James Durbin – Santa Claus Is Back In Town – First Listen (AUDIO)

Check out the full stream of James Durbin’s new Christmas tune, “Santa Claus is Back in Town”. The American Idol rocker transforms Elvis Presley’s classic song into a punky celebration of holiday time.

James next album, on Wind Up Records, is due in May 2013. Yahoo Music


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Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • irockhard

    Me likey! A Xmas song I can headbang to. The James I love is back! ,,/ O ,,/

  • durbesque

    Ho, ho, ho!!!  I expected to have to wait until midnight.  I want a whole album like this.  James is the most exciting singer I’ve ever heard!!!

  • Incipit

    Oh, that’s cool. The rhythm section is goin’ to town on this one – and the vocals are just fine and dandy – so much fun!

  • http://twitter.com/Durbin8r N??c??R?v???? ???

    This seriously kicks @SS!! I was in withdrawal for that SCREAM – This is going on INFINITE REPEAT on phone, car, computers… everything! 

  • http://twitter.com/Stooch101 Stooch

    It’s a great rocking version, I’ll be sure to listen to it before I do my Christmas shopping, so I can hit those crowded stores “moshpit style” lol

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    tTis is f… good! Rock’n’Roll is back in town! James said on the interview that they did the whole thing in one take (which I don’t believe, but anyway). I’m starting to think that the punk rock James might be good if he keeps hitting those high notes!

  • lovetheusa1776

    Gawd – this is so great – energy and fun are all over this performance – love it.

  • girlygirltoo

    This is fun. I can see people jumping around in a mosh pit (or just around their own house) to this, haha

  • irockhard

    Oh yeah! Makes me wanna pull a Tom Cruise circa Risky Business, it’s that kinda song.

  • http://twitter.com/Sassycatz Sassycatz

    Good show. Love the interpretation!

  • irockhard

    The punk sound actually fits him really well, and his high pitched wails makes it better. I actually like punk rock, by that I mean real punk rock (Sex Pistols, The Clash) not the pseudo watered down pop variety (Green Day, Avril Lavigne), and of course Motorhead which blends punk rock with metal. This actually reminds me a lot of Motorhead.

  • shamrock

    I’m loving it!!! And I love James loving it!!! (You can really hear the fun he had recording it :D).

    I just had it playing at full blast, I think the neighbours hearing him belting out “Christmaaassss!!!! Christmaaaassss!!!” must think I’ve gone crazy. LOL.

  • justmefornow

    Came back and noticed the thread :)

    I’m really loving this!!! Nice not to worry anymore about a lame HAC sound direction  Ha!
    Go James Go!!

  • irockhard

    Let’s kick things off though with Durbin, who hasfinally released the full audio for his punk-rock cover of the Elvis Presley tune “Santa Claus is Back in Town.” Will James do more music like this? We know this is just a holiday single, but it actually may be one of the strongest tracks the season 10 star has put out there. Not only is the song still very much punk / metal, but there is a serious rockabilly feel that works well with his voice. This is the type of music that is in serious need comeback, and it’s possible that we could see it considering how much 1980s pop and doo wop music has come back into the spotlight as of late.


  • Kee123

    Well that put me in the Christmas spirit. o/

  • Valarie

    Who needs the Jordinaires when you have James and multitrack recording? I need to listing many more times, before I can pick out how many layers of ‘Christmas’ were laid down.

  • justmefornow

    The more I listen to this, the more I’m thankful for James getting James Michael as his producer for album#2!
    No way could I imagine this cool hybrid sound coming from jam sessions in a “Howard Benson stuck in 2006 studio”, lol.
    I hope this is a glimpse of great songs to come. Can’t wait!

  • DragonFly

    Hope there’s more video coming out for it–they all seem to be right in their element w/this.  Very twisted sound in spots—in a good way!

  • roarpen

    OMG this rocks. I have the biggest grin on my face. FUN! FUN! FUN!

