Arts & Culture

4 Santa Approved Holiday Playlists From UK Music

stock photo of Santa in sunglasses listening to an ipod giving a thumbs up

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2019) The right soundtrack for the holiday season is a gift in and of itself. Music can set the mood, touch the soul, lift the spirit or bring about cheer whether hosting a dinner party, braving the crowds to shop for that special someone or wrapping gifts by an open fire.

With varied tastes in music, University of Kentucky School of Music faculty Revell Carr and Kevin Holm-Hudson have developed four holiday playlists for the country, jazz, and rock and roll music lover, as well as one for the Anglophile among you.

For those with a hankering for country, western, bluegrass and folk music, check out the Country Christmas playlist by Revell Carr, director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music. The list boasts several songs from Kentucky acts, including UK social work alumna Jean Ritchie, among other music legends. The Country Christmas playlist includes:

  • “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry;​
  • "Christmas Time’s A-Coming” ​by Emmylou Harris;
  • "Footprints in the Snow" by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys;
  • “Breaking Up Christmas” by Benton Flippen;
  • “Christmas in Prison” by John Prine;
  • “I Wonder As I Wander” by John Jacob Niles;
  • “The Cherry Tree Carol” by Jean Ritchie;
  • “The Coventry Carol” by Joan Baez;
  • “Country Christmas” by Loretta Lynn;
  • “Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over” by Fiddlin’ John Carson; and
  • “Auld Lang Syne” by David Grisman.

Spotify users can find this list here

For the jazz aficionados, try Carr’s Jazz Up the Holidays list of such beloved standards as:

  • “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt;
  • “Lonesome Christmas Blues” by Blind Blake;
  • “Christmastime is Here” by Vince Guaraldi;
  • “Sleigh Ride” by Ella Fitzgerald;
  • “O Holy Night” by Nat King Cole;
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Frank Sinatra;
  • “My Favourite Things” by Sarah Vaughn;
  • “Blue Xmas” by Miles Davis;
  • “Jingle Bells Cha Cha” by Pearl Bailey; and
  • “We Three Kings” by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Spotify users can find this list here.

Looking for something with a dance beat? Carr’s Rockin’ Christmas Classics playlist may fit the bill with such hits as:

  • “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms;
  • “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley;
  • “Please Come Home for Christmas” by Charlie Brown;
  • “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee;
  • “Blues for Christmas” by John Lee Hooker;
  • “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry;
  • “White Christmas” by The Drifters;
  • “Merry Christmas, Baby” by Otis Redding;
  • “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love; and
  • “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen.

Spotify users can find this list here.

And for your loved ones dreaming of a yuletide season across the pond, music theory Professor Kevin Holm-Hudson has a list of offerings. Since Holm-Hudson is a member of the British pop-rock cover band The Twiggenburys, it’s probably not surprising his playlist is titled “The British Have all the Good Christmas Music" and includes songs from such icons as The Beatles, Elton John and Queen. “The British Have all the Good Christmas Music” includes:

  • “Christmas Time is Here Again” by Ringo Starr;
  • “I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard;
  • “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer;
  • “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John;
  • “A Christmas Song” by Jethro Tull;
  • “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir;
  • “Thank God It’s Christmas” by Queen;
  • “Thanks for Christmas” by XTC;
  • “Saviour’s Day” by Cliff Richard;
  • "Postcard from London" by Ray Davies featuring Chrissie Hynde;
  • “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade; and
  • “Ding Dong Ding Dong” by George Harrison.

Spotify users can find this list here. Holm-Hudson also suggests these holiday hits not available through Spotify: “Thanks for Christmas” by XTC; “What Child is This” by The Moody Blues; “Merry Christmas, You Suckers” by Paddy Roberts; and "December Will Be Magic Again" by Kate Bush.

The School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, theory and music history.

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