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Five Songs To Sing Around The Fire

List Of The Day

It's getting to be that time of year when people sit around the fireplace or their TV and put the Yule Log on. That means someone breaks out a guitar. Someone pours the eggnog. Someone considers moving out. And everyone braces themselves for the dreaded family singalong. Yes, you can claim you don't know the words. But you do. Whatever song gets picked will be one you've heard a thousand times. It's not like people change and suddenly start singing "Anarchy in the U.K." by the fire - or even the collected works of the Jam. (And if your family or housemates do, please call me I'd like to bear witness.)

No, here are five songs likely to be sung while you microwave those smores.

James Taylor - "Fire And Rain"

James Taylor's seen fire and James Taylor's seen rain and for some reason everyone starts singing this to make themselves feel like they're part of a community. What community that might be, I hesitate to ask. I'm afraid that if I knew the answer, it would reveal to me something even more shallow about our existence than I dare contemplate at this dark moment in time.

Billy Joel - "We Didn't Start The Fire"

This is one of those singalong songs where no one knows the words but everyone remembers bits and pieces and if you sing real fast and everyone's drunk enough it all starts to sound like the song and even though everyone says they hate it, they still insist on singing it, which leads us handily into our next number...

Don McLean - "American Pie"

Have you ever been trapped amongst people who apparently only bought 10 records in their lifetime? And they love every one of them. And they think you love them, too. The idea that you don't love "American Pie" is unthinkable to them. In fact, you're lying, because everyone loves "American Pie." There's no talking to these people. Just hope the guitar player breaks a string and ends the misery.

The Eagles - "Hotel California"

You ever live it up at the Hotel California? Me neither. And the idiots who insist on playing this song on their guitars don't know anything about reggae either, but it doesn't stop them from sitting around pretending. What's worse than people with no sense of tune, time or rhythm "harmonizing" on this overplayed piece of layer cake? Don't answer. Because if there is an answer, it's probably blowing in the wind and I don't want to sing that song either.

10,000 Maniacs - Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings

10,000 Maniacs named one of their collections Campfire Songs in an obvious move to instruct the masses on what to do with their musical jello. This collection includes several covers from Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" to John Prine's "Hello In There" to Morrissey's "Everyday is Like Sunday" to Tom Waits' "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You." Or at least I hope these are covers of those songs. I'd hate to think these folks lack the originality to come up with their own song titles. That would just be so Springsteen of them.  

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