I wrote then that I was stunned at how many overtly religious songs the famous duo put on the the disc considering the very politically correct climate of the new millennium. One of them was a cover version of a song that alluded me for almost thirty years, "Christmas Must Be Tonight." I liked the new, upbeat track sung by Daryl Hall and it made me go out and search for Robbie Robertson's never-to-be classic. Sung by Rick Danko, it appears on the great American band's last album, Islands (1977).
It's a surprise that a group whose members were not known to have any specific or powerfully strong religious beliefs would release a song that tackled the subject of Jesus's birth as blatantly as our most loved Christmas carols. It's not about a reckless reindeer killing Grandma. Could this be why it's seldom recorded or heard?
"Christmas Must Be Tonight" is the only song by The Band that Robertson re-recorded after the group ended and it can be found on the soundtrack of Bill Murray's Scrooged.
Both the Hall and Oates cover and The Band's original take of Robertson's holiday tune deserve a permanent place among the songs we play every December.