In 1988, Seattle radio personality Bob Rivers released his holiday novelty album “Twisted Christmas” — not to be confused with Twisted Sister’s 2006 “A Twisted Christmas.” My favorite song from the album — though, I think it’s the only one I can remember ever hearing — is “The Twelve Pains of Christmas.” The following year, when the tune resurfaced for its annual holiday rounds, I recorded it off the air, most likely from John Garabedian’s “Open House Party,” which was my girl-less Saturday night entertainment for most of high school.
“The Twelve Pains of Christmas” sends up the holiday standard “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which I’ve never enjoyed so the mocking nature of Rivers’ song especially appealed to me. My 20-year-old mixtape containing the last 11 verses of the song long since died (I wasn’t quick enough to get the first verse — a conundrum lost on most members of the iPod generation), but I was pleased to discover that the entire album is available for download on iTunes.
There was no official video made of the song, but there are a few fan-made versions on YouTube.
This one features one guy as all the characters. I include it mostly so you can hear Rivers’ original recording.
But this one’s really nifty: The Madrigal Singers of Boston College perform the song live in period costume:
Rivers followed up “Twisted Christmas” with 1993’s “I Am Santa Claus.” Although not as darkly accurate a depiction of the holiday season as “The Twelve Pains of Christmas,” “Walkin’ ‘Round In Women’s Underwear” — a parody of “Winter Wonderland” — is an amusing ditty if you’re into the whole Weird Al/Dr. Demento thing. If not, I’ve probably wasted your time.