Yes, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole will likely make appearances today singing their famous Christmas tunes, but queer artists have their signature contributions as well. I mean, Fred Schneider’s ridiculous humor may not compare with traditional carols, but he proves we need a little disco year round. And Pink Martini can croon just like the best of them.
Here’s a rundown of my top queer Christmas tunes for the day to add your to mix. Bing and Nat won’t mind the company.
10. The Superions — “Christmas Disco” This album is a pure exercise in the absurd, but Fred Schneider’s side project turns the reverent holiday into a flat out house party.
9. Johnny Mathis — “We Need A Little Christmas” Mathis belongs right there with those legendary singers for Christmas tunes, but John-John is ours just as well. He’s adorbs when he gets into the spirit here.
8. Chely Wright — “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” The country star wasn’t out at the time she sang this jaunty tune, but it’s cute to see her still coming into her own as a music star.
7. Band Aid — “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Boy George and George Michael bring the gay to this all-star chorus of pop stars (mostly European) in this anthem to heal the plight in Africa at the time. It’s interesting to see this video in a pre-Twitter, YouTube time. Even then, the video spread rampantly thanks simple old television.
6. Queen — “Thank God It’s Christmas” Freddie Mercury croons to holiday delight in this b-side track to 1995’s “A Winter’s Tale.”
5. Pink Martini — “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (audio) Gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale nary made a miss on the 2010 holiday album Joy to the World. With lush arrangements steeped in traditional deliveries, they came quite close to perfection.
4. Melissa Etheridge — “Christmas in America” Etheridge delivers strongly in this contemporary, holiday ode to those missing their loved ones serving overseas. How apropos they are finally coming home.
3. Halford — “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel” (audio) Christmas for metalheads? Sure. Gay frontman Rob Halford breaks away from Judas Priest with his own side project Halford. With a surprisingly effective holiday release in 2009. I mean, we don’t think of guitar solos and the birth of Christ together often, but Halford made it a reality.
2. k.d. Lang — “Hallelujah” Maybe it’s not Christmas Christmas, but Lang hypnotizes you into falling for her version of the Leonard Cohen track that fits perfectly at this time.
1. Wham! — “Last Christmas” You saw this coming didn’t you? Before George Michael was out, he was swooning for the ladies with Andrew Ridgeley in this rather dated and silly video. But the season is not the same without hearing it once. Plus, we’re glad to hear he’s recovered from his pneumonia which makes this no. 1 spot a bit sweeter.