dec. 18, 2008.


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