Christmas Tunes that Rock (Updated for Dec 2021)

Published on 20 December 2021

Every year when Christmas rolls around, there isn’t a family that doesn’t have an argument about the music. It doesn’t matter how much you protest, Cliff Richard is getting played, it’s unavoidable. That doesn’t mean you can’t be armed with a playlist of your own though, giving you some rocking tracks to shake things up between egg nogs. Take a look at our festive favourites below!

Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)

Who doesn’t want Joey Ramone crooning to them on Christmas morning? No, your Nan doesn’t count! This is pure punk goodness from the very best and it’s the perfect way to start your day. With plenty of power chords and all the vibe you can handle, this is just the jam to open your pressies too.

Queen - Thank God It’s Christmas

Queen are no strangers to epic tracks and their Christmas offering is no different. Written by Brian May and Roger Taylor, this tune blows most Christmas classics out of the water. Although it wasn’t a massive chart success, it’s stood the test of time and is one of our very favourites. Plus who doesn’t need a little anthemic goodness for round the tree?

Blink 182 - I Won’t Be Home for Christmas

Okay, this one isn’t the most cheery but it’s definitely one of the most fun, You can always rely on Blink for a bit of moody silliness around the holidays! Telling the age-old tale of chasing carolers off the porch with a baseball bat, this really is a song we can all relate to… isn’t it!?

Weezer - We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Of course, a band with their own line of Snuggies have a Christmas song, you don’t get much cosier than Weezer after all! This rocking rendition of the Christmas classic is a staple on our Christmas playlist and that solo is REALLY satisfying to play. Why not annoy the whole family with it this year?

Lemmy, Dave Grohl & Billy F. Gibbons - Run Rudolph Run

Is this the most badass Christmas trio of all time? Yes, yes it is. With the ultimate bad Santa, Lemmy at the helm, this track adds all the snarl, pounding drums and big guitar riffs you can take to what could once have been an innocent Christmas carol. Frankly, we just love that these three legends got together for a bit of tongue in cheek festive fun - those BFG solos don't hurt either! The album it's on, We Wish You a Metal Christmas, is well worth a listen with tracks featuring everyone from Alice Cooper to Tony Iommi but we'll leave you to dive into that on Christmas morning.

Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas 

Adding a distinctively pop-punk/emo feel to your Christmas morning, Jimmy Eat World's take on this classic is a ton of fun and actually has some really nice guitar parts! The tones on here are just awesome and Jim Adkins' distinctive voice works surprisingly well with the track, who'd have thought it!? We have to say, the punks are pulling their weight when it comes to festive cheer! Just don't tell them we said that. This is an absolute essential for after you've overdone it on turkey, be warned though, it's pretty addictive and may well be on your rotation well into the new year...

The Cribs - Christmas (All Year Long)

We don't get too many Crimbo tunes these days aside from X Factor winners (is that still a thing!?) but thankfully, the Wakefield lads have got us covered. The Cribs have always had a bit of love for cheesy old tunes so it makes a ton of sense that they'd throw their own, fuzzy, guitar mangling Santa hats into the ring. We're loving that this accompanied their new album and that with everything else going on they decided to inject a bit of Christmas cheer into 2020! Merry Cribsmas!

Goldfinger - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

That's right people, ska is still a thing. You thought you'd escaped, didn't you? Not from us! Only at guitarguitar would Goldfinger find themselves on a list with Queen! The band actually went as far as releasing a whole Christmas EP and when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense! There's an upbeat silliness to ska-punk that just matches the latter end of your Christmas day perfectly, a little like a mince pie after your meal... We picked this track as a standout because it features a certain Mr Barker on drums, get the suit on and show the whole family your moves!

Tenacious D & Sum 41 - Things That I Want

You may want to swerve this one around your granny, or indeed if you're easily offended by bad language! Tenacious D and Sum 41 is a match made in... somewhere... and we challenge you to find a harder-rocking Crimbo tune than this sheer brilliance! In this, uhm, less than traditional track, Jack Black takes Santa head on with his Christmas list, demanding everything from a see through jumpsuit to a solid gold Harley with machine guns on the front, all to some tasty galloping riffs. Santa must've cowered in terror when he heard this, Mr Black is not someone to mess with around the festive period!

The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)

So here we are rockers, you've reached the pinnacle of rocking Christmas music, you have braved Lemmy, Joey Ramone and Freddy Mercury and have reached the summit... The Darkness, of COURSE, were the first name on our list, not for the cat suits, not for the children's choir, not for the double-necked axe but for the hardest rocking Christmas track that's dominated the charts in the last decade. This ever so slightly cheeky power ballad is a genuinely cracking tune with awesome guitar parts and as always, a stand out vocal performance from Justin. We absolutely love these guys for never taking themselves too seriously, but having the tunes to back up their hard-rocking image. If these guys don't keep the dream alive and get you feeling festive, no one will.

Final Thoughts

You've made it! We hope that our Crimbo crackers help to liven up your day and didn't cause too many arguments... (Tenacious D probably didn't help). We could, of course, go on but we reckon this lot are the crème de la crème outside of the obvious and the last thing we want to do is reach the really obscure (please don't mention that Thin Lizzy/Pistols collab). Christmas is all about family and fun, so get the tunes on and celebrate however you see fit. All the best guys and Merry Crimbo from all of us at guitarguitar. 

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