Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rant #643: Snoopy's Christmas

A continued Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends, and a three-day-early Merry Christmas to everyone else.

Even though I am Jewish, I still occasionally get caught up in the frenzy of the Christmas holiday season.

And part of that frenzy is the music, more to the point, the contemporary music celebrating the holiday.

While there is scant little for Hanukkah—more than you might think if you want to look for it, but still not that much—for Christmas, of course, there is plenty.

Some radio stations jump onto this point with a loud crash, playing Christmas music—and nothing but Christmas music—from like September on.

Other stations mix it in with their usual fare, but during the week prior to Christmas, they mix it in ad nauseum.

But I’m one to talk. I have so many Christmas recordings that you might think I am a good goy, as in gentile. But I’m not, of course. I just have lots of Christmas recordings in my collection.

What’s my favorite Christmas record? Or more to the point, what's the favorite Christmas record of this Jewish guy (not goy)?

A year ago, I told you it was "Riu Chiu" by the Monkees, which really isn't directly a Christmas song, per se, but a Spanish folk song dating from the 1500s that the Monkees used on their Christmas episode. Thus, for the past 44 years, it has morphed into a Christmas recording.

And if there is a No. 2, it most definitely has to be "Snoopy’s Christmas”/”It Kinda Looks Like Christmas” by the Royal Guardsmen. Yes, the entire 45 that was released in 1967.

Both songs--and the Monkees recording--bring me back to a different time, so they are both nostalgic and Christmasy at the same time.

Although on their Christmas episode, "Riu Chiu" was never officially released until many years later. I will bet that if it was released in 1967, it would have been a huge holiday hit.

The Royal Guardsmen tunes are another thing altogether.

Dating from the same period as the Monkees’ tune, the A side of the single is simply a continuance of the band’s “Snoopy” saga, which would encompass at least four singles: “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron,” “The Return of the Red Baron,” “Snoopy’s Christmas,” and “Snoopy For President.”

(And I found two more: "The Smallest Astronaut" and the Royal Guardsmen reunion-related "Snoopy vs. Osama.")

It kind of blends bubblegum with the holidays, and it works to perfection.

It did not chart on the Hot 100 of the time, although it did chart on Billboard's Christmas chart. It has been a favorite for the past 44 years, and you regularly hear it during this time of year.

The B side is basically a standard Christmas song, but it works wonderfully with the more popular A side.

It's very light and fluffy, almost like aural snow.

The Royal Guardsmen kind of got pigeonholed into the Snoopy thing, and they aren't remembered for much else. But they did have several other terrific singles, including my favorite "Behind Enemy Lines."

But they will always be remembered for those Snoopy records, and I will always love "Snoopy's Christmas."

I still have the original single that I bought in late 1967 in my collection, and it still plays well.

So have a Merry Christmas everyone. I will take a few days off, and be back ready to look at the New Year on Tuesday.

"Christmas bells, those Christmas bells, ringing out from the land ... "


  1. A harmless Xmas novelty, to be sure. The instrumental backing makes it hold up to repeat playings better than "Grandma Got Run Over..." (you know the rest).

    Too bad the record company kept forcing Snoopy songs on the RG because their non-Snoopy material showed they were talented musicians. I think it took Charles Schulz himself to make the Snoopy songs stop (which is why "The Smallest Astronaut" was altered as it was).

    Hope your Hanukkah is going well! :o)

  2. It both defined their career and killed their career too. I also liked much of their non-Snoopy output. Thanks for the good wishes--hope your holidays are nice too.



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