Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 12/22/16
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
THE KINKS – “Father Christmas” (1978)
Classic Christmas songs help put many people in the holiday spirit, but those songs have never done much for me. For rock fans, original Christmas songs are few and far between, but one that has been a personal favorite for nearly four decades is “Father Christmas” by The Kinks. I still remember the label on the 45 single that I bought at the local record store. I realize that the last statement probably seems like a foreign language to our younger readers, but it will be nostalgic for Gen Xers. Christmas songs tend to be sugary sweet with sentiment, which makes this classic by The Kinks so memorable. It’s raw, edgy and a bit angry, but it makes me smile when I hear it, and helps me feel the spirit of the season.
GREG LAKE – “I Believe In Father Christmas” (1974)
Another song that has been a mainstay in my life every Christmas season is Greg Lake’s “I Believe In Father Christmas.” Although the song came out in 1974, I didn’t discover it until I saw the video on MTV in the early ‘80s. There has always been a touch of bittersweet melancholy when listening to this song, but it is magnified this year as the holiday season comes on the heels of Lake’s passing. Given the tremendous losses that rock fans have endured this year (including that of Lake’s bandmate, Keith Emerson), it almost seems fitting that this loss came at the time of year when Lake is always top of mind. “I Believe In Father Christmas” will remain a part of my annual holiday playlist for years to come.
Next week, on the final Hard Rock Music Time Machine of the year, I will pay tribute to Greg Lake, and the other members of the HRD Team will be paying tribute to other musicians who passed away during 2016.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
TYPE-O NEGATIVE – “Red Water (Christmas Mourning) (1996)
Who says there is no Christmas spirit in metal? Take a listen to the “Drab Four’s” gloomy take on despair and sadness in “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” from their album October Rust. Peter Steele sadly moans and laments about his ghosts of Christmas past. Even his lyrics will make you feel the sadness that he wails about…“My table’s been set for but seven, just last year I dined with eleven.” One of the best Type-O-Negative songs ever written, this song sums up the band as a whole…dark and dreary. Even though I’m sure this song wasn’t meant to be a Christmas song, it amplifies the depressed thoughts and feelings of the band as a whole.
KING DIAMOND – “No Presents For Christmas” (1985)
One of the main staples of a heavy metal Christmas party is this song. Cheesy at best, the jingle bells melody transforms to a head-banging, double-bass drumming, speed-riffing good time. The song was accidentally written when the band was working on a new tune, and decided that it sounded too much like a Christmas song. So what’s a heavy metal band to do but write a Christmas song? Mikkey Dee shows his drumming skills on this tune, which has cemented him as one of the best drummers in the genre. Couple that with Andy LaRocque’s soloing speed and King’s screeching falsettos and you have a classic King Diamond staple.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – “Christmas Jam” (2004)
It’s just not Christmas without the blazing guitars and soaring symphonies of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Over the past twenty years they have become a mainstay of the season, producing melodies that we expect to hear this time of year, with harmonies and orchestrations that sweep us away. They also put on the greatest light show and theatrics anywhere at their annual concerts. They get a little funky here on this holiday favorite.
STRYPER – “Winter Wonderland” (2007)
In 2007, several metal and rock bands contributed their takes on various holiday classics for a compilation album called Monster Ballads Xmas. Michael Sweet and Stryper’s rendition of this one was so powerful that here they’re actually closing a show with it. They sound amazing. They’re having a ton of fun with it, and the audience is rocking out with them.