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El Vez
El Vez
Beach Boys
Beach Boys
Sub Pop
Sub Pop
Beatles
Beatles
Jackson 5
Jackson 5
James Brown
James Brown
Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Phil Spector
Phil Spector

I've got a problem. A big problem. A problem draped in tinsel, hung with mistletoe, and wrapped in red and green - and rock and roll. Somewhere between a few dozen Christmas albums and a few hundred, I had to come clean - I've got a Christmas music monkey on my back.

Compared to my other musical loves - doo wop, disco, punk, power pop, bubblegum, and so many more - my passion for collecting cool and unusual Christmas records had gotten out of hand. I found myself getting excited that Frankie Avalon had once put out a Christmas album - and it was available on compact disc! Better yet, Max Headroom once released a Christmas single, and I found the original 45 rpm record - in a picture sleeve! I obsessed for days about exactly how many Christmas albums the Osmond Brothers had recorded, when they were released - and what they looked like!

And here's the rub - all those records suck. They suck big time, and I know it. I knew it when I first learned about about them; I knew it when I was bidding for them on eBay like I'd just won the lottery; and I knew when I listened to them - boy, did I know it! But I love them anyway, in an unconditional, red-headed stepchild, good shepherd sort-of way. Hell, I love them the way Santa Claus loves all the little girls and boys. These tacky, wacky records are the pure products of an America gone plum crazy. I love them for what they say about my culture, what they say about my music, and what they say about me.

Because somehow, even after working retail for over 20 years, I am still a huge fan of Christmas. And being a hopeless rock 'n' roll collector, nothing gets me going quite like a Christmas record that rocks - or rolls, swings, twangs, taps its toes, or bangs its head.

Sometimes, rockers bring their own unique spirit to the festive proceedings - witness Bruce Springsteen lending the sound of the Jersey shore to "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" or the Drifters rollicking lasciviously through "White Christmas." Other times, artists translate Christmas into their own unique language, as when Ray Davies wrote of class struggle in the Kinks' "Father Christmas" or when Joe Tex taught us to "...make everyday Christmas for your woman."

The brightest moments, though, occur when Christmas lifts the banal or mundane rocker to a higher plane. For instance, Bryan Adams (hardly a favorite of mine) cut a fantastic, faux rasta record called "Reggae Christmas." Faceless 80's journeyman Billy Squier cut the loosest, best record of his career with "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You." Jethro Tull, Queen, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Foghat - all bands that strained against the bonds of mediocrity - each recorded Christmas singles that, well, weren't bad at all.

Thanks to my unhealthy obsession with these records - whether naughty or nice - and my anal-retentive tendency to catalog and document nearly everything, I give you this website. Initially, my free-floating devotion to music had spawned another website, Randy's Rodeo. But, when I figured out that the Christmas portion of Randy's Rodeo had become more thorough, more exhaustive, and just plain bigger than the rest of the website combined, I figured I should open a branch office. Ergo, Hip Christmas (dot com).

Here, you'll find a million weird and wild Christmas records to hunt down at flea markets, dig for in dusty bins of vinyl, and search for on the vast internet - and if anyone finds a 45 of Vaughn Meader's "'Twas The Night Before Christmas," let me know! Conveniently, however, there are plenty of easy-to-find classics and quality reissues to put the finest of the season at the fingertips of the "regular Joe" record collector - not to mention an ever-growing catalog of MP3 downloads at our fingertips.

Hip Christmas consists mainly of hundreds of record reviews organized by artist - just click here to start browsing. These reviews are listed alphabetically in my extensive Artists & Albums index (and a corresponding index for Various Artist Albums) along with hundreds more Christmas albums - complete with links to their cover art and places to buy them. If I do say so myself, it's a collector's bacchanal!

Even further, the best songs from all those reviewed albums - plus scads of one-hit wonders and lost treasures - are catalogued in my Songs & Singles index. And if you still haven't found what you're looking for, use my Search Engine at the top of every page. Neat! Of course, many Christmas records are unworthy of even my attention; look for Michael Bolton, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Mannheim Steamroller elsewhere on the web....

Finally, don't forget to peruse my Christmas Lists - I made 'em, and I checked 'em twice! First and foremost are my Top 20 Albums and Top 100 Songs lists, wherein I attempt (vainly, I fear) to distill the essence from my overstuffed record collection. But there's also esoterica like Jews For Jesus and Christmas In Vietnam, not to mention my Wish List - Christmas records even I haven't been able to track down. Lastly, don't overlook my Christmas Jukebox - hundreds of rockin' holiday classics, and still growing.

The staff of Hip Christmas (er, um, me) wishes you all the best for the holiday and in the new year (no matter when you're reading this). Thanks for visiting, and have a cool yule! If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or just want to put a lump of coal in my stocking, I'd be happy to chat. Drop me a line...

Randy Anthony

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