When it comes to holiday classics and their covers, any song sung by Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, or John Legend is going to be an improvement on the original. With these tried and true standards, black artists take holiday song traditions—remixing and redoing them—and create new classics out of something old and staid.
Whether through Motown’s Northern Soul or putting the funk in a holiday function, Black artists are known for taking these standards and making new soulful traditions. From The Temptations to the Jackson 5, there is so much jazz and R&B influence in each rendition that no matter how many times you listen to them you’re always going to find something to love. You can bump the “classics” as much as you like, but it’s undeniable that these 12 recreations blow them out of the water.