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Christmas Music Guru
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Date Posted:11/11/2009 08:50:37Copy HTML

I am posting here, as a stand-alone thread, my all-time Top 50 Christmas albums.

Previously on the message board, I posted my all-time Top 40; this is the same list plus 10 more to make it a nice round number of 50. Eventually, I will post my entire Top Play list which consists of the greatest 300 Christmas albums in my entire collection. In the mean time, here is my "cream of the crop" all-time Top 50:

1.      Percy Faith – “Music Of Christmas”

2.      Percy Faith – “Hallelujah” (re-released as “Music Of Christmas, Volume 2”)

3.      Mantovani – “Christmas Carols”

4.      Johnny Mathis – “Merry Christmas”

5.      Fred Waring And The Pennsylvanians – “’Twas The Night Before Christmas”

6.      Fred Waring And The Pennsylvanians – “Christmas Time”

7.      Ray Conniff – “Christmas With Conniff”

8.      Ray Conniff – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

9.      The Norman Luboff Choir – “Christmas With The Norman Luboff Choir”

10.  Andy Williams – “The Andy Williams Christmas Album”

11.  Jim Reeves – “Twelve Songs Of Christmas”

12.  Al Hirt – “The Sound Of Christmas”

13.  Mantovani – “Christmas Greetings From Mantovani”

14.  Frank DeVol – “The Old Sweet Songs Of Christmas”

15.  Andre Kostelanetz – “Wonderland Of Christmas”

16.  The Living Strings – “The Spirit Of Christmas”

17.  Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra – “A Christmas Festival”

18.  Kate Smith – “The Kate Smith Christmas Album”

19.  Jo Stafford – “Happy Holiday”

20.  Patti Page – “Christmas With Patti Page” (Columbia album)

21.  Kitty Wells – “Christmas Day With Kitty Wells”

22.  Brenda Lee – “Merry Christmas From Brenda Lee”

23.  The New Christy Minstrels – “Christmas With The Christies”

24.  Ray Conniff – “Here We Come A-Caroling”

25.  Mitch Miller – “Holiday Sing Along With Mitch”

26.  The Robert Shaw Chorale – “Christmas Hymns And Carols, Volume 1”

27.  The Jack Halloran Singers – “Christmas Is A-Comin’” (re-released as “The Little Drummer Boy”)

28.  Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra – “Christmas Carols”

29.  Bert Kaempfert – “Christmas Wonderland”

30.  Stanley Black – “Christmas Holiday For Romance”

31.  Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra – “Music For A Merry Christmas”

32.  Ronnie Aldrich – “Christmas With Ronnie Aldrich”

33.  The Living Strings – “The Sound Of Christmas”

34.  John Gary – “The John Gary Christmas Album”

35.  Perry Como – “The Perry Como Christmas Album”

36.  Bing Crosby – “A Time To Be Jolly”

37.  Burl Ives – “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (original soundtrack recording)

38.  Burl Ives – “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas”

39.  Ella Fitzgerald – “Ella Wishes You A Swingin’ Christmas”

40.  Ace Cannon – “Christmas Cheer”

41.  Bing Crosby – “Merry Christmas”

42.  Perry Como – “Season's Greetings From Perry Como”

43.  Barbra Streisand – “A Christmas Album”

44.  Sammy Kaye – “I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas”

45.  The LeRoy Holmes Singers – “Snowflakes And Sweethearts”

46.  Ferrante And Teicher – “Snowbound”

47.  Ferrante And Teicher – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

48.  The Glad Singers – “Swing Bells”

49.  Vincent Lopez – “Christmas Music”

50.  The Hollyridge Strings – “Christmas Favorites”



**Edited to add the following update:

 




On October 28, 2010, I posted my complete Top 300 in a stand-alone category on the message board; and three years later, on July 18, 2013, I expanded that to 500 with the addition of my "Bubbling Under" section.


So for my all-time Top 500, Click Here!



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/30/2012 01:40:01Copy HTML

What Chip said.

Also, since Elvis' passing there have been many repackaged versions of the Christmas material.  There was an album called "Memories of Christmas" that had a few unreleased takes of songs.  There was also "If Every Day Was Like Christmas" which was a combination of the two original albums along with a few more unreleased takes.  There is also the album "Christmas Duets" with Elvis singing "artificial" duets with female country music stars.  These ladies recorded their parts many years after Elvis died and they were combined in the studio.

