The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Santa has plenty to offer radio programmers of all formats this season, and we’re just the elves to help deliver the goods. As you click and shop, prepare your Christmas crackers, spin your dreidels, or put cookies out for Rudolph, make sure you make time to scan the latest and greatest musical treats stuffing our stockings this season.

Where to begin… you know it’s gonna be good when The Monkees are in the action.  It’s been just 2 years since the Monkees gifted us with their 50th anniversary album Good Times (a chart buster reaching Number 14 on Billboard), and they’re already back to give us more, courtesy of -who else?- Rhino.  (They’re always dishing out the best goodies, aren’t they?)

Remarkably, their first foray into the world of Christmas music, Christmas Party features nuggets penned by Rivers Cuomo, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, XTC’s Andy Partridge, as well as healthy dose of cover homages to the classics.  “Silver Bells” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” get The Monkees treatment alongside Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ.”

Mickey Dolenz shared “It all came together so fast. You have no idea, noting how close the band members remain.  “We’re really like brothers in that there’s so much unspoken and understood that can be said with just a glance.”

Joining in on the holiday action are stars across all genres. Los Straitjackets offer their Complete Christmas Songbook while Engelbert Humperdink chimes in with Warmest Christmas Wishes.

Def Leppard, meanwhile, remind us We All Need Christmas.  (It’s a precursor of sorts to some possible under the tree surprises: The Story So Far: The Best of Def Leppard aaand Hysteria: The Singles on Nov. 30. The Story So Far features a huge 35 classic songs as well as a new cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”

William Shatner & Henry Rollins have teamed up (because of course) to cover “Jingle Bells” on Shatner Claus. (FTW) Rollins joins fellow Shatner-duet participants Iggy Pop, Judy Collins, Brad Paisley, Yes’ Rick Wakeman and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

The Beach Boys’ Mike Love gives us “Reason for the Season” just 54 years after the release of the Beach Boys’ Christmas Album.

John Legend is going big and touring behind his A Legendary Christmas.  Kicking off November 15th at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida, the tour includes stops in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, New York City, and Los Angeles.

More holiday releases not to be missed this season include those from Ingrid Michaelson, Martina McBride, Michael Longoria, and the Mavericks.  Head to your Player for the latest and greatest!

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