Christmas inspires an eccentric creativity in some. Take the cover art on these Christmas compilations. Makes us wonder about Colonel Sanders plugging Christmas carols—and what’s Slim Whitman doing wearing a Hef-like bathrobe on the cover of his Christmas album? Maybe you’ve always wondered what a disco version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town would sound like; wish to head-bang and/or air guitar to a death metal version of The Little Drummer Boy; or want to polka around the tree to Alvin Styczynski’s Polish renditions of Christmas classics.
These artists have such offbeat tastes and more covered. Along the way, they’ve made some interesting choices in their cover art. Behold! Here are 15 cringeworthy Christmas album covers our eyes cannot unsee.
15 Christmas Song (Ding Dong)
Günther’s 2004 song “Christmas Song (Ding Dong)” from his album Pleasureman brought him nationwide fame in Sweden. He released an album in 2011 called Dirty Man Swedish S*x Beast. He participated in Eurovision’s 2017 Song Contest (in collaboration with singer D’Sanz) and placed fifth. Going by this album cover pic, Günther’s seemingly cultivating a tongue-in-cheek German expressionist persona.
It’s probably safe to assume that Günther’s an animal lover, too. One of his singles is called “Pussycat” and he also sits with this adorable pooch for this album cover. While there’s nothing whatsoever festive-seeming about Günther himself here, we get the awws whenever we see this little pup with a Santa hat on his head. Is this furry, four-legged friend one of The Sunshine Girls?
14 Rico’s ‘stache could use some bleach, stat
You’d think if you were doing an album cover, you’d take extra special care with the photograph that’s going to be the face and major selling point of the whole project. Some say “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but many people do judge books, albums and people from outward appearances, so we have to take care sometimes. Aesthetics are pretty important in certain arenas of life and may even make or break any chance of success.
It may take years (sometimes) for a serious artist to compose and record an album so you’d think that after putting that kind of effort into a project, Rico would want to make sure that his Santa ‘stache doesn’t make it look like he’s been eating the yellow snow.
13 Colonel Sanders: Jack of all trades
Who knew Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) was a music man? Well, he may have started up his hugely successful chicken restaurants at a late retirement age, but he never claimed to be a singer or musician. He did, however, love music enough to put his face and name to compilations of his favorite Christmas songs featuring various artists between 1967 and 1969. Each of the three albums released had covers featuring the Colonel wearing a Santa hat.
So if you’d like to nod off fireside in the midst of a festive scene on Christmas Eve to Jim Reeves’ rendition of “Silent Night”—well, here you go. The Colonel’s playlist includes Christmas classics performed by artists such as Chet Atkins, Henry Mancini and his Orchestra and Vic Damone.
12 In space, no one can hear you sing…
This album sounds hilarious and has to be a spoof. Even the cover seems purposely badly Photoshopped featuring Thorne posing with his head edited into a space suit. Reading the playlist, no titles resembling any “Christmas classics” are there, so we’ll take his word that songs like “Captain Stubing” (of TV’s The Love Boat fame) and “That Song About Feeling Sad About Something” fit into the festive category.
One Amazon.com reviewer wrote of this album that it’s "destined to be a holiday classic" and elaborates in their review: "My favorite tracks are the excessively loud ones where you can hear David breathing. It really helps me to feel like I'm part of the performance. The running water and dish clattering noises also add to the experience."
11 Best re-think your wardrobe choice, Slim
Slim seems maybe a little underdressed for his Christmas album cover. While we understand that he wants to convey a homey feel by posing in his bathrobe, wearing robes for any sort of socializing event also has creepy connotations and has been widely considered off-putting since the heydays at Playboy Mansion, when Hugh Hefner famously partied and lazed around the grounds and grotto in his pajamas. Nowadays, in this day and age, robes are more ickily associated with Harvey Weinstein-type antics, with one of Weinstein’s predatory ploys being to corner aspiring actresses in hotel rooms wearing just his bathrobe while badgering them for massages and more. Ugh. Wrong call on the wardrobe here, Slim. If Slim were still alive, we’d recommend a re-shoot.
10 Merry Christmas with The Mom and Dads
According to Wikipedia, this album was released in 1972 and featured a quartet of musicians who hailed from Spokane, Washington and took their name from what they considered to be their main occupations—being a Mom and three Dads to their families—since music-making, for this group, was strictly a part-time endeavor. They generally specialized in easy listening, polka and waltz music.
This album’s playlist looks like it contains fairly traditional Christmas standards. Shouldn’t there be more than one Mom, though, in the group? It’s a shame that more Dads than Moms could take time out back in the day from their families to play in a band.
This group continued to record until the early 1980s when their accordion player, Leslie Welch (one of the Dads) died.
9 Feliz Navidon’t
Probably the best-known version of the classic Christmas song “Feliz Navidad” was performed by its writer, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Jose Feliciano, back in 1970. There are also many cover versions of this Christmas classic, probably most notably by the band Boney M. It’s also been covered by diverse artists such as David Hasselhoff, Charo, Garth Brooks and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s virtually impossible to go through a single Christmas season without rocking out to one version or another of this popular song.
The group Hector, Yomo Y Daniel, released their own Latin salsa cover of this song with this album cover back in 1979. Now pardon us as we go bleach our eyeballs that have been traumatized by the sight of this grown man evidently impersonating Baby Jesus in a pram.
