Reggae is a relatively new music genre, developed in Jamaica in
the 1960s. Although most Jamaican music is often thought of as
being reggae, the term 'reggae' actually describes a particular
rhythm and style, usually slower than ska or rocksteady. No-one is
quite sure exactly where the word 'reggae' comes from - some
artists claim that it is derived from the word streggae, used to
describe someone who looks 'raggedy', whilst others claim that it
is derived from the sounds made on the organs and guitar. Reggae
music has a distinct style and this distinct style lends itself
well to laidback Christmas music - so sit back with something
tropical and relax into the sounds of Christmas with our list of
reggae Christmas music.
1) The RAS Family - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
If Christmas classics are your favourite type of Christmas
music, you'll love this version of classic Christmas carol We Wish
You A Merry Christmas. With a laidback vibe and a beat that you can
groove to, this is one of the real classic reggae Christmas songs.
Plus, it showcases the vocals of some of the best reggae artists:
Peter Broggs, Don Carlos, Freddie McGregor, Michigan & Smiley,
June Lodge, Glenice Spenser, Eek-A-Mouse and Pablo Black.
2) Eek-A-Mouse - The Night Before Christmas
Eek-A-Mouse, also known by his birth name Ripton Hylton is a
Jamaican reggae musician and singer who has been releasing music
since he was in college - in fact, his first records were produced
by his maths teacher! This Christmas offering from him is a cover
of another classic carol, The Night Before Christmas, and is a
little darker than and not quite as frivolous as some of the other
songs on our list - but it's still fantastic.
3) Pablo Black - Silent Night
This fantastic reggae cover of classic carol Silent Night is
absolutely a wonderful example of reggae music - and it's an even
better example of reggae Christmas music. Pablo Black is a Jamaican
reggae musician and producer and is a well-known artist on the
reggae circuit. This song would be a definite welcome addition to
any Christmas driving playlist.
4) Peter Broggs - Twelve Days of Christmas
This slowed-down version of classic song Twelve Days of
Christmas, by internationally-recognised reggae artist and musician
Peter Broggs is one of our favourite Christmas covers ever. The new
reggae lyrics and pared down backing track really show off Broggs'
smooth reggae vocals to perfection.
5) Freddie McGregor - Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad is a traditional Spanish Christmas song that was
originally written by Jose Feliciano in 1970. Since then, the song
has been covered many times by many different artists, including
Celine Dion, and has become a classic song in the U.S., the
Philippines and Canada. This reggae version puts a spin on the
traditionally Spanish-inspired Christmas song and it's a real gem.
Definitely worth a place on your Christmas playlist.
6) Don Carlos & Glenice Spencer - Jingle Bells
This version of absolute classic Jingle Bells is both reggae and
traditional, making it a wonderful mix of the two styles. With
classic sleigh bells but also a typical reggae beat, this is a
brilliant example of Don's vocals. Don was very popular during the
80s dance hall craze but this Christmas offering from him is
distinctly reggae in flavour.
7) June Lodge - Joy to the World
This is a brilliant reggae tune with English music influences.
Sung by June Lodge, an English singer born to a Jamaican father,
June was taken to Jamaica as a child where she was immersed in
reggae culture and sung along to everything she heard. Lodge has
released mainly reggae records, although she's also released
R&B and pop records. This version of Joy to the World is both
traditional and reggae in style and shows off June's unique vocals
in a lovely, festive way.
8) Michigan & Smiley - Drummer Boy
This genius reggae dancehall version of Christmas classic
Drummer Boy is perfect for having a boogie to. With the classic
reggae beat, a stylised backing track and some inventive new
interpretations of the original arrangement, this is definitely one
for any Christmas disco playlist.
9) Barrington Levy - I Saw Mommy Kiss a Deadlocks
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is probably one of the most
popular Christmas songs of our time - it's one of those songs that
everyone can remember and that pretty much everyone knows the words
to. Because of that, this reggae version is likely to come as a
surprise - with entirely new reggae lyrics, describing mommy
kissing a man with dreadlocks underneath the barley tree, this is a
brilliant Christmas cover.
10) Bryan Adams - Reggae Christmas
Bryan Adams isn't particularly well known for his reggae roots,
but this reggae-style Christmas offering from him is actually far
more authentic than you might think. This song has the classic
reggae beat and Adams' vocals are also slower and more laidback
than usual, making this song, in our opinion, a genius reggae
11) Yellowman - We Wish A Reggae Christmas
Reggae artist, DJ and musician Yellowman is also a dancehall DJ,
widely known across the reggae scene as King Yellowman. This
Christmassy offering from him is yet another brilliant combination
of classic and reggae - chock a block of sleigh bells and violins
set to a reggae beat, Yellowman wishes us a Reggae Christmas and a
Reggae New Year in this wonderful festive treat.
12) Bob Marley & The Wailers - White Christmas
Bob Marley, probably one of the most well-known reggae artists
of all time, often heralded as the King of Reggae is up next with
The Wailers with this stellar version of White Christmas. It's
still a slow and traditional Christmas number, but with Bob's
wonderful vocals and slow and sultry style of singing pepping it
up. Give this a listen if you're looking for something a little
different this Christmas.
13) The Dreadlocks - Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The rather aptly named band The Dreadlocks are 13th on our list
with this sunshine-filled version of classic number Santa Claus is
Coming to Town. Taken from the album A Reggae Christmas: Yule
Favourites With A Reggae Beat, this is another great blend of
classic and reggae styles to create an overall wonderful festive
14) Honey Boy - Away In A Manger
This is Away In A Manger like you've never, ever heard it
before. With a dancey reggae beat, staccato reggae vocals, it also
morphs into Jingle Bells halfway through to give you two classic
Christmas songs for the price of one! Honey Boy is a hugely
influential reggae artist and this festive offering from him is
absolutely one of the best Christmas covers we've heard.
15) Thriller U - It's Christmas
This festive tune from Jamaican reggae singer is one of the more
modern songs on our list - with a definite popular R&B feel and
a slow and smoochy backing track, this is the perfect song for
having a slow dance to this Christmas!