  • justmefornow

    I’m assuming they’ll release the full video the teaser was edited from. Maybe tomorrow to YouTube on James’ channel.
    I’m really impressed with this. If this is what James, Blake and Jeff can come up with in one day just jamming with James M, I can’t imagine how good the songs are they really worked on for the album.

    I can’t wait to hear more.

  • HMc

    Love this , James ROCKS !!… is it midnight yet :) 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UHX5LYQ3ZJPMPFEYPSFX3ZEE4Q Jack

    Now that’s rock and roll.  James Durbin put on a great show on the idol tour.  Maybe he has a hit with this one.  I sure would like to see him again.

  • iluvai

    Came back for another listen. So good!!!

  • iluvai

    I love the picture/art too.  Nice!!!

  • lovetheusa1776

    Just dl’d from iTunes – keep playing it – cracks me up.

  • http://twitter.com/Ellieca1673 Ellie G.

    Grinnin, stompin’ around my kitchen like a fool, listening to Durbin. It’s gonna be a FUNNNN Christmas, that’s for sure! :)

  • irockhard

    God how I’ve missed hearing his voice! This is so awesome, one of the Xmas tunes I’ll never get tired of listening to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djafans Fan Dja

    Really really loving this!  James sounding great!

  • justmefornow

    Yay! Just downloaded from itunes. Love it! 
    Now I want to see the full video of all this rockin’ fun. I hope they’ll release it today too.

  • debrod

    love it! Great vocals James

  • Kee123

    I just got off treadmill listening to it I couldn’t go fast enough.

  • DragonFly

    Cracked me up trying to even picture someone keeping up w/this on a treadmill!  You were brave to try!  911 anyone?–would be for me.

  • sabbia

    Just purchased and really enjoying it. FUN is definitely the word for it.

    On a more technical note—I know James mentioned this a punk/rock hybrid sound but my ear is not hearing the punk sound in this song at all, except for the speed of the tempo. Instead, I think the music sounds extremely similar to a song from a band that played with James, Delta Rose (whom I enjoy immensely because of their southern rock/blues roots).  


  • http://twitter.com/KariannHart Kariann Hart

    You’ve got to enjoy the rockin’ on this song!  So happy James is making music.

  • justmefornow

    I hear some similarities to Delta Rose. They remind me more of a modern version of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet. James’ Xmas song to me is less Southern sounding, although the tempo is definitely similar.
    He probably has been influenced by some of the bands he played with last spring and summer. He’s still so young and probably still broadening his taste in music. It will be interesting to see how all these influences and those of Blake and Jeff  from very metal backgrounds, along with James Michael’s hard rock background all come together on this new album.
    I hope they release more teasers of songs, especially before any touring begins again.

  • DragonFly

    The blues/rock/& the South = Elvis too.  James took this song up quite a “really fun” notch— (or 2) I’d say.   He was known on AI for taking songs & working/covering them in his own style. 

  • irockhard

    Oh yeah, he did the same with that cheesy 50s ditty Love Potion No. 9, he gave it a Guns n Roses twist and it rocked.

  • sabbia

    And if you listen to Delta Rose’s recorded songs, the lead singer is a dead ringer for David Lee Roth. 

    I think I hear more rockabilly in James’ new song than anything else. I agree that it **seems** James is experimenting and broadening. I love all sorts of different music so I’m personally fine with it, if I still enjoy the sound, but my only concern in this mentality is that he becomes a jack of all trades and master of none in the music world—meaning that he is not going to accumulate and grow a strong enough fan base. In the music world, people are fans of an artist because of their music and not fans of the music because of the artist, iykwim. (I’m one of the former, btw)

    I’m so curious what direction this album is taking. Apart from the release of Love Me Bad, which scared the beejeebers out of me before the release of his album, I haven’t been disappointed yet.

