I dislike most rock ‘n roll Christmas songs. The Kinks asking Father Christmas for money? Not a fan. Billy Squier singing that Christmas is a time to say I love you? Hate it.
I love those artists, just not those songs. Though I’m a heavy metal fan, I have to admit Christmas songs of that genre aren’t much better.
But occasionally, rock and metal musicians manage to pull off something special — songs done so magically that I play them repeatedly this time of year. Allow me to share some favorites.
First, a classic from Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi that makes the neck hair rise.
John Sykes, who has been in Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy, among others, does a great instrumental version of the same song.
Rob Halford, legendary vocalist for Judas Priest, put out a whole album themed for the season, including this gem.
One of my favorite guitarists, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne band, Black Label Society), does a searing acoustic version of “The First Noel.”
Finally, here’s a great rendition of “Silent Night” played by Brian May during a 1979 Queen concert.