Since 2006, the Killers have released an original Christmas song/music video each year, with the profits going to support the Product RED campaign to end AIDS. The song is usually released around December 1 each year to coincide with World AIDS Day.
I must admit that I was not aware of this annual tradition by the The Killers until my nephew posted a Tweet last week about the 2013 song, Christmas in L.A. It is a beautiful song, but also a bit depressing. While reading the comments about the song on YouTube I saw mention of their previous Christmas songs, and so I spent some time listening to all of them.
In addition to the release of a single each year, the band released an extended play album (Red Christmas EP) in 2011 featuring the first six Christmas songs, from 2006-2011.
Here are all 10 songs, in chronological order.
2006: A Great Big Sled – features Toni Halliday, the former lead vocalist of Curve, on backing vocals.
2007: Don’t Shoot Me Santa – the first song in what will become part of a trilogy in later years. Features a different kind of Santa. Based on YouTube views, this is the most popular video, with nearly 7.3 million views.
2008: Joseph, Better You Than Me – a beautiful song featuring Elton John and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys.
2009: ¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe! – featuring Luke Perry as a cowboy, with backup vocals by Wild Light and Mariachi El Bronx
2010: Boots – starts of with a clip from “It’s a Wonderful Life. The cover of the LP shows a snowglobe with boots in it, a reference to Citizen Kane. Tells a heart-warming story of redemption.
2011: The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball – a catchy tune with lyrics from a 1890 poem of the same name by William Lawrence Chittenden. Video features cowboys and aliens.
2012: I Feel It In My Bones – picks up where Don’t Shoot Me Santa left off, once again featuring an evil Kris Kringle. Ends with a creepy take on a verse from Silent Night.
2013: Christmas in L.A. – one of my favorites, the video features Owen Wilson. Dawes co-write and also performed on the track. Great animation. While it may be considered somewhat depressing, it could also be viewed as a tribute to those who follow their dreams, despite the cost.
2014: Joel, The Lump Of Coal – another one of my favorites, this animated video made its debut on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Kimmel also co-wrote the song, along with The Killers and Jonathan Bines. Has a catchy tune, and a great message. Plus Brandon Flowers is wearing an awesome Christmas sweater.
2015: Dirt Sledding – the third and final chapter in a trilogy storyline involving a grudge-holding Santa Claus. First song in the trilogy was “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” followed by “I Feel It In My Bones“. Features a voiceover by Richard Dreyfuss.