  • sabbia

    And with that Robert Plant ending. Love Potion was one of my favorites from S10 Idol–the stalled ending was absolutely amazing. It certainly showcased the extent of James’ vocal abilities. 

  • justmefornow

    I agree he needs to experiment and then settle on a cohesive sound for this next album. I know it’s a curse when you can sing anything well, lol.
    I think the main reason this song has a rockabilly and southern feel is because it’s an Elvis song! James may be channeling a little of the king here, lol.

    The real test will be what will the new songs sound like with no previous other artist associations to them.

  • irockhard

    He said he was creating his own sound, so I interpret that to mean he’s doing with the album what he did with this song – take all the influences he likes and craft his own sound. I can hear different influences in SCIBIT but he definitely made it his own.

    One thing I can say is that EVERYONE likes SCIBIT, the “Idolesque” fans and the metalhead fans, so he’s on the right track WRT sound judging by this song. I’ve heard complaints at times about him being “too soft” but not once have I heard any complaints about him being too heavy the dude hooked in most of the fans he has with a heavy metal song – YGATC, not a ballad. This is a good sound for him IMO, it will please all his fans and new listeners in his chosen market, and it will get him onto rock radio. He must make sure he doesn’t go softer than this.

  • DragonFly

    Combining here:
    “the stalled ending was absolutely amazing” (Love Potion #9)
    –that ending was an absolute favorite!  You waited for it on replays.
    “it **seems** James is experimenting and broadening. I love all sorts of different music so I’m personally fine with it,… etc.”
    —Heidi tweeted the other day “hubby just wrote a hit” something like that, & it made me smile.  I’m hoping James Durbin the singer/rocker will draw people to shows & concerts— BECAUSE of his talent. 
    “He said he was creating his own sound, so I interpret that to mean he’s doing with the album what he did with this song – take all the influences he likes and craft his own sound. I can hear different influences in SCIBIT but he definitely made it his own.”

    –Like the above. 

    Maybe we can give him a “pass”….. (for the moment)….. & let him “soak in” the praise.  He/They did good!  Just joking w/Everyone–I’m sure he is very interested in what his fans think….always.

  • irockhard
  • DragonFly

    Wanted to clarify this: Heidi tweeted the other day “hubby just wrote a hit”—- 99.9% sure this tweet was after this Xmas song was recorded so it wasn’t  referring to this song

  • DragonFly

    Just noticed now that the NFL had an ad on this clip here.  Got me thinking–wouldn’t it be great if they’d throw this song also into some games.  Bet the crowd would love it–just jazzy enough for pre-Christmas game crowds.

  • Hugh29

    Just downloaded my copy.  I got a hunch his second album is going to be really special.  May is a long way away!

  • irockhard

    While I am typically morally opposed to any Christmas music pushing its way into my ears until Thanksgiving evening, I’ve made an exception for Elvis and James Durbin. Durbin was the beloved, metal-head fourth place finisher on Season 10 of American Idol who released his debut album Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster last year on Wind-up Records.

    In the midst of recording tunes for his sophomore effort James and his band started riffing and came up with this version of Elvis’ “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” which may be the most popular, if not certainly best selling Christmas song of all time. Many have covered this song – some great, some…not. But, this fun, punk-y high speed with no energy shortage version is fun, fast and an acceptable metal homage to the King. James is back to his best, reminding me while I fell in love with him and was so outraged at his ouster on AI.

    We get the classic, but polished, Durbin scream and he’s exploring a lower register that’s super pleasing to the ear and clearly having fun. Unlike his abysmal debut effort, this song makes me want to hear more. The song was leaked on Yahoo! Music yesterday and the accompanying press release said James and company did the song in one take, with the exception of the backing vocals. He also says you hear the drummer Jeff Fabb say “One take, come on” and Durbin cough but I couldn’t hear either of those things. Maybe I need to buy the iTunes version for those little extras… hmm.


  • DragonFly

    Guess I  99.9%  like that review there (lol).  Hope his song is doing well.