There are some great classic rock Christmas songs that everyone from preschoolers up to your great grandma knows by heart. Think the Eagles’ Please Come Home For Christmas and Bruce Springsteen’s raucous Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town. Here are a few rocking Christmas songs you’ve probably never heard, covered by classic rock artists. Some are overlooked recordings, while others were bizarre one-off performances. Some probably should have stayed hidden away, but a few are fairly good, if quirky, renditions.
10. Steven Tyler and Brad Paisley: Run Rudolph Run
The song’s original artist, the late, great Chuck Berry, would definitely be proud of Paisley’s guitar chops on this song. Released in 1958, Berry’s classic has been covered by some of the biggest names in music; a couple of those, notably country artist Luke Bryan’s 2008 cover, outcharted Berry’s original version.
9. ‘Santa’ Van Halen Plays ‘Eruption’
OK, so it’s not really Eddie Van Halen playing the role of Santa, but a guitarist named Kevy Nova channeling EVH for a Bay Area TV Christmas special. And Eruption isn’t a Christmas song, but we stumbled across this and had to include it. The only thing that could have made this better is if “Santa” finished and then launched right into You Really Got Me.
8. Boston: God Rest Ye Metal Gentlemen
Starts out a bit slow, like some other familiar Boston tunes (Party, Something About You) but picks up … just as you knew it would. The unreleased 2002 song is now available on iTunes.
7. Alice Cooper: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
This is just what you’d expect from the original shock rocker. In fact, some people believe the song’s name is really Santa Claws is Comin’ to Town.
6. Charlie Daniels: Frosty the Snowman
It’s hard to listen to this cover without expecting Daniels to break out into his hit The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
5. Pink Floyd: The Merry Xmas Song
The band wrote this whacky song for a one-off BBC performance in 1969, several years before their rise to worldwide fame with the Dark Side of the Moon album. The song is only available on bootleg recordings. It’s one of the rare Pink Floyd songs featuring vocals by drummer Nick Mason.
4. Jerry Garcia: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Grateful Dead front man teams with mandolinist David Grisman on this cover in the 2000 documentary Grateful Dawg.
3. Gary Hoey: Linus and Lucy
The guitar master provides a bluesy take on the classic “Peanuts Song” off his 2004 album Best of Gary Hoey.
2. Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy
This cover, which Wikipedia claims is the last song ever recorded by Jimi Hendrix, appeared on the 1999 Hendrix compilation Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
1. Lemmy, Billy Gibbons and Dave Grohl: Run Rudolph Run
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead provides the gritty vocals, with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters throwing down some mean guitar and drum riffs. It’s from the 2008 album, We Wish you a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year.