The Rock Christmas Canon

How rock ‘n roll saved the Christmas song.

CeeLo Green performs at the 80th annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 in New York. (AP)

CeeLo Green performs at the 80th annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 in New York. (AP)

From Gregorian chants to classic carols to the Messiah to Burl Ives, people have long loved to sing and hear song at Christmas.  Then came rock and roll, announcing – sometimes sweetly, sometimes loudly – that Bing Crosby and Foom Foom Foom would not be the last word.

Motown chimed in.  The Indie world.  And suddenly there was a new continent of song for the holidays.  Some wonderful.  Some whacky.  Some sacred in a new way.

This hour, On Point:  How rock and roll came to Christmas.

-Tom Ashbrook


Tim Riley, music critic and assistant professor at Emerson College. He’s editor of the “Riley Rock Index” website.

From Tom’s Listening List

Here’s John Lennon’s Happy X-Mas (War is Over).

Chuck Berry rocked with Run, Run Rudolph.

The King of Rock himself with Merry Christmas, Baby.

Here’s The Waitresses with Christmas Wrapping.

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