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The 12 Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time, Part 1

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Mahalia Jackson

The 12 days of Christmas begin Thursday and run until Epiphany, January 5. Here is a song for half those days. See what's in the other half tomorrow morning.

12. "Silent Night," Mahalia Jackson. The supreme Christmas melody requires the supreme voice, and if anybody's ever sung it prettier or more powerfully than Mahalia Jackson I haven't heard it. There are different renditions floating around. While some are better than others, all are devastating.

11. "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," Buck Owens. 'Cause everybody needs some ass-kickin' Bakersfield shiznit on their Xmas mix.

10. "Fairytale of New York," The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl. The greatest musical representation of a 10-degree New York Christmas ever; not to mention a fantastic commentary on marriage (and hell, life) in general.

9. "Merry Christmas from the Family," Robert Earl Keen. The greatest musical representation of a 70-degree Houston Christmas ever

8. "Christmas Time is Here," The Vince Guaraldi Trio. Not having this song in your Xmas mix should get you a one-way ticket to a fenced-in pen in Guantanamo.

7. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," Ellis Marsalis. The piano-pounding patriarch of the famed Marsalis clan delivers a swingin' and classic solid sender of a rendition of the hoary old classic. - John Nova Lomax

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