KIRO NIGHTS

Seattle Sounds: Five essential holiday songs that celebrate the area

Dec 13, 2022, 3:02 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 2:26 pm
holiday...
Rob Lind of the band 'The Sonics' performs on stage at The Moore Theater on April 2, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

Right after the last slice of turkey is gone, some people can’t wait to string the lights and put holiday music on the stereo. Others insist on waiting until Dec. 1. Still others would be happy to never hear a single note of seasonal sappiness.

As the producer of KIRO Nights, one of the elements that makes our show special is our passion for music. Both myself and host Spike O’Neill are major music fans and incorporate that into the show both in topics and our “bumper” selections. It’s one of the few things our listeners can agree on. Usually.

But as soon as the Christmas tunes started, for every handful of listeners happy to hear it, there were — of course — complaints. So I set out to find truly different holiday tunes – ones that not everyone had heard before. And being in a city with such rich music culture, I knew I could find unique tracks from Seattle artists that hadn’t been overplayed in retail stores and on radio. Here are five of my favorites – with the hope you’ll enjoy adding them to your holiday playlist.

“Santa Claus” — The Sonics (1965)

Tacoma garage rockers The Sonics were one of those bands many non-locals may not have known by name, but whose influence reverberated through generations of rock and roll. Outfits from punk and garage rock, such as the Stooges and the White Stripes, testify to The Sonics’ impact on their sound and style. With this holiday original, an irresistible hook backs up the tale of a rocker’s wishlist – and a Santa that’s not inclined to fulfill it.

“Someday At Christmas” — Pearl Jam (2004)

Originally a 1966 single for R&B legend Stevie Wonder, this hopeful tune carries with it wishes for better times ahead, for ourselves and future generations. Proof that even grunge rockers can set aside angst and find a joyful groove for the holidays.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — Death Cab for Cutie (2004)

The original 1963 version of this song was a classic from the start. A joyously stomping soul rendition by Darlene Love. Then, Irish rockers U2 brought their anthemic rendition to a 1987 soundcheck at a Glasgow concert. From there, it was on to the Very Special Christmas compilation album, and their version became a seasonal staple. Then, a band that formed in Bellingham, fronted by Ben Gibbard, delivered in 2004 this wistful downtempo take on Nettwerk Records’ holiday compilation “Maybe This Christmas Tree.”

“Sleigh Ride” — The Ventures (1965)

When you think “surf music,” the images that spring to mind are of sand, sun, and waves. Drifting snow and icy blasts of wind, not so much. But on this 1965 cut, Tacoma’s Ventures perfectly mold the surf rock sound with a timeless holiday melody. This sonic seasonal tonic will lift your holiday spirits – whatever the weather may be.

“It’s Christmas Time (I’m Still Alive)” — Deep Sea Diver (2015)

Seattle’s Deep Sea Diver released their EP titled “It’s Christmas Time” in 2015. Alongside three traditional holiday standards, this original spotlights the powerful vocals of lead singer Jessica Dobson over instrumentation that perfectly captures a meditative winter’s mood while providing a warm sense of optimism.

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

KIRO Nights on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to kiro nightsTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 7 pm for KIRO Nights with Jack Stine.

KIRO Nights

KIRO Nights

protests...
Spike O'Neill

Spike: Tyre Nichols protests were peaceful because police were held accountable

While there were protests in numerous cities around the country, including here in Seattle, it wasn't violent. It wasn't destructive.
2 days ago
abortion...
L.B. Gilbert

Spike: WA constitutional abortion amendment should be an essential right

Spike says the right to bodily autonomy is an important aspect of people having the freedom to live their lives in the way they want.
8 days ago
mega millions...
KIRO Nights

Spike: Winning Mega Millions would pay the bills, but is it reasonable?

The lottery jackpot is huge again with tens of thousands of people clambering at the latest Mega Millions haul sitting at $940 million.
28 days ago
The Great Big KIRO Newsradio Holiday Special for 2022...
KIRO Newsradio staff

The Great Big KIRO Newsradio Holiday Special

Join your favorite KIRO Newsradio voices December 13th for a live radio holiday special!
2 months ago
four-day workweek...
Frank Sumrall

Four-day workweek movement gaining momentum in the U.S.

This movement is spearheaded by 4 Day Week, an organization that backs the idea of the four-day workweek as a part of the future.
2 months ago
cannabis...
L.B. Gilbert

Spike: ‘A good day in America’ after cannabis charges dropped

President Biden announced Thursday that he would begin the steps of pardoning all federal convictions of “simple possession” of cannabis.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Seattle Sounds: Five essential holiday songs that celebrate the area