The number that most embodies the spirit of the season depicts a violent robbery of Santa Claus. Thirty-five Christmases ago, The Kinks released “Father Christmas,” a gritty tale about a department-store Santa getting rolled by a gang of teenagers. “Father Christmas, give us some money/We got no time for your silly toys/We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over/Give all the toys to the little rich boys.”
It’s a 45 with a sense of humor. It also has a sense of the Beatitudes.
If upon first listen “Father Christmas” rings as cynicism inverting the spirit of giving into one of taking, subsequent spins reveal a track telling us to give thanks for our good fortune rather than the small fortune under the tree. A hoodlum instructs St. Nick to hold off on the Bionic Man costume for his brother and the cuddly doll for his sister. “But give my daddy a job cause he needs one/He’s got lots of mouths to feed.”
“Father Christmas” invites us to be more Christ like. An ode superficially about the ultimate expression of materialism (theft) becomes a spiritual admonition to remember the least among us.
And, as Dan points out, the ultimate coda to the song is how Ray Davies actually got shot in New Orleans when he chased two muggers!
By the way, Dan says the best Christmas songs “can be counted on an eight-beaded abacus” and lists “Silent Night” as one of the eight best.
I have to say that the only version of “Silent Night” that I can wholeheartedly endorse is Leah’s version. And I wish Dan could have seen her amazing show last night, because she did epic metal versions of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, “The Holly and the Ivy”, and “God Rest Ye Merry”, which Dan will have to make room for on his abacus! But more about Leah’s incredible concert later on, as Progarchy shall post a full review…