Music is an intrinsic a part of Christmas as a Nativity scene, Santa Claus and evergreens. With the multitude of albums stocked with Christmas tunes that have been released over the years, it’s not surprising that a number of oddities have found their way onto the marketplace. Here are a handful that neatly fit into this category.
Various Artists – Christmas In the Stars: A Star Wars Christmas (RSO Records)
Franchise capo George Lucas didn’t give his blessing to this 1980 project that was helmed by producer/musician Meco (he of the disco anthem “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”). The end result is sung and narrated by C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels and featured “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which was also Jon Bon Jovi’s pre-Bon Jovi recording debut.
Various Artists – Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics (Columbia/American Recordings)
Released at the height of South Park’s popularity, this 1999 compilation is driven by a singing piece of poo that makes this as scatological, tasteless and satirical treatment of Christmas as you’re bound to hear that somehow manages to sneak in versions of “We Three Kings,” “O Tannenbaum,” “O Holy Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Various Artists – Christmas With Colonel Sanders (RCA)
While the fried chicken magnate didn’t lend his vocal talents to this 1969 collection, a number of notable artists were enlisted to spread Christmas cheer on behalf of the Colonel including Harry Belafonte, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Charley Pride, Kate Smith, Chet Atkins, Henry Mancini and Lorne Greene (yes, the guy from Bonanza).
Bob Dylan – Christmas In the Heart (Columbia)
While it may seem odd to have Dylan tackling standards like “The Christmas Song,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “The Little Drummer Boy” on this 2009 album, he did it without a trace of irony and donated all royalties to Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK and the World Food Programme.
Various Artists – Christmas On Death Row (Death Row/Interscope)
Nothing quite says Christmas like the image of Kris Kringle strapped into an electric chair. Label stalwart Dr. Dre had bailed a few months before the release of this 1996 outing, which mixed R&B versions of “Silver Bells” (Michel’le) with gangsta rap originals (Snoop Dogg’s “Santa Claus Goes Straight To the Ghetto” and Operation From the Bottom’s “Christmas in the Ghetto.”)