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Humorous Christmas Carols
No sooner than a popular poem or song becomes popular, you can expect to see or hear a parody of it somewhere. This is hardly a new phenomena. One of the first known "take-off" of A Visit From St. Nicholas (popularly known as ‘Twas the night before Christmas) appeared within a decade of the first publication.
These parodies have been written by numerous individuals; one currently finds attribution to Howard Ryan, R. L. Gunn, "Christmas" Carol Blake, Dave "Candy Coin" Cash, Erica Avery, Mark Roberts, Leah Roberts, LeAnne Davis, Scott Davis, Patricia Shaffer, Matt Magnasco, Morley Dotes, Bill Dekle, Eric Cooper, Will Hartje, Chris Duel, Kip Adotta, Bob "Grandpa "Tucker, C. Jarboe, W. P. Max, and D. M. Goldstein.
But one of the most prolific writers of humorous Christmas carols is Bob Rivers, a Seattle, Washington radio personality. In addition to parodies of Christmas songs, Bob has written, recorded and issued numerous other parodies of songs. He currently has 19 CDs of parodies, five of which are Christmas parodies (The "Boxed Set" contains Twisted Christmas and I Am Santa Claus).
A bio prepared by Bob Rivers follows:
Meet Bob Rivers...We do the morning radio program (6-10am) on KISW, Seattle's Best Rock. In some ways we're a typical rock and roll morning radio team. We play tunes to make your ears bleed, do news, weather, sports, etc. But in other ways, we are a bit unusual. We invite listeners to come in and watch us every morning. We call them "backstage pass" guests. Every year we hold an outdoor rock festival with up to 2,000 listeners at a private park in Issaquah WA. We call it "Nudestock". Everybody's naked.
I have a long radio history which began at age 7, when I saw my first radio broadcaster doing a live remote from the grand opening of the W T Grant store in Branford. CT. I think his name was "TJ Martin". I was instantly hooked on radio. I noticed he made his living by listening to music, speaking to millions of people in a playful way, and best of all, he did it all while sitting down. The Radio Station was WAVZ, New Haven. It was programmed by a guy named Les Garland (who later went on to be one of the founders of MTV).
This was top 40 radio. The jocks never talked for more than 8 seconds, and nearly everything they said was written out for them on these 5 X 8 index cards they called "Liners". All you needed to be a big star was a deep voice and basic reading skills. I knew for absolute sure at that age that I could do this.
Since I was only 7 at the time, I would have to wait for the deep voice. But I did not wait that long to practice. I started listening to the radio and mimicking the phrases and voices I heard. I would announce to everyone that it was a "Solid Gold Weekend on 1340, WNHC" and that it was going to be "Partly Cloudy with a high of 56". I was a loner and did not have many friends.
When I was 14 years old I joined a Junior Achievement Club at WNHC that actually let High School students broadcast for a half hour on Sunday Morning. I was on the air! My voice had not changed yet, but that didn't matter. I would practice practice practice reading news copy. I was such a pain in the butt to every employee at that station that most would quickly pretend to be busy if they saw me coming.
One day a guy named "Pete Moss" (his real name was Gary Peters, but in those days you had to have a wacky name) told me I would have a great future in broadcasting.
When I was about 15, a high school buddy named Jeff Colter built me a bootleg radio transmitter. It was strong enough to broadcast to my whole town of Branford, CT. I set up a little closet in the basement with two turntables, a crude mixer, and a tape deck. I called my little underground station WBRG. It was named after my favorite food at the time: The hamburger. For the past 7 years, I've worked for a guy named Berger. Eerie coincidence.
