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What Is The Song At The Beginning Of The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special?

Warning: Spoilers for "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special."

Many people profess to despise the music that hits the stores every December, the dreaded scourge that is Christmas music. Reddit is littered with old threads with such titles as "Anybody else absolutely hate Christmas music?" (u/gostop1423) and "I hate Christmas music" (u/telexscope). Yet, when one turns to more contemporary Christmas music, a lot of views on the subject can change.

In a discussion in the r/ClassicRock subreddit, u/BostboweL asked people's favorite Christmas rock songs, and nobody scoffed at the question. "Father Christmas" by the Kinks was put forward by u/CheesyGoodness. Another user, u/DeadPrateRoberts, suggested such songs as "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty, "Please Come Home for Christmas" by The Eagles, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon, and "The Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie, but was very careful not to endorse perennially hated Christmas classic "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney. In another thread in r/Metal about metal Christmas songs, u/SisterRay talked about King Diamond's "No Presents for Christmas," while u/-CampinCarl- suggested Trans Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter."

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" has its fair share of popular favorite Christmas songs. In fact, the tune in the opening of the special is a punk rock Christmas classic.

It's Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

The Pogues were a Celtic punk band that infused punk rock with elements of Irish folk music. In 1987 they released "Fairytale of New York," which tells the story of a relationship between a man (Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan) and a woman (singer-songwriter Kristy MacColl) who grow bitter about their lives that they feel they've wasted together. In 2011, The Telegraph reported that "Fairytale of New York" was "the most-played Christmas song of the century." On a list compiled by employees at Billboard, it was ranked as the 32nd-best Christmas song of all time.

This tune plays at the beginning of "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," through the Christmas version of the typical opening Marvel Studios logo animation, flipping through Christmas-themed Marvel comics, often focused on Santa Claus, who does exist within the Marvel Comics Universe. It goes into the animated flashback in the opening, where young Peter Quill (Luke Klein) tries to get his father figure, Yondu (Michael Rooker), to celebrate Christmas, only for Yondu to rebuke Peter and kick over his Christmas tree. It comes back at the end of the special, which returns to animation, as young Peter and Yondu share a father-and-son moment in the cockpit of Yondu's ship, and the song finishes over the credits. The controversial part of the song in which the female character calls her lover a particularly nasty slur is skipped over.

James Gunn is known for using popular music in his movies, especially in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy," in which he used the tape that Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) mother gave him as a vehicle to include a slew of classic pop songs. "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" is no different.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is loaded with Christmas pop classics

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" further showcases James Gunn's talent for finding the best pop songs to put into his work. In the scene when Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) enter Earth's atmosphere on the ship, the song "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" by The Strokes' Julian Casablancas can be heard. That song is known for inspiring the recurring "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which cast members Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan perform the song awkwardly on a backpacker guitar and a keyboard. "Is This Christmas?" by The Wombats plays as Drax and Mantis walk down Hollywood Boulevard.

When Drax and Mantis enter a nightclub, festive patrons dance to "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. On the aforementioned Billboard list that ranked "Fairytale of New York" as the 32nd all-time greatest Christmas song, "Christmas Wrapping" was ranked 18th. Fountains of Wayne's "I Want an Alien for Christmas" plays as Drax and Mantis chase down Kevin Bacon in his home, a shockingly apt song considering that Kevin Bacon is an alien to those two characters.

As Drax and Mantis unveil the Christmas decorations they put together for Peter, the song "Christmastime" by '90s alternative rock group The Smashing Pumpkins plays. Kevin Bacon, in the end, sings "Here It Is Christmastime" by Old 97's, which he plays with the original band that wrote the song. Really, the special is a showcase of some of the best that this very niche subgenre has to offer.