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my admittedly biased perspective, Seventies cheese
like "Billy Don't Be A Hero" is as valid
in its own way as grunge anthems like "Smells Like
Teen Spirit." That said, most of Have
A Nice Christmas: Holiday Hits Of The 70's (1994)
is pretty wretched - though sometimes in very
entertaining ways. You see, there were plenty of wonderful
Christmas records released during the 70's (including
corkers by John Lennon,
Elton John, and the
Kinks), but these
aren't them. Rather, these are the songs that purvey the
smiley-face-polyester-pants-lava-lamp kind of kitsch that
embodies the marketable version of "The
Me Decade." Rhino, in fact, was so desperate to make
their case that they tossed in a Liberace medley recorded
in 1954 - as if "Grandpa's Christmas Wish" from The
Waltons wasn't bad enough! Now, I get a (big) kick
out of this stuff, but I can see how most folks wouldn't.
After all, who wants to do the "Jingle Bell Hustle" with Wayne Newton?
If you do, danke schoen and
meet me at the disco!
A Nice Christmas errs most egregiously when it's not bad enough.
Tracks by Glen Campbell, Bobby Sherman, and the Osmonds are simply boring
- not the spectacular transgressions of good taste we were led to expect.
Even the Jimmy Castor Bunch (perpetrators of "The Bertha Butt Boogie")
can't muster the balls to desecrate Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song." Mostly,
A Nice Christmas is just as bad as we feared - and just as bad as we'd
I should point out that Have
A Nice Christmas includes several rarely collected tracks, including Christmastime ballads by Jim
Croce ("It Doesn't Have To Be That Way") and Melanie ("Merry Christmas"), and
it captures both sides of Martin Mull's hilarious 1973 holiday single. And, by the way, Rhino
Records designed this batch of holiday hilarity as icing on the Christmas cake for their marathon Have
A Nice Day: Super Hits Of The 70's series, a twenty-five volume survey of chart oddities from the
1970's - strongly recommended for people with strong stomachs. [top of page]
Rock 'n' Roll Christmas (Gary Glitter, 1984)
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
(Jimmy Castor Bunch, 1975)
It Doesn't Have To Be That Way (Jim Croce, 1973)
Merry Christmas (Melanie, 1970)
Santa Claus And His Old Lady (Cheech & Chong, 1971)
Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope (Martin Mull, 1973)
Santafly (Martin Mull, 1973)
Yesterday's Christmas (Bobby Sherman, 1970)
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