As a teenager, growing up in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, classic rock was my music of choice. Even in the depths of December, though, my local station–WROV, the Rock of Virginia–played very little Christmas music. Why? Mostly because there was very little to play. There just weren’t any Christmas songs–in 1979-1980–by Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, or Aerosmith.
Still, I do remember a handful of tracks that got regular airplay. Keith Richards’ version of “Run Rudolph Run“ came out in 1978 and Paul McCartney, the following year, released “Wonderful Christmastime.” Both the Kinks’ “Father Christmas” (1977) and Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas” (1975) were staples, as was Lennon’s “Merry Christmas (War Is Over)” (1971). Others included the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick” and David Bowie/Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.”
As a wildcard, I’d also mention the Who’s “Christmas” (1969), one of my favorites from Tommy.
As the seventies spilled over into the eighties, recording Christmas songs suddenly became cool again and there’d be a lot more records for DJs to spin. In 1979-1980, though, classic rock Christmas songs were slim pickings.