Chris Uggen's Blog: best winter songs - 2013 update

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

best winter songs - 2013 update

When I put up a list of winter songs in 2007, I really just wanted to spread a li'l love for flexible flyers and skyways. But so many folks are googling "best winter songs" that I try to patch up the links, update the list, and work in a few suggestions every year. Maybe I'm just paying more attention today, but I'm sensing a wintersong resurgence -- I added 5 songs for 2010, but could easily have added 5 more.

Almost everyone loves a good summer song, but what about winter songs? I'm not talking about played-out Christmas carols here, but other songs of the season.

Winter themes sometimes evoke bleak landscapes and chilled emotions. As a Minnesotan, however, I also associate winter with feelings of love, warmth, and safety. So, there's a duality in this list that is less apparent in summer music. There's also more cabin-fever inspired oddities than one might find on a summer list.

Here are links to a few personal favorites (and a few less-than-favorites), organized chronologically. I'd love to see your additions, since i'm guessing there's an iceberg of undiscovered wintersongs just beneath the surface. Stay warm...

• ol' hank, cold, cold heart (1951) and norah (2002) [via sarah]
• chet baker, grey december (1955)
• dean martin, baby it's cold outside (1959)
• albert iceman collins, frosty (1962)
• ian and sylvia, four strong winds (1963) [via travis]
• bob dylan, girl of the north country (1964)
• mamas and the papas, california dreaming (1965)
• simon and garfinkel, hazy shade of winter (1967) & bangles (1987)
• gordon lightfoot, song for a winter's night (1967) & sara mclachlan (1996)
• grateful dead, cold rain and snow (1967) [via @createsociology]
• doors, wintertime love (1968)
• ann murray, snowbird (1969) [see also elvis (1970) sufjan (2006)]
• nico, frozen warnings (1969)
• plastic ono band, listen the snow is falling (1969) & galaxie 500 (1992)
• bob dylan, winterlude (1970)
• neil young, helpless (1970)
• mountain, nantucket sleighride (1971)
• nick drake, northern sky (1971)
• black sabbath, snowblind (1971)
• rolling stones, winter (1973)
• edgar winter group, frankenstein (1973) with johnny winter (1992)
• gil scott-heron, winter in america (1974)
• reo speedwagon, ridin' the storm out (1974)
• frank zappa, don't eat the yellow snow (1974)
• steely dan, charlie freak (1974)
• rush, by-tor and the snow dog (1975)
• tommy bolin, sweet burgundy (1976)
• neil young, winterlong (1977) and pixies (1989)
• steve miller band, winter time (1977)
• jerry "snowman" reed, west bound and down (1977) & breakdown
• the cure, winter (1979)
• squeeze, up the junction (1979) and if i didn't love you (1980)
• joy division, love will tear us apart (1980)
• klaus nomi, the cold song (1982)
• peter auty, walking in the air (the snowman) (1982)
• aztec camera, walk out to winter (1983)
• stevie ray vaughan, cold shot (1984)
• husker du, flexible flyer (1985)
• replacements, here comes a regular (1985)
• dream academy, life in a northern town (1985)
• replacements, skyway (1987) & messersmith (2009) & carrabba (2011) & finn (2012)
• husker du, ice cold ice (1987)
• the pogues, fairytale of new york (1988)
• jane siberry, hockey (1989) [via kieran]
• vanilla ice, ice ice baby (1990)
• guy, let's chill (1990)
• tori amos, winter (1991)
• albert collins, iceman (1991)
• screaming trees, winter song (1992)
• social distortion, cold feelings (1992)
• xtc, always winter never christmas (1992)
• radiohead, fake plastic trees (1995)
• hoven droven, okynnesvals (1996)
• mazzy star, flowers in december (1997)
• hedningarna, hoglorfen (1997)
• svala björgvinsdóttir, once upon a december (1997)
• eagle eye cherry, save tonight (1998)
• madonna, frozen (1998)
• sigur rós, svefn g englar (1999)
• aim, cold water music (1999)
• glay, winter again (1999)
• nick cave, fifteen feet of pure white snow (2001)
• low, last snowstorm of the year (2002)
• nada surf, blizzard of '77 (2002)
• white stripes, cold, cold, night (2003)
• fountains of wayne, valley winter song (2003)
• animal collective, winter's love (2004)
• the caesars, the winter song (2005)
• afi, love like winter (2006)
• joshua radin, winter (2006)
• red hot chili peppers, snow (2006)
• iron and wine, wolves (songs of the shepherd's dog) (2007)
• elliott smith, angel in the snow (2007)
• gwen stefani, early winter (2007)
• bon iver, skinny love & flume (2008)
• fleet foxes, white winter hymnal (2008)
• glasvegas, S.A.D. light (2008)
• the avett brothers, january wedding (2009)
• sleigh bells, ring ring/rill rill (2010)
• MGMT, siberian breaks (2010)
• the coral, walking in the winter (2010)
• vampire weekend, horchata (2010)
• the kissing party, winter in the pub (2010)
• the decemberists, january hymn (2011)
• donald fagen, weather in my head (2012)
• ed sheeran, the a team (2012)
• van halen, stay frosty (2012)