I would call my friends and tell them to tune their radios to 1610AM so they could hear my broadcasts. I gave out my home telephone number as a request line. My parents suspected that what I was doing was illegal (it was: the FCC fine was 10,000 a day), and besides, the poorly shielded transmitter interfered with the TV upstairs. I'd be in the middle of playing DJ, and my Mom would come in and pull the transmitter plug. It was embarrassing. At least I didn't get the plug pulled by the authorities, like my friend Bruce Macfarlane. Bruce was my very first radio buddy. We worked at 3 or 4 stations together and did some things that are best left unpublished. Bruce was a TV weatherman for awhile; did a soft-rock 6-10pm radio shift in New York City and then left the radio business. I think those 4 hour work days burned him out. The pressure gets to a lot of us.
In the beginning of my career, I remember being proud of the fact that I'd worked in one capacity or other at 20 different stations in 5 years. Some stations I remember working at: WLIS, WAVZ, WNHC, WELI, WCDQ, WFIF, WCCC, WTOR, WYBC, WNHU, WWCO, WSAR, WTSV, WECM, WFRD, WFTQ, WAAF, WIYY, and now KISW.
Half the time I was fired and the other half I quit just before they intended to fire me. My first on-air paying job lasted just 1 four hour airshift. It was on WLIS, Old Saybrook, CT. (I guess I fudged the music list a little.) I was 16 years old.
When I was in my early 20's (for some reason, those years are a little fuzzy), I actually quit Radio to become a Rock Star. I figured it was even easier than radio, since Rock Stars only worked for about 90 minutes at a time, and could sleep in everyday. I loved playing music, although I was only fair at it.
What I did discover was that I had a great ear. Even though I couldn't play like a genius, I could recognize talent and coax it out of others. When the time came to mix recordings, I had a vision of how it could sound. And I loved the recording studio even more than the stage.
The band was called "Legend". Kind of a hokey name by today's standards, but this was back in the days of "Styx", "Journey", and "REO Speedwagon". Our drummer developed career ending tendentious , the singer had a nervous breakdown, and the band broke up.
I returned to Radio, and eventually I actually kept a job. I was very fortunate to work at WAAF, Worcester/Boston for 5 years. With the encouragement of some great radio people at what is now known as NewCity Communications, I began to explore new possibilities.
I became the morning show host at WAAF, mostly because they couldn't find anybody else they liked. I was there doing part time fill in, and I begged my way into the job on a trial basis. To make spare money, I would write and produce jingles for advertising clients of the station.
One day management announced that they were forming ACN. "The American Comedy Network", a group of talented performers who would produce syndicated comedy for morning shows. I offered to produce any music they might need, and they called on me to record a parody they had written. It was to the tune of Neil Sedaka's "Breakin Up Is Hard To Do". The song was "Breakin' Up Is Hard On You". It was about the split up of Ma Bell. (AT&T). I recorded it with a guy named Jim Perry singing lead vocals, and my on air sidekick- Zip Zipfel played drums. It was a huge hit nationwide. I became instantly rich and famous beyond my wildest dreams.
OK, so I am exaggerating a little. It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #69 with an anchor. We made a few hundred dollars. But the next thing I know, I don't have time for Jingles. I am producing comedy songs for these guys at A.C.N. every week. Working with a few friends (Brian Silva and Dennis Amero), we began writing the material and selling it to them. Brian and Dennis taught me a lot about writing lyrics. And the guys who produced The American Comedy Network inspired me to do more on air than just read promo's and liners.
In 1987 Brian, Dennis and I wrote "Twisted Christmas". About the same time the ABC Rock Radio Network asked me to supply syndicated song parodies for their Radio Stations. And I've been producing them every month since. They are now syndicated by the TM Century Radio Network, in Dallas TX.
Today I work with a lot of very talented people. My on-air co hosts: Downtown Joe and Spike O'Neill help brainstorm and write tunes with me, and I still collaborate with Dennis and Brian back in Boston. Over the years, I have built up a database of hundreds of session players. When I need a musician or vocalist, I have a tremendous pool of talented people to choose from. There is no way I could mention them all here now, but as this page develops I hope to include more info on them.
