brent johnson presents a Christmas gem from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers …
Imagine playing ‘White Christmas’ is June. ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ in July. Or even ‘My Favorite Things’ in August. So many Christmas songs are so woven into the holiday that they truly work only one time of year.
But not ‘Christmas All Over Again’ by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
The 1992 track was Petty & Co.’s contribution to A Very Special Christmas — a great series of albums from the late ’80s and early ’90s featuring pop stars playing yuletide-themed tunes. This one has a few holiday hallmarks: a joyful melody, sleigh-bell percussion, lyrics about mistletoe. But it’s also got Beatlesque chords; a wall of 12-string guitars; a gleeful chorus; a sudden, slightly off-kilter bridge; and Petty asking Santa for a new Rickenbacker guitar.
In other words, ‘All Over’ isn’t a Christmas song that happens to be pop. It’s a pop song that happens to be about Christmas. And that’s hard to pull off.
So feel free to add it to your soundtrack as you count down the days to Dec. 25. But don’t be surprised if you hear it blasting through the Johnson household in spring. It’s good any time of year, really.