The right soundtrack can go a long way in setting the mood for Christmas. Andy Williams belting out “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or Nat King Cole’s smooth take on “The Christmas Song” can snap almost anyone into the holiday spirit.
But not many people crank up David Hasselhoff’s version of “White Christmas” as they decorate the tree.
Listed below are eight bizarre Christmas music albums that — perhaps thankfully — never became holiday classics.
In 1980, “Star Wars” mania was at a fever pitch, thanks to the release of “The Empire Strikes Back” in May. When the holiday season came around, a “Star Wars” Christmas album hit shelves, including the voice talents of Anthony Daniels, who reprised his role as C-3PO, and a young Jon Bon Jovi in his first professional recording. The songs are mostly silly, including “What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?),” which you can hear below.
In the 1970s, an act called Mirror Image released tribute albums featuring disco versions of popular artists like Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers and the Eagles. In 1979, they cut a Christmas album that included painfully cheesy disco renditions of beloved songs including “O Tannenbaum,” “We Three Kings” and “Deck the Halls.” Strap on the platform shoes and check out the band’s take on “Good King Wenceslas” below.
This concept album from country music legend Conway Twitter tells the story of the singer and his friend Twitty Bird as they visit Santa Claus in a place called Toyland Towne. The idea is bizarre enough but Twitty’s smooth voice paired with the chipmunk-esque tones of Twitty Bird make for a strange union. Twitty’s estate remastered the album in 2007 for its first CD and digital pressing. Hear them sing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” below.
The Hoff’s aforementioned foray into holiday music features the actor belting out 14 Christmas classics. The record’s most epic moment comes in the opening track, a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” which lasts nearly 7 minutes. Hear Hasselhoff’s rendition of “Deck the Halls” below.
The King’s 1957 Christmas album is regarded as one of the greatest holiday records of all time — and for good reason — but this 2008 collection of cut-and-paste duets isn’t on the same level. Presley’s vocals are mashed up with singers including Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and Olivia Newton-John for 10 posthumous duets. In ripping the album, the Los Angeles Times asked, “Is it too much to ask to let the poor man rest in peace?” Hear Presley and Underwood sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” below.
Arguably one of the most unlikely celebrities to cut a Christmas record, Rupaul’s cheekily titled “Ho Ho Ho” includes versions of “Santa Baby” and “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” The album also features RuPaul’s version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” called “RuPaul the Red-Nosed Drag Queen.” Hear that track below.
At the age of 74, after a long, successful career, TV personality Regis Philbin decided to record a Christmas album. Why not? Philbin cuts versions of everything from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to “Marshmallow World.” In a slightly original version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Donald Trump — or “the Trumpster,” as Philbin calls him — shows up as a guest. Watch the animated video for that track below.
This record is perhaps the ultimate proof that people will buy anything if it involves a cute puppy. “Christmas Unleashed” features 12 holiday tracks “sung” by a pack of barking dogs. The pups belt out versions of favorites including “Away in a Manger” and “Oh Christmas Tree” over karaoke-style instrumental beds. Listen to dogs — and cats — unite in a rendition of “Carol of the Bells” below.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.