Finally there is, on the FTD label, "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas".  FTD (Follow That Dream) records is a collector series label for Elvis Presley music only.  These albums contain remastered versions of the original material plus MANY outtakes/alternate takes.  Below is the track listing for this album.

Disc 1
The Original Album
1. O Come, All Ye Faithful
2. The First Noel
3. On A Snowy Christmas Night
4. Winter Wonderland
5. The Wonderful World Of Christmas
6. It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You)
7. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day
8. If I Get Home On Christmas Day
9. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees
10. Merry Christmas Baby
11. Silver Bells

Bonus Song
12. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : remake master

First Takes
13. It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You) : takes 1-3
14. If I Get Home On Christmas Day : take 1
15. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : takes 1-3
16. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees : takes 1, 2
17. Silver Bells : takes 1, 2
18. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : remake takes 1, 2

Disc 2
1. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : take 4
2. If I Get Home On Christmas Day : takes 2, 3
3. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees : take 3
4. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : remake take 3
5. It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You) : takes 4, 5
6. O Come, All Ye Faithful : take 2
7. If I Get Home On Christmas Day : take 5
8. The Lord's Prayer
9. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : takes 5, 6
10. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees : take 4
11. It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You) : take 6
12. Merry Christmas Baby : take 1 (unedited version)
13. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day : remake takes 4-9
14. If I Get Home On Christmas Day : take 7
15. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees : take 5
16. Winter Wonderland : takes 7, 8
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/30/2012 02:58:41Copy HTML

Thanks Chip,

Being I didn't have the albums in front of me for reference, I couldn't think of the 1971 album and I could picture the album in my head from 1971 "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas" with decorations printed on the cover.  I believe I was referring to another 3rd. album being the 1970 Reissued on Camden didn't have all of the original songs from his 1957 original album and I was also thinking of the Anniversary release of the 1957 Elvis Christmas Album with several pictures of Elvis from the time of the album.  I "Borrowed the pictures below from eBay, and the Blue "Elvis Christmas Album" and being there were 2 releases with a different picture of Elvis, the album I have is the one on the right of "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas" in the first picture and the second picture is the Anniversary reisse of the 1957 original, but still had all the pictures included in the jacket.

3 Elvis Christmas Albums RCA 12" Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas ELVIS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM Commemorative replica issue of the original 1957 RCA LP

Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/30/2012 09:17:43Copy HTML


Susan,

That Elvis Christmas album that you alluded to was the very first reissue of the '57 LP; it was released by RCA Records in 1959 (catalog LPM-1951).


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 03:23:01Copy HTML

Chip,

I was aware of that, the the album I was referring to from 1957 is the Red Jacket and the original catalog number is LOC-1035.   I know mine is the 50th Anniversary and the catalog number is AFM1 5486, also, on the back of my jacket, in the lower left corner, it clearly shows "1957" But also in the pictures from the eBay auctions of the original LOC-1035 and it also has "1957" on the lower left corner of the back of the jacket.  So, I'm not sure which album you are referring to where you said

"Susan,

That Elvis Christmas album that you alluded to was the very first reissue of the '57 LP; it was released by RCA Records in 1959 (catalog LPM-1951)."

Are you referring to the album in blue with Elvis' arms folded or the second blue jacket in the first picture?  If it's the second blue jacket I was aware that it was the 1959  reissue of he 1957 release.  I've had it since the 1960's.  I am aware that the folded arms is the Camden reissue from 1970.  And for 1971 was "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas"

I don't know if maybe the way I worded my previous post was misinterpreted or what, but I just reread it and it seemed clear to me or maybe I misinterpreted your follow-up comment and you were just letting me know that my LPM-1951 was the first reissue and from 1959 and I may not have known that.

Also for clarification the AFM1 5486 50th Anniversary is not the 50th. Anniversary of his 1957 album, but instead, the 50th. Anniversary of the year he was born.  The 50th Anniversary Edition came out in 1985.  Also, I borrowed what is in the paragraph below from ElvisRecords.us  If anyone is interested, the artwork is viewable there.

