As Bob Dylan releases Christmas in the Heart, one of the strangest of his career, we go in search of Christmas albums that should never have been
Star Wars cast
Christmas in the Stars An entirely unnecessary little curio featuring the ‘vocal talents’ of Anthony Daniels (aka C3PO), duetting with the criminal who gave voice to R2D2 and Chewbacca. This nine-song cacophony, a themed album of sorts about a group of droids who work in Santa’s factory, was released in 1980 and, incredibly, sold some 150,000 copies in the US before a court injunction closed the record company. He won’t thank us for telling you this, but the album also features inauspicious recording debut of Jon Bon Jovi. Darth Vader’s rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Death Star’ is sadly missing.
Lowest point: ‘The Meaning of Christmas’, in which the son of Santa informs us that his father can’t possibly visit all the galaxy’s kids in one night, so he shouldn’t be surprised to find a fake. We feel a disturbance in the force… If you’re desperate: Used copies are available from Amazon.com for the ludicrous price of US$43 (Dhs158).
Christmas Time Again It’s tempting to view Christmas Time Again as an obvious lunge for the Christmas jackpot, but the opening track suggests our redneck heroes had other things on their minds. If you ever work out what, feel free to drop us a line – but we can’t quite bring ourselves to listen to ‘Santa’s Messin’ with the Kid’. It just doesn’t seem like a festive way to spend our time. Elsewhere, there’s a bungled attempt on the life of ‘Greensleeves’ (since when was that a Christmas tune?) that belongs in the dingiest elevator – though you’d beat your own ears in if you ever had the misfortune of hearing it.
Lowest point: ‘Santa’s Messin’ with the Kid’. We’re told it’s an old classic, but in these darker times, it could do with rebranding. If you’re desperate: Not the mega-seller they were hoping for, so there are plenty in stock on Amazon.
Snoop Dogg et al
Christmas on Death Row ‘If you like the style of Death Row and love Christmas,’ reasoned one reviewer, ‘then you’re sure to be in for a treat.’ There certainly can’t be many other versions of ‘Frosty the Snowman [Explicit]’ or ‘Silent Night [Explicit]’ in existence, but it’s almost comforting to think that the gangstas of this world have a carol book of their own to refer to during the season of good will. Released in 1996 on Death Row Records (hence the title), the album went on to sell 200,000 copies, with profits going to charity. We can’t help but wondering, though, whether Snoop Dogg’s mum allows this kind of language around her Christmas dinner table. If ‘Be Thankful [Explicit]’ is anything to go by, she’s probably a fairly open-minded mutha.
Lowest point: ‘Christmas is a time for chillin’”, and other icy puns. If you’re desperate: So popular it has actually been remastered; the album is in plentiful supply from all good online shops.
Christmas Unleashed Has your mind broken? Then this was probably made for you. Featuring the sound of dogs and cats barking and woofing their way through 12 festive favourites, Christmas Unleashed is worth only the plastic it is made with, and even then, only as a coaster or one of those tasteless CD clocks. We sat and listened our way through half of it, racking our brains as to how it got from the cheap synthesizer it was produced on to the world at large. Ponder this and shudder: at some point or other, somebody must have said, ‘Yes! This is an excellent idea! Stick that Chihuahua in front of a mic and make damn sure he’s feeling merry!’ The human race has a lot to answer for.
Lowest point: Dogs and cats ‘singing’ Christmas carols? This album is a real howler. If you’re desperate: …and you really must need help if you are about to seek this one out, but Amazon claim they can find it in three to five working days. We recommend sewing your stocking shut and hoping the big man brings you coal instead.