8 Mambo Kurt’s funhouse mirror
When we first saw this album cover, we worried that maybe Mambo Kurt made it in earnest. Perhaps he tried to symbolize that reflective moment during the festive season where one’s confronted by their own image within a dangling Christmas ornament and has some kind of spiritual awakening or epiphany that drives them to revise their New Year’s resolutions list. Maybe Mambo Kurt finally notices his disproportionately large, yellow-tinted glasses and vows to get fitted for a new, more flattering pair of lenses in the coming year.
The festive funhouse mirror effect of this cover is probably a comedic touch, however, since Mambo Kurt’s a German novelty act that performs covers of various rock classics and apparently, on this album, some Christmas tunes, too.
7 Christmas disco
Disco sort of naturally has a Christmas vibe to it. The classic mirrored disco ball is really much like a giant Christmas ornament dangling from the ceilings of dimly-lit dance floors year round: they’re spherical and when you hang them they cast points of light—much like sparkling Christmas lights seen everywhere throughout December. Who doesn’t dream of festive boogie nights at the legendary dance club Studio 54, circa Christmas 1977? Well, maybe some of us don’t, but if we wanted to replicate the sound and feeling of the era in our own living rooms, we could just give the above records a spin and do The Hustle or Y.M.C.A. along to disco versions of classics such as “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” and “Deck The Halls.”
6 Angel in a bathrobe?
Howard Hewett released this collection of funk/soul versions of Christmas classics in 2008. It features a couple of songs Hewett co-wrote, in addition to covers of yuletide tunes, such as “What Child Is This” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” That’s all fine and dandy but dude, what is with the pajamas? First, Slim Whitman and now you. We get that Hewett’s probably trying to suggest that he’s a singing Christmas angel or something, though we notice he’s not wearing any halo or wings (maybe that’d be too obvious). Anyhow—Howie—please go put on some clothes. You’ve clearly already changed into “something more comfortable” when we haven’t even broken bread yet. We’re just trying to listen to your album here, dude. Don’t get too comfortable.
5 Christmas never will be the same
Christmas N Memphis was released in December 2002 by Memphis rapper Indo G. From the look of the album’s playlist, he does parody rap versions inspired by certain classic Christmas songs, probably taking a lot of lyrical, melodic and creative license when creating raps for “Frosty The Blowman,” “Big Momma’s House” and “All I Want For Christmas Is My Charges Dropped”.
Here’s another bad Photoshop, presumably with Indo G’s face edited into a Santa suit. Santa’s at gunpoint here, too, and it’s about time! What’s with all the B&E’s he gets away with every Christmas Eve? Who’s to say he isn’t raiding a few jewelry boxes and busting into some safes because he knows when we’re sleeping? He shouldn’t get away with it just because he’s Santa!
4 Let’s do-si-do around the tree with Alvin…
Alvin may look like the biggest nerd ever, but he’s actually a true polka legend. Alvin’s actually a rock star in the world of polka. According to the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame’s website (where Alvin was inducted for a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010), Alvin taped his first televised polka show in July, 1970 and it ran for “nine years and was one of the highest rated polka shows in the United States.” Hmm. One of the highest rated? How many polka shows are out there out, anyway?
Alvin may be awesome, but, according to discogs.com, Alvin’s Christmas Album (pictured above) sales status reads: “Last sold: Never”. Now we’re sad for Alvin—and we’re supposed to be happy—after all, it’s Christmas.
3 When Christmas and death go together like Santa and Satan…
These two albums could comprise your playlist for any countercultural festive events.
Death Metal Christmas features “hellish renditions of Christmas classics” and some reviews posted on the album’s website (by posters such as ‘Angry Metal Guy’) say it’s actually a serious effort with sharp musicianship and perhaps not as jokey as one might expect. Track titles include “Unrest For Melancholy Men” (to the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") and “Nutcracker: Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy.”
Christmas on Death Row was a fundraising Christmas album released in December 1996 (proceeds went to charity) featuring various artists associated with the Death Row record label. Snoop Dogg performs “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto,” which is all we need to know. Sold!
2 If ‘Christmas at the Organ’ is wrong, we don’t want to be right…
We believe Christopher Bowes is trying to look angelic wearing white. That’s the implied metaphor we’re reading into his pure-as-the-driven-snow white blazer and shirt. At least he’s not wearing a bathrobe. This is progress! However, appropriate his wardrobe here may be, he’s being somewhat suggestive with his album title. There’s more than one way to interpret the phrase Christmas at the Organ, after all. While we’ll leave any additional definitions to your imagination, we believe Christopher Bowes intends to play for us on his keyboard organ. He may play one-handed (he has to hold that glass of wine, after all) but play he will. What do we expect to hear? Traditional yuletide hymns and seasonal Christmas tunes, while he tries not to spill that wine.
1 Beware the wrath of Tiny Tim
We know that Tiny Tim’s professional name is probably inspired by the sweet and poignant Dickens’ character and he might be somewhat tiny himself in person (it’s in his name, after all); and, thus, not very intimidating. We also know that Tiny Tim strums a ukulele and sings lighthearted songs about tiptoeing through the tulips and such, but this image of him is pretty sinister. It stays with you and haunts your nightmares. Who knew Tiny Tim could be capable of such a menacing look? While wearing a Santa hat, to boot.
Of this album, one reviewer on amazon.ca writes: “The less serious songs are fun and entertaining but the more traditional songs are about as enjoyable as a root canal without painkillers.” Sounds like a keeper.