The Magic Of The First Christmas Rock Song
Elvis Presley - maria mountain824 / Youtube
As the festive season envelops us in a blanket of joy, the tunes of Christmas music become ubiquitous. While the genre has ancient origins dating back to the fourth century, when St. Hilary of Poitier penned the first Christmas hymn, it wasn’t until centuries later that rock injected its rebellious spirit into the holiday melody.
The earliest traces of Christmas carols are found in English carols from the 16th century, predating the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll.
However, the marriage of Christmas and rock began in the mid-20th century, forever altering the sound of the season.
If you inquire about the first rock Christmas song, Google might point you to Bobby Helms’ 1957 hit “Jingle Bell Rock.” Yet, a month before this toe-tapping classic, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, made a groundbreaking move. In October 1957, Elvis gifted the world “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” announcing, “It’ll be a rock ’n’ roll Christmas.”
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Featuring tracks like “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Back in Town,” Elvis blended blues, gospel, and Christmas carols, defying convention.
The media’s reception was frosty, with some deeming it “sacrilegious.” Elvis faced backlash for his rendition of “White Christmas,” criticized as a “barnyard version.” Despite the controversy, the album soared to the top of the charts, marking a seismic shift in holiday music.
In 1958, Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” and Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” further solidified rock’s place in the holiday canon.
The ’60s witnessed a surge in Christmas rock as The Beach Boys dropped “The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album” in 1964, riding the wave of Elvis’s yuletide rebellion.
Since then, rock and metal artists have embraced the festive spirit, crafting their own holiday anthems that blend the magic of Christmas with the rebellious energy of rock. As we trim the tree and deck the halls, the fusion of rock and Christmas continues to echo through the decades, creating a spirited soundtrack for the most wonderful time of the year.