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Billy Gibbons gives Jingle Bells a blues makeover in his cover of the Christmas classic

Billy Gibbons
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Christmas is on the horizon, and so artists from across the musical spectrum are all vying to become the next Mariah Carey, penning tracks they hope will assure them a yearly place in the charts and on the sound systems of shopping malls the world over.

And the latest artist to toss his hat into the ring – perhaps even literally – is ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, who has recorded a blues-flavored cover of Christmas classic, Jingle Bells.

Logically titled Jingle Bell Blues, the track sees the bearded axe-slinging legend drop the original's tempo by some considerable bpm, offering up his sultry gravelly vocal tones and some fiery bluesy fretboard antics.

In terms of feel, where All I Want for Christmas Is You is the soundtrack to the frantic present opening on Christmas morning, Billy Gibbons' Jingle Bell Blues is one for the stodgy post-Christmas dinner lull. Take a listen below and you'll see what we mean.

“It dawned on us that everybody loves Christmas music, and everybody loves the Jimmy Reed blues vibe, so we figured we'd combine them,” Gibbons says. “We threw in some hot rod references for good measure because our preferred sleigh is the horsepower-propelled kind.”

He continues: “Around Christmas, it always seems that there are five to ten holiday selections listed in the lower right corner of a typical juke box in a typical juke joint, the song titles and artist names printed on wreath-bedecked title strips. Our hope is for Jingle Bell Blues to be one of those records. 

“Bing Crosby, David Bowie, Elvis, Brenda Lee, Jose Feliciano, Otis Redding, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Gene Autry, and not forgetting Adam Sandler, need some company and we'd be thrilled to provide it in the spirit of the season.”

Billy Gibbons isn't the first guitar-wielding artist to dip his toes in the Christmas music game this year; last month, shredder Paul Gilbert announced 'TWAS, an entire album of festive-inspired tracks.

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.