At 11:23 PM, Blogger tina said...

Alas, a category that Canadian rock stars can sink their teeth into!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Phil BC said...

You want a christmas tune? How about this monstrosity from the early 90s

Merry christmas to sociologists everywhere!

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Travis Linnemann said...

FOUR STRONG WINDS, by anyone you choose.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger S.S.STONE said...

Cold, Cold Heart by Norah Jones...I love the way she sings it. That's an amazing list you posted...seems you've covered the "temperature" well!

Wishing you all the joy and peace of the season!

At 11:40 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

thanks, tina, i felt a little light on canadians here and travis' suggestion of four strong winds is a nice corrective. there's something warm and wintry about the G-Am-D-G chord progression.

phil's suggestion might go nicely alongside, say, ice ice baby.

thanks for the warm wishes and the norah jones tip, sarah. i'd yet to hear that version. hope you're enjoying the season too...

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Kieran said...

Best winter song by a Canadian is Hockey, by Jane Siberry. (Unfortunately the linked version censors the best line.)

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Brother Breeeze said...

I think I would have to add "Long December" by Counting Crows. And I love Sarah McLachlan's version of "Song for a Winter's Night".

At 1:30 PM, Blogger caren said...

Thanks for the great list Chris.

One local addition: Jeremy Messersmith's "Snow Day"

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I associate S&G's "April Come She Will" with winter as much as the more obvious "hazy shade of winter." The lyrics to "april" are arguably more fall-like than spring-like, title notwithstanding, but the G-C-Am-Em chord progression makes me think of winter. (I also like to be reminded, sometime around late January, that April will come. Eventually.)

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

you missed Sister Winter by Sufjan Stevens-- I think it fits in perfectly with your list:

At 9:16 AM, Blogger rv said...

Winter - DV8 project featuring Andrea Britton

A winter song, but one where the snow is minty fresh!

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Jimmy said...

thanks, you're awesome!

At 7:41 PM, Blogger DannyK said...

Going in a different direction, there's Benny Goodman's "Winter Weather" (vocal: Peggy Lee); Bob James: "Snowbird"; Manhattan Transfer: "Snowfall"; Ritchie Blackmore (Blackmore's Night): "Winter" -- you get the idea. And thanks for reminding me about Gordon Lightfoot's song. Also, Joni Mitchell has some songs that include winter images.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Letta Page said...

I'm just thrilled that someone else noticed the Snowman made a sequel to Eastbound and Down. Important note: the sequels to "Convoy" are, alas, fully unnecessary. And pretty racist.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger Faith Marks said...

I love music too. Can you share some great songs about winter seasons. dissertation writing services UK

At 1:06 AM, Blogger Dolores Moser said...

I am crazy about music. Awesome share.
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