Best Rock Versions of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Photo: By daigooliva (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Every year, many stations on FM radio shift their gears towards holiday music. Its a tradition that goes back as far as radio itself. From Bing Crosby’s White Christmas to RUN DMC’s Christmas in Hollis through the Waitresses Christmas Wrapping and on and on. The holidays bring festive music to the masses. If we had to choose one of the most famous and happy Christmas tunes of all times, the classic “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” would be right up there at the top with Jingle Bells. Santa Claus is Coming ti Town in its original version was a sweet wonderful song sung in a spirited but laid back traditional holiday feel. The song was written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots. It first became a hit in 1934 when it was performed in a radio broadcast by Harry Cantor. The song would become the biggest Christmas song of the year. It would eventually be recorded by Frank Sinatra, Fred Astair and Perry Como.

In 1962 Frankie Valley and the 4 Seasons recorded a version of Santa Claus is Coming To Town that reached the top 40 music charts. From that point on the song has been recorded by hundreds of rock and pop artists. Mos people know that classic Brice Springsteen version that was recorded live in the late 1970’s. However there are many great versions of the song available. Her are 10 of our favorite rock versions of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”

# 10 – James Corden

Well this version features James Corden and just about every other person on the planet. It’s what its all about, the spirit, the cheer, the commercialism and the love. Its all there in this one great video and a great way to start off our Best Rock Versions of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town list.

# 9 – Brian Setzer

The Brian Setzer version falls somewhere between the old and new. Its swings, it rocks, it’s 100 percent Brian Setzer and we love it.

# 8 – Jackson 5

You cant have a top 10 Santa Claus is Coming to Town list without including the famous Jackson 5 version. Listen to Michael Jackson sing his heart out on this one.

# 7 – Steven Tyler

All you have to do is hear Steven Tyler scream and howl before the chorus in this one and your hooked. Its short, but its Steven Tyler and that’s all you need to know. From the Lizzie McGuire episode, “Xtreme Xmas.” television show.

# 6 – The Beach Boys

Its a little laid back, at times cartoonish, but its The Beach Boys and oh ! those harmonies trump anyone.

# 5 – Dokken

Well, we have to have a least one metal version of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” and this one is great. Dig the minor chords.

# 4 – Chicago

This is probably the most original version of the song ever recorded. The harmonies, the horns, the band Chicago is an American treasure and their version of “Santa Clause is Coming To Town,” is brilliant.

# 3 – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

One of the only acts in history that could compete with the Beach Boys in the harmony genre. This version is historically important because it was the highest charting version of the song ever released.

# 2 – The Crystals

Without the Crystals version of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” there would have been no Bruce Springsteen version. The Crystals version was recorded in 1963 and set the stage for all future rock and roll and pop versions.

# 1 – Bruce Springsteen

We thought it would be fair to start out our list with the most popular rock version of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” in the modern rock era. But then we thought wait a second how could we do that? Springsteen’s version is the all time greatest version of the song ever recorded. It captured the magic of Christmas with originality, humor and true rock and roll heart.

The song was originally recorded live at C.W.Post college in 1975. It was released on a charity album called In Harmony in 1982 and than as the b side to My Hometown in 1985. However the song had been bootlegged long before it was ever officially released and it was constantly played from a radio promo on the airwaves since the mid 1970’s. A pure classic.


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