Christmastime is here again, and its music is coming at us from every direction. Whether you love it or hate it, I am confident you’ll find these 10 songs sung by women worthy of your attention. A little rock, a little soul, and some delightful spins on classics, this playlist shakes the bah humbugs from even the most determined holiday grouch.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Diana Ross
Born and raised in Detroit, Diana Ross rose to fame as the lead singer for the Supremes (one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time). Ross is the only female artist to have number one singles as a solo artist; as the other half of a duet (Lionel Richie); as a member of a trio; and, as an ensemble member. Watch her perform It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with a full orchestra.
Go Tell It On The Mountain: Dolly Parton
Oh Dolly, how we love you. A lot of folks have been talking about the new podcast Dolly Parton’s America from NPR (and rightly so). However, look no further than this video of Dolly performing Go Tell It On The Mountain to grasp the power of her voice.
One More Sleep: Leona Lewis
Singer, songwriter and actress Leona Lewis recorded this tune in 2013; it peaked at number three on UK charts. With this chart entry, Lewis became the first British female solo artist to reach the top five with eight singles. Click here to lose yourself in the sweetness of One More Sleep.
Blue Christmas: Heart (Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson)
This one was a delightful find. Since 1973 the vocalists for Heart have been sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson. The band has had top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s. In 2013, Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here they offer a beautiful rendition of the Elvis Presley classic Blue Christmas.
Last Christmas: Carly Rae Jepsen
Starting out Carly Rae Jepsen performed several lead roles in her high school’s musical productions and pursued musical theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Now a chart-topping singer, Jepsen recently stopped by the NPR Music’s Tiny Desk. She also has recorded a lovely version of George Michael’s Last Christmas, which you can hear here.
Let It Snow: Lucious Jackson
A band that came on the scene during the 1990s, Lucious Jackson offers this playful take on the classic holiday tune Let It Snow. The band’s biggest hit is the song Naked Eye. They were the first band The Beastie Boys signed to Grand Royal label.
Christmas Wrappings: The Waitresses
For me it isn’t the holidays without this tune from the 1980s. The late Patty Donahue was lead singer for The Waitresses, who played their debut concert on New Year’s Eve 1980. I dare you to not to tap your foot while listening to Christmas Wrappings.
Puppies Are Forever: Sia
In this catchy tune from Sia’s album Everyday Is Christmas, the singer and animal rights activist reminds us to cherish puppies (and dogs) throughout the year, not just at Christmas. As a child Sia imitated the performing style of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting, whom she cites as early influences.
Christmas Times A Coming: Emmylou Harris
Singer, songwriter, and musician Emmylou Harris has been sharing her dazzling voice for decades. In 2018, she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. From her album Christmas Album Light of the Stable comes this delightful version of Christmas Times A Coming.
Do You Hear What I Hear: Whitney Houston
This list cannot end without sharing the late, great Whitney Houston’s version of Do You Hear What I Hear. How lucky we are this live performance of the song was recorded. Houston remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time.