I got the following tongue-in-response to last week’s column:
“Dear Mister Editor Man,
While I enjoyed your column in the Dec. 19 edition of the Daily Advance, I fear you bungled the issue about the best song. The best Christmas Song EVER was “The Little Drummer Boy” on the “Very Special Christmas” CD produced by Bob Seger And the Silver Bullet Band in 1987. The CD raised millions for Special Olympics and is a must-have in any household.
I will expect to see a retraction of your statement in the next issue of the newspaper.
The Perquimans Weekly”
My pal Peter raises a fair question, so let’s compare Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with Seger’s “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger both are great classic rock artists. They are two of the best.
I won’t even try to pick one over the other.
On the scorecard I’ll award five points to each record for being performed by an awesome artist.
Score so far: 5-5.
Springsteen’s longtime saxophonist, the late Clarence Clemmons, is a highlight of the “Santa Claus” performance. Clemmons grew up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, right across the state line.
Sure, it’s out of state, but I’m awarding hometown pride points — five of them — because of Clemmons’ regional ties.
Seger and most of his band members hail from Detroit. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not around here.
Score so far: Springsteen 10, Seger 5.
“Drummer Boy” gets five points for being dramatic and poignant. Seger’s vocal gives me goose bumps every time. It’s just beautiful.
Seger gets five points for poignancy. I’m afraid Springsteen gets shut out in this category.
Score now: 10-10.
Springsteen deserves five points for his nostalgic nod to the Crystals’ early 1960s version of Santa Claus, which influenced Springsteen’s own arrangement and performance. Kudos to Springsteen for respecting the real classic rock and keeping it alive.
On the other hand, Seger took “Drummer Boy” and made it his very own. It takes some doing to work with a great song and leave your signature on it the way Seger did.
I’ll have to award Seger 10 points for originality.
Score so far: Seger 20, Springsteen 15.
Seger gets five points for charitable work since his recording was raising money for Special Olympics. I was going to award points to Springsteen on the same basis, since he has a long history of supporting charities and advocating for social justice.
Honestly, though, that has nothing to do with his performance of “Santa Claus is coming to Town,” so all the points in this category go to Seger.
Score now: Seger 25, Springsteen 15.
Of course, Springsteen’s “Santa Claus” is awarded 30 points for including the line “the wind is whipping down the boardwalk.”
Final score: Springsteen 45, Seger 25.
Hey — my column, my rules.
By the way, Rob Kelly-Goss told me the greatest Christmas record ever is the Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet on “Little Drummer Boy.”
Happy New Year.