Merry axemas

It’s that time of year again – when we get the box of Christmas decorations out of the attic and see if the lights still work. It’s also a time when guitar heroes climb into the attic of rock, and rummage in the dusty box of Christmas tunes for a seasonal hit.

When it comes to festive guitar albums, Merry Axemas (released in 1997) and Merry Axemas 2 (from 2005) are the shiniest baubles on the Christmas tree of rock. Merry Axemas was conceived by Steve Vai and features eleven ninties guitar heros. Vai said at the time,

“The guitar, being the most versatile instrument in the world, sounds great playing these songs. I had a list of probably 150 great players or more, and it was so hard to choose who to use. There’s so many fine guitarists, this could have been a four-CD set. When you approach players with this premise, their ears just perk right up.”

The guitarists lined up as follows:

Merry Axemas 1 (1997)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Eric Johnson - The First Nowell
Jeff Beck - Amazing Grace
Brian Setzer Orchestra - Jingle Bells
Joe Satriani - Silent Night/Holy Night Jam
Steve Morse - Joy to the World
Steve Vai - Christmas Time is Here
Joe Perry - Blue Christmas
Alex Lifeson - The Little Drummer Boy
Richie Sambora - Cantique De Noel (O' Holy Night)
Hotei - Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Merry Axemas 2 (2005)

Steve Lukather - Christmas Song
Neal Schon - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Steve Stevens - Do You Hear What I Hear
Stuart Hamm - Sleigh Ride
Trevor Rabin - O Come All Ye Faithful
Zakk Wylde - White Christmas
John Sykes - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Robin Trower - O Little Town of Bethlehem
Al Di Meola - Carol of the Bells
Ted Nugent - Deck the Halls

Even in the sixties the temptation for a little Christmas noodling was hard to resist. Jimi Hendrix's "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" features 2 versions of a Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne medley and a tune called Three Little Bears.
For an out and out Christmas guitar extravaganza its hard to beat The Darkness’ Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) especially as the video features the singer unwrapping a double-necked Gibson SG and proceeding to rock until Boxing day.

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