Friday, December 21, 2007



Simply ha-a-ving a wonderful Christmas time … simply ha-a-ving a wonderful Christmas time … simply ha-a-ving … oh, holy night, make it stop! It seems Santa brought Paul McCartney a new synthesizer in 1979 and we’ve been assaulted by this bouncy, repetitive tune every year since.

But it could be worse. A lot worse. We’re talkin’ worse than tunes about getting hippopotamuses or two front teeth or nuttin’ for Christmas. Worse than singing dogs, cats, chipmunks or other mammals.

We're talking Weapons of Musical Destruction.

Here are 10 holiday songs I’d like to see get run over by a reindeer:

1. "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle" – Bobby Vinton. See, the bell was crying because it "had nothin' there inside," so Santa froze a teardrop to make a clapper – what most of us call "that thingy that makes a bell ring." So the bell no longer felt sad and empty, see? I, on the other hand, had nothin’ there inside – my stomach – after listening to this dreck.

2. "Deck the Halls" – William Hung. I’d like to deck the genius who gave this "American Idol" reject a recording contract. There’s one good thing about the album featuring this tune: It only runs 20 minutes – five minute longer than Hung’s career.

3. "Do You See What I See?" – Rosie O'Donnell with Elmo. Do you hear what I hear? A voice, a voice, grating on my nerves, from a mouth as big as the sea. And Elmo’s pretty annoying, too.

4. "Jingle Bell Hustle" – Wayne Newton. Mr. Las Vegas does disco! Danke schoen, but no thanks.

5. "Mom and Daddy, Please Don't Steal for Me This Christmas" – Suzannah. Treasured childhood memories of viewing Christmas lights withered and died with this verse: Through the neighborhood he browses/Showing me the pretty houses/But why does Daddy write the numbers down?

6. "Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" by John Denver, who must have been Rocky Mountain High-as-a-kite when he introduced this song as a "funny little ditty." Yep, nothing says “fun” like a 7-year-old’s plea to his alcoholic father. Way to go, John-Boy.

7. "Same Old Lang Syne" – Dan Fogelberg (R.I.P.). Despite heavy airplay between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, this isn’t really a Christmas song. And it’s not that it’s awful … just awfully tedious.

8. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" – Bruce Springsteen. Normally, The Boss gives us diamonds, but he laid a lump of coal with this one. Is he straining to pass a kidney stone … or a Buick? Somebody get this man a bottle of Metamucil!

9. "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)" – Meco, from Christmas In The Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album. May the Force be against galactic funkster Meco for his crimes against the music of John Williams. Listen to this, you should not!

10. "Zoomah the Santa Claus from Mars" by Barry Gordon, the same guy responsible for “Yes, We Have No Bananas.” Need I say more?

With rubbish like this cluttering up the airwaves, I’d gladly settle for a "Silent Night." Literally.

Friday, December 07, 2007



At some point, most music lovers have downloaded free songs from the Internet. You hear a tune that knocks your socks off, but you don’t want to spring for the whole CD just yet, in case the other tracks turn out to be duds. So you hit the cyber-highway in search of a freebie.

I, of course, have never done such a thing. I wouldn’t dream of cheating artists out of the 8 to 14 cents per song that puts food on their tables. And I’m not just saying this for the benefit of any Recording Industry Association of America lawyers who might be reading this column.

Stealing music is like taking candy from babies – it’s quick, easy and hey, free candy! It’s not as much fun, though, since musicians have lawyers and babies don’t.

If you’re losing sleep over your idol suffering the unspeakable humiliation of driving last year’s Jag instead of a late-model Porsche because you’ve picked his pocket with your no-cost downloading, there’s something you can do to purge your guilty conscience.

Check out, your online confessional! Here’s how it works:

1. Pick an artist whose music you’ve acquired without paying – preferably someone you really like and respect. No need to apologize if you’re one of the 8 people who downloaded Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind.” You’ve already paid dearly.

2. Write the artist a letter telling them why you love their music, accompanied by $5 in cash. Why $5? Because, according to website founder Darren Barefoot, $5 “represents about three albums’ worth of income for an artist.” I know, it didn’t make sense to me, either.

3. Find the artist’s mailing address on the site and voila, absolution! No Hail Marys, no Our Fathers, no sleeping on a bed of nails. Such is the penance of pirating.

Also, if you scan or photograph your letter before mailing and submit it to the site, Barefoot will share it with the world (including any RIAA lawyers who might be reading.) give you an opportunity to express your deepest regrets, like Michele C. of Long Island does by apologizing – albeit a bit backhandedly – for ripping off Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose: “Dear Axl, There are a lot of musicians I could have sent this money to … (b)ut I figured out of all of them, you could probably use the money the most … I am giving it to you in change because that’s how bum wine should be bought.”

If you ask me, the world needs more people like Michele C. Maybe if we all sent Axl a few bucks, he’d finally release that new GN’R album he’s been sitting on for eight years.

I think paying artists what they’re due is a great idea and if I were the sort of person who downloaded free music, I would totally do it. Heaven knows Britney Spears could use the money for court costs and underwear.