Christmas songs that get a lot of radio play tend to be the traditional, songs like The Christmas Song that have been passed down across generations. Still, a few more modern songs have attained iconic status and one of the most popular is “Little Saint Nick.” The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys and released as a single in 1963. But as popular as “Little Saint Nick” is, it's not as a song that has been covered often, with many artists shying away from trying to replicate the close harmonies that defined The Beach Boys. But these five diverse acts, ranging from metal to comedy, managed to make “Little Saint Nick” all their own.
5. L.A. Guns
The most unlikely cover of “Little Saint Nick” on this list comes from L.A. Guns. Recorded during the time when there were two different bands using the name, this version of L.A. Guns is the one featuring vocalist Phil Lewis, who released “Little Saint Nick” as part of their 2010 covers album “Covered in Guns.” Lewis does an admirable job of channeling Mike Love's vocals while giving it L.A. Guns' signature glam metal spin.
4. Straight No Chaser
If any band was going to be unfazed by trying to replicate The Beach Boys' harmonies, it would be Straight No Chaser. The acclaimed a cappella group not only tackled those harmonies head-on, they stripped away the instrumentation so that all that's left is the vocals. What results is an extremely faithful rendition of “Little Saint Nick”, released on 2016's I'll Have Another... Christmas Album.
3. Best Coast
The newest cover of “Little Saint Nick” comes via indie pop act Best Coast, who recorded a cover of the song for Amazon's Indie Holidays streaming playlist in 2017. The Beach Boys are one of the bands who most influenced Best Coast's surf-tinged power pop sound, so its no surprise that vocalist/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and instrumentalist Bobb Bruno throw themselves fully into the song, resulting in a rendition of “Little Saint Nick” that show it's just as relevant now as it was in 1963.
2. She & Him
She & Him, the duo consisting of actress/vocalist Zooey Deschanel and folk rocker M. Ward, was formed in part out of a mutual love of '60s sounds. So when it came time for them to release their holiday album A Very She & Him Christmas no one was surprised to see the Beach Boys' classic song included. Since the album's release, She & Him have gotten the chance to work with Brian Wilson, contributing to his 2015 album No Pier Pressure.
1. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
One of the earliest, and most famous, covers of “Little Saint Nick” came from The Muppets, specifically from Muppet Show house band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. While the song was released as part of The Muppets' collaboration with folk rocker John Denver, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, Denver doesn't sing on “Little Saint Nick” at all. Instead, Electric Mayhem gets the song to themselves, with a memorably screamed “run, run, reindeer!” by Animal.