With the holidays upon us, many folks are focusing on family gatherings and gift exchanges. But it’s also a time for tension, which leads us to the EHSDA Song of the Week: “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by the Ramones.
Originally released in November 1987 as the B-side of the single “I Wanna Live,” the song was included on the band’s 1989 album Brain Drain. Ostensibly a breakup song written by frontman Joey Ramone, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” also reflected the struggles going on in the band at the time, which eventually led to the departure of original bassist Dee Dee Ramone.
A welcome change from the schmaltzy Christmas-themed pop songs of the time, “Merry Christmas” caught on with rock fans and the video got plenty of airplay on MTV. The song was never officially released as a single, but it’s gained legendary status over the years. Even though it has the punk energy the Ramones are known for, it’s tuneful enough to be played at a family gathering without upsetting Grandma (maybe).