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Christmas Music Playlists with Bob Rivers Songs
At Christmas Bob Rivers Runs Through It
Factfile - Bob Rivers
- Bob Rivers scored hit album Twisted Christmas (1987) featured the radio hit Twelve Pains of Christmas. 7 of the 11 tracks were Christmas song parodies. It has been certified gold (half a million copies sold) and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Holiday Album chart.
- The follow-up, I Am Santa Claus, came in 1993 and peaked at #23 in the Billboard Holiday Album chart.
- Subsequent Holiday releases were: More Twisted Christmas (1997, aka Bob Rivers Presents More Twisted Christmas), Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire (2000) and White Trash Christmas (2002).
For a man who parodies the excesses and commercialism of Christmas Bob Rivers sure does have a lot to thank the contemporary Christmas season for. The radio DJ cum recording artist is best known for his snarky songs, specifically the ones that see Christmas falling fowl of his sardonic humour. For the most part it is good humoured stuff and Rivers makes it all sound so plausible owing to a really good singing voice (a la the Rat Pack crooners on occasion). Rivers first Christmas mock was 1988’s ‘Twisted Christmas’ (not to be confused with heavy metal band Twisted Sister’s ‘A Twisted Christmas’) and it remains his most successful of what would become a long line of satirical festive outings. Over 11 well observed (and very Christmas sounding) tracks Rivers took pot shots at such institutions as the 12 days of Christmas (‘The Twelve Pains of Christmas’), Christmas shopping (‘Wreck The Malls’) and an oversized Santa stuck up the chimney (‘The Chimney Song’). The results are often hilarious but never less than wry and with Rivers peppering his compositions with a wide ranging set of genres (swing, pop, metal, choral) you never quite know what is coming around the corner. There are plenty of highlights but our favourite moment comes on ‘We Wish You Weren't Living With Us’, sung to the theme of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’, which decries those Christmas occasions when relatives just forget to read the signals that they’ve long since outstayed their welcome.
Such was the success of ‘Twisted Christmas’ that Rivers decided Christmas was due another slagging. So 1993 saw the arrival of ‘I Am Santa Claus’. This time the singer reserved his sarcasm for the man in red and with 16 tracks in total this is one album that Santa believers should steer clear of. Opening with the pithy ‘There’s Another Santa Claus’, sung to the tune of Gene Autry’s ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’, which is perfect in its adhesion to the original song but is sprayed with lots of nefarious plump imposters. And the fun times just keep coming on ‘Walkin’ Around In Women’s Underwear’, a humorous look at the secret transvestite sung to the air of ‘Walking In Winter Wonderland’. Such is Rivers attention to detail that you could enjoy his songs as pleasant Christmas numbers once you took no attention to his deriding lyrics. That said you’d be missing out on genuine chuckles provided by ‘Didn’t I Get This Last Year’ (‘Do You Hear What I Hear?) about the travails of a kid at Christmas who gets the same gift two years running. The execution of the numerous one-liners makes this an album that is worth a listen at least once each December.
It only took Bob Rivers 4 years to record the follow up to ‘I Am Santa Claus’, this time he called it ‘More Twisted Christmas’ and while his shtick showed no signs of drying up the results were getting a little more predictable. That said it is hard to stay stony faced around songs with titles like ‘It’s The Most Fattening Time of The Year’ (mimicking the sound of Andy Williams big festive number) and the very low brow ‘Buttcracker Suite’. Rivers would repeat his Christmas trick on 2 further occasions in the new century with ‘Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire’ (the title track of which was a rip-roaring success with lines such as ‘Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire, hot sauce dripping from their toes’) in 2000 and ‘White Trash Christmas’ in 2002. On ‘White Trash Christmas’ Rivers showed a genuine gift for reproducing sound-alikes so ‘Osama Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ is a mirror image of Elmo & Patsy’s original except it is spiced with plenty of digs at the former Al Qaeda head honcho. Given the album’s theme there are plenty of songs like ‘No So Silent Night’ and ‘I’ll Be Stoned For Christmas’ with the latter cleverly and smoothly putting a lid on proceedings.
The second thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Bob Rivers, 12 Pains Of Christmas
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree...
Bob Rivers Christmas Album & Single Covers