‘Jingle Bell Rocks’: Four incredibly obscure Christmas songs

In the documentary “Jingle Bell Rocks!” director and star Mitchell Kezin looks at obscure, eccentric and just plain weird Christmas songs. Himself an aficionado of the musical subgenre, Kezin gets help from musicians like Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Reverend Run of Run DMC, along with filmmaker John Waters and former Def Jam executive Bill Adler, but the real stars of the show are the oddities found in dollar bins at record stores, the ghosts of Christmas tracks past for which collectors search.

Since it’s the season for gift guides, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most off-center songs from the “Jingle Bell Rocks!” collection, and who would enjoy them the most:


For the double entente fan: ‘Back Door Santa’ by Clarence Carter

Saying that Carter’s blues track has dual meanings may be giving it too much credit; lines like “I make all the little girls happy while the boys are out to play” are hard to interpret any other way. Bonus: A loop from the song was the basis for Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.”


For the clinically onsane: ‘Santa Came on a Nuclear Missile’ by Heather Noel

One of the most famous products of the obscure “song-poem” genre, where amateurs would send away lyrics to a company and get back cheaply-produced songs. Nothing says Yuletide quite like a dose of Cold War-era paranoia.


For the proud Baltimorean: ‘Fat Daddy Claus’ by Paul Johnson

The lead track on the “A John Waters Christmas” compilation, the novelty single was recorded by Baltimore DJ Paul “Fat Daddy” Johnson in the 1960s. It’s the type of regional hit that was ubiquitous in its local area and unheard everywhere else.


For the loudest atheist: ‘Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)’ by Miles Davis and Bob Dorough

Maybe one of the “grinchiest” songs about the holiday ever penned, with lines like “you see through all the waste, all the sham, all the haste and plain old bad taste.” It’s perfect for those who like to tell others (often unprompted) that Jesus was likely born in the summer, not December.


IF YOU GO: “Jingle Bell Rocks!” is available on DVD and select Video on Demand services Dec. 9. It is screening Monday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at City Cinemas Village, 181-189 Second Ave., 212-529-6998

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