Twisted Tunes are recorded mostly in my home recording studio. It's a 24 Track basement with some nice gear. I use the old tube microphones and as many of the original instruments as possible when re creating the original sounds of a song.
Source: Bob Rivers
Copyright: 1987, Atlantic - Stock Number: 7 90671-2
Copyright: 1993, Atlantic - Stock Number: 82548-2
Copyright: 1997, Atlantic - Stock Number: 83043-2
Bob Rivers is in top form here plying his satire-ridden stocking-stuffer trade, serving up note-per-note knockoffs of everyone from Led Zeppelin and the B52s to Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and Tchaikovsky, among others. No lazy satirists, Rivers and company deliver not only grand musical copies but clever and witty lyrics that slum on the gutter side only occasionally ("Buttcracker Suite" being the biggest offender). The rest of the time it's good-natured stuff even ol' Scrooge could like. "It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year" apes Johnny Mathis, "Sled Zeppelin" nails the Plant-Page matrix, and the Beatles' rips, "Jesus' Birthday" and "All You Need Is Elves," also highlight the 13 tracks. But the most inspired cuts are a big-band swing version of the Rolling Stones' "Get off My Cloud" (here retitled "Hey You! Get Off My House") and Hendrix's "Purple Haze," knowingly recast as "Holidaze (Scuze Me, I've Got Gifts to Buy)." If that one doesn't grab yer funny bone, it may be time for that humor-marrow transplant.
Source: Dr. John Holleman [Link takes you to the main web site; the link to the article is broken.]
Bob Rivers & Twisted Radio, Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire
Released Fall, 2000.
Lost Holiday Songs
To Be Released 2000
Christmas is about tradition. And since 1987, radio personality and song parody king Bob Rivers has been as integral to the holiday tradition as presents under the tree, mistletoe, and eggnog-fueled battles between loving relatives. Rivers" hilarious send-ups of classic Yuletide tunes have garnered a widespread following among those looking for a moment’s respite from the pressure-filled hubbub that accompanies celebrations of Peace On Earth. From "Wreck The Malls" to "I Came Upon A Roadkill Deer," Rivers and his Twisted Radio creative team keep the Grinch at bay year after year. "The best thing about my records is they never go bad," says the wise-cracking Rivers. "They're always as fresh as grandma"s fruitcake."
In Seattle, Rivers is well known as the laugh-riot, rock "n" roll morning show host at KISW-FM. His own Twisted Radio company has been supplying current events-related song parodies to the ABC Radio Network for more than 5 years. It all comes together in Rivers" personally designed home studio, Bob's Garage, where - like one of Santa’s faithful helpers - he records and produces at a furious pace.
"TWISTED CHRISTMAS: BOXED SET" is a specially packaged 3-CD/cassette collection of Rivers' holiday hits, including 1987"s "TWISTED CHRISTMAS" (fast approaching the gold sales mark) and "93"s chimney-topping "I AM SANTA CLAUS." Highlights include the risqué" "Walking Around In Women's Underwear" and the hard-rocking "I Am Santa Claus," sung to the tune of Black Sabbath’s "Iron Man." Says Rivers: "If Santa were to be re-tooled for the "90s, he might well want to have a sturdier image. "Iron Man" seemed to fit the bill. If you listen to the song’s original lyrics, they’re uncannily Santa-like."
Collections of Christmas Carols & Poetry
Other Books by Doug Anderson
A Psalter – A Book of the Psalms Arranged by Luther's Categories
Betbüchlein: A Personal Prayer Book, a recreation of Luther's 1529 prayer book
Luther's Writings on Prayer: A Selection
Devotions for the Advent – 2009
The Lenten Sermons of Martin Luther, Second Edition
Descriptions of all these volumes can be seen at
Christmas is a wonderful, cheerful holiday. Whether we spend it by a real tree or some Balsam Hill artificial Christmas trees, at the end of the day what matters is that we enjoy our time together with our loved ones.
The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
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Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
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