The majority of these songs that will likely show up here are from the 1970’s and the early 80’s. And the majority of these songs were first heard, and heard often thereafter, on WRCN in Riverhead, NY and WPLR in New Haven, CT. The latter I was thrilled to discover – just 11 or so miles across Long Island Sound and crystal clear – after years of listening to the former and getting tired of the usual classic rock songs (among the songs I never need to hear again, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Freebird”).
A staple on those stations wasn’t really a Christmas song, per se. It was more of a Christmas skit. “Santa Claus & His Old Lady” cracks me up just as much every year. Cheeck kicks it off, trying to write a Christmas song, without much luck:
“Mamacita, donde esta Santa Cleese… The vato wit da bony knees…he comin’ down da street wit no choos on his feet… And he’s going to… no, no, that’s ain’t it… “Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus… Da guy wit da hair on his jaws…”
Along comes Chong, who needs a little bit of explaining as to who the jolly fat guy with the beard is:
Cheech: I’m trying to write a song about Santa Claus, man, but it’s not
Chong: About who, man?
Cheech: About Santa Claus, man. You know, Santa Claus, man?
Chong: Oh, yeah, man. I played with those dudes, man.
Chong: Yeah, last year at the Fillmore, man. Me and the bass player sat in, man.
From there Cheech tells the story of Santa Claus and Christmas. As he knows it, that is:
“Once upon a time, about, hmmm, five years ago, there was this groovy dude. And has name was Santa Claus, y’know? And he used to live over in the Projects with his old lady, and they had a pretty good thing together
because his old lady was really fine, and she could cook and all that…stuff like that, y’know. Like, she made da best brownies in town, man! Oh, I could remember ’em now, man. I could eat one of ’em, man…”
If you’ve heard this before you know where the story goes. Santa flies around the world delivering the brownies to kids, in a sled with reindeer that’s powered by “magic dust.”
And in the end, Chong remains confused by who Santa is:
Cheech: Yeah. He’s gotta job in front of da department store, ringing this bell And playing this tambourine next to this black pot, y’know?
Chong: Awww, I’ve seen the dude, man!
Cheech: Yeah! You know who I’m talking about, man!
Chong: Yeah, man! I played with that cat last year, man!
Chong: Yeah, we played in front of a store, man! We made a lot of bread, man!
Cheech: Aw, hey, wait a minute, man! Santa Claus is not a musician, man!
Chong: I’m hip, man! That cat didn’t know any tunes, man
Still cracks me up, year after year.