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My Favorites: Jon Solomon’s Holiday Tunes

Jon Solomon is preparing for his 31st annual “25-Hour Holiday Radio Show,” a Christmas Day tradition at Princeton University’s student-run radio station.

jon solomon
Jon Solomon will host his 31st annual holiday music ­marathon in December. Image: Maggie Solomon-Scheller

Fall 2019

In 1988 15-year-old Jon Solomon signed up for the 12-hour Christmas Day shift for WPRB-FM, Princeton University’s student-run radio station. He’s only missed one year since — when he went to the 1996 Rose Bowl to cheer on the Wildcats — and now he’s preparing for his 31st annual “25-Hour Holiday Radio Show.”

His repeat-free playlists of roughly 300 songs feature everything from modern renditions of old classics to offbeat tracks with holiday flair to inside jokes he shares with loyal listeners.

Solomon ’95 has a strict regimen for the radio marathon (no coffee, no sugar), though it’ll likely be less physically demanding than his 26.2-mile debut in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Marathon in November. With an ever-growing musical library — his holiday collection includes more than 6,000 songs — here are some of his favorite tracks and albums:

Snaildartha: The Story of Jerry the Christmas Snail, The Snaildartha 6

“It’s a radio play telling the story of Siddhartha through the eyes of a snail on Christmas. It’s become unexpectedly linked with the show and is routinely the highest-streamed portion of the broadcast.” 

“Little Drummer Boy,” Lindstrøm

“It’s an ever-building, 45-minute version of ‘Little Drummer Boy.’ Every time you think it has built to a crescendo, it finds seven or eight additional crescendos on top of that.”

“Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again),” Mac McCaughan

“I listened to it while the show was going, and because 20 hours into a radio show all emotions are heightened, I just had a complete breakdown and started crying. It’s very much about the end of 2016. Other folks have said that when they heard it on the radio, they also started weeping.”

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