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Have A Nice ChristmasFrom 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!

Really, Have 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, however, Have A Nice Christmas is just as bad as we feared - and just as bad as we'd hoped.

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]

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • Another 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)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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