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The 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

A man in a knit ugly Christmas cardigan button up sweater, complete with matching red pants and a green turtleneck, blows into a Christmas trumpet.  Horizontal with copy space.

Not many things can get people in the spirit of the holiday season like Christmas music. There’s music for everybody this time of year – from the sacred to the secular, and from the traditional to the ultra-modern.

I’ve always been a fan of Christmas music, and my collection is as eclectic as one could expect. In my opinion, it’s hard to screw up Christmas music. But bad Christmas music does exist, and when Christmas music is bad, it’s awful!

Here are the ten worst examples of Christmas music. I know that even bad Christmas music has its fans, so not everyone is going to agree with my choices. But I think most of you will understand, and some of you might even agree with me.

10. “Merry Christmas Baby,” Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers (and various cover versions)

Some Christmas songs are bad because of a particular version that spoils it. Others are terrible no matter who records them. “Merry Christmas Baby” falls into the latter category.

The song dates back to 1947, when songwriter Lou Baxter approached Charles Brown, then the lead vocalist and keys player for Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, with a song he had written. Moore helped shape the tune, and the trio recorded it. It became an R&B hit that year and later became a staple of Christmas albums by rock singers.

“Merry Christmas Baby” follows a pretty standard blues pattern, with repeated lyric lines. The bluesy simplicity of the song opens up plenty of opportunities for artists who perform it to oversing and try to sound more soulful than they should. I’ve never heard a version of this song that I enjoyed; some of the worst offenders with this song include Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow.

On a more positive note, Brown had his own Christmas solo hit that was much better than the one he performed with Moore’s trio – “Please Come Home for Christmas.”

9. “Wonderful Christmastime,” Paul McCartney

I’ve been a Beatles fan for as long as I can remember, and Paul McCartney is my favorite Beatle. But even I can admit that he has released some real turkeys over the years. “Wonderful Christmastime” is one of those.

We’re talking about one of the most blandly cheerful songs in the holiday canon. Nobody can deny that the song is upbeat and happy, but it’s neither rousing nor exciting. It’s an oddly synth-driven song for a McCartney number. In fact, for all the grief fans have given Linda McCartney over the years for her vocals and keyboard skills, I can’t imagine her dreaming of playing some of the synth lines that her husband takes on in “Wonderful Christmastime.”