Category Archives: Christmas

Listen to New Liz Phair Christmas Song, ‘Ho Ho Ho’ – Her First New Music Since 2012

This new song from Liz Phair, “Ho Ho Ho,” is off Amazon’s holiday playlist All Is Bright

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Video: Watch Band Aid 30 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ & Donate To Fight Ebola

Today a rough version of the video for the new Band Aid 30 version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was aired and showed up on YouTube.

The purpose of the new version is to raise money to fight Ebola in Africa.

Artists include One Direction, Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Chris Martin, Elbow, Seal, Jessie Ware, Fuse ODG, Sinead O’Connor, Angelique Kidjo, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, Robert Plant, Underworld, Roger Taylor, Clean Bandit, Foals and Bono.

The song will be available to download, costing 99p, from 08:00 GMT on Monday. A CD version will be released in three weeks, costing £4.

You can pre-order here.

For more of the story from the BBC, head here.

New version:

New version – with horrifying footage at the beginning:


TEXT ‘AID’ TO 70123

TEXT ‘AID’ TO 70060

And here’s the original version:

Watch: Bono Busking for the Homeless on the Dublin Streets

Bono and and Glen Hansard. Photo via Stereogum.

Bono and actor/singer/guitarist Glen Hansard singing Christmas songs on Grafton St. in Dublin to raise money for the homeless.

Hopefully Bono is reaching into his own pocket to help as well.

Watch them sing Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

Thanks Stereogum!!

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Revisiting John & Yoko’s ‘Merry Xmas (War Is Over)’

Back in 2000, when I was publishing the daily music blog prototype, (which soon became, for Christmas I wrote this essay about John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Christmas classic, “Merry Xmas (War Is Over).” In reading it over the other day — I’m putting together a collection of my music writing and have been reviewing what I’ve written these past 30-plus years — it struck me as appropriate to reprint this year. I hope you enjoy it.

“So this is Christmas/ And what have you done/ Another year over/ A new one just begun.”

So begins John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” one of the great rock ‘n’ roll Christmas songs. Recorded and released in 1971, it was co-produced by John and Yoko and the legendary producer Phil Spector. (The other rock Christmas song that really means something to me is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” produced by Spector in 1963 for his Christmas album, A Christmas Gift for You.)

When I was a kid, John Lennon was one of my idols; I always thought he was the coolest Beatle. When he paired up with the avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, I was one Beatle fan who thought it was a great move, and not just because he had found a soul mate.

Yoko opened John’s eyes to experimental art, and she also seemed to help him become conscious of social and political issues. And while his most political album, Some Time in New York City, is also mostly a failure, Ono’s positive influence was evident on both Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, as well as such singles as “Instant Karma.”

I thought John and Yoko’s bed-in for peace was awesome, an over-the-top, outrageous stunt — the perfect way for rock royalty to make a statement.

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a wonderful, heartfelt song set to a great sing-along melody, and more. That first line challenges the listener. John and Yoko are saying, in essence, “OK, year’s over, what did you do? Contribute anything worthwhile to the world?” Then they follow with “…And so this is Christmas/ I hope you have fun/ The near and the dear ones/ The old and the young.”

So you take stock of the year that has passed, but then you celebrate. The song, which weds classic Spector wall-of-sound production to a great Lennon lead vocal, offers hope for a new beginning in the chorus: “A very merry Xmas/ And a happy New Year/ Let’s hope it’s a good one/ Without any fear.”

According to Yoko, the song was written over breakfast one morning in a New York hotel room; it was recorded during the evening and morning of Oct. 28–29, 1971 at the Record Plant in New York.

In his book, “Out of His Head,” Richard Williams described the session: “Spector is already into the groove. He is thinking not just of sound, but of arrangement and drama — production. His weird little head is taking the simple guitar chords and modeling, blending, and transforming them — his old pattern. Well ahead of everyone, even Lennon, he imagines the sound coming out of a million, two-inch transistor speakers.”

The second verse of “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” finds John reaching out to all the peoples of the world: “And so this is Christmas/ For weak and for strong/ The rich and the poor ones/ The road is so long/ And so happy Xmas/ For black and for white/ For yellow and red ones/ Let’s stop all the fight.”

I don’t think it’s just because I grew up listening to the Beatles that John’s voice moves me so intensely. The current success of an album of old Beatles hits seems to prove that those records are timeless, and that they can touch a kid now in the same way that they touched me, back in the ’60s and early ’70s.

John and Yoko’s Christmas song ends with a wish for peace: “War is over/ If you want it,” they sing. “War is over, now/ Happy Xmas.”

Happy Xmas indeed!

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Download: Merry Christmas from Okkervil River

It’s Merry Christmas time from Okkervil River, who are giving away the third installment of their “Golden Opportunities” series of cover songs.

They’ve given away two free collections in the past. Now you can download all three collections including installemnt #3 here.

Check out the sounds on installment #3:

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Watch: Arcade Fire Sing ‘Little Drummer Boy’

Photo via Brooklyn Vegan.

Arcade Fire sang “Little Drummer Boy” on Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” show. The musical performance begins two minutes, 23 seconds into the clip but you might want to watch the whole thing. Zach Galifianakis’ conversation with Samuel L. Jackson and Tobey Maguire is damn funny.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-