There are several significant differences in the artwork for the front cover of this release versus that of the original LOC-1035. From the original cover, the title Elvis' Christmas Album is below the gold box with green ribbon on the left side, where this release the title extends above the gold box with green ribbon. The word "new" was removed from the "plus an album of new full color photos" statement and right justified. There are also differences in wrapping paper and bows used throughout.



Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 04:50:29Copy HTML


Susan,


Sorry, I misinterpreted your post to say that you thought the King had more than two original Christmas albums.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 07:09:57Copy HTML

It's OK Chip,

I guess I gave you the idea because I did mention a 3rd album but it was when I was referring to the Camden reissue and also the Anniversary Release.  I didn't word it correctly, so I guess that is where you might have thought that I figured there was a 3rd. original Elvis Christmas Album.  I know they have reissued The Elvis Christmas album a number of times and changed the jacket to a picture of Elvis inside a wreath with red ribbon and it was in the Pickwick Record Label.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 08:42:43Copy HTML


Susan,

That picture of the King that was used on the 1970 Camden reissue LP that Ethel produced was taken from his 1968 motion picture Speedway, which he starred with Nancy Sinatra. The later 1975 Pickwick cover used the same picture, but it was cropped. How can you crop Elvis? Posted below is the original full shot of the picture.






Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 02:51:24Copy HTML

Thanks for that bit of information.  I had actually thought that it might have been from the same photo shoot for the cover of the 1959 reissue, and that they just used a different background, but then looking at his hair from the 1959 reissue and the Camden release, his hair is totally different and longer and they superimposed his image over a Christmas background for the Camden release, and he was 9 years older in the picture from "Speedway"

They did in a way "Crop" him on TV being some shows wouldn't let him be shown below the waistline because of his hip shaking.  They thought it was too indecent to be shown on National Television.

Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/01/2012 08:01:24Copy HTML


Actually that's only partially true, Susan. Despite folklore, it was only on the Ed Sullivan show that Elvis was filmed from the waist up -- and moreover, only on his third appearance on January 6, 1957. For the King's first two appearances on September 9, 1956 and October 28, 1956, he was not censored.

Ironically, it was on that show on January 6, 1957, that Elvis sang (for his final number) Peace In The Valley, which, after becoming a hit EP single in the spring of 1957, was later used on his Christmas album released later that same year in the fall of 1957.


Ethel Gabriel told me that she never understood what all the fuss was about back then. By the way, she had accompanied her boss at RCA, Steve Sholes, along with RCA legal executive, H. Coleman Tilly, to sign Elvis to his RCA contract in November 1955. She became very close to Elvis during his ensuing career at RCA and Elvis is one of the artists among her 15 certified Gold Records. She speaks very fondly and affectionately of him to this day and still misses him. She took it very hard when he died. I last spoke to her a few weeks ago and she is as energetic as ever, doing great and still going strong.




Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/02/2012 12:09:33Copy HTML

I do remember on one of the Ed Sullivan Episodes that Ed referred to Elvis as a fine, decent young gentleman. (paraphrasing) and now that you mention it, I remember it was The Ed Sullivan that filmed him from the waist up.

Then I think there was this DJ from Florida, I can't remember for sure, but I remember them burning all Elvis Presley records because they thought his movements were vulgar.   I don't remember it factually though.  I would have to check some of my DVD's.  I think I have some that were the Elvis Presley appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.  It could be on the 3 DVD set of Elvis 1968 Comeback Special and they included a couple taping's for what was actually aired on TV and I think there was a scene where he was in this boxing ring  for lack of what it really was and he was explaining about censorship and then he took, I think his pinky finger and was wiggling it in all directions and singing  "You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog" So that might be where I am remembering that he was censored on The Ed Sullivan Show.

They were so strict on The Ed Sullivan Show, that when Jim Morrison and The Doors were appearing on the show, they were told they couldn't sing Light my Fire because the verse. "Girl, we couldn't get much higher " was thought to be inappropriate for TV because it refers to drugs.  But they sang the song the way it was written, and the producer came to them after and told them that they would never appear on The Ed Sullivan Show again, and Jim said "We just did The Ed Sullivan Show" or something along those lines.

Censorship has really changed a lot since then, and there really isn't any censorship on TV anymore, except maybe in Prime Time, but on Late Night, I have heard words that would normally be bleeped out and they let them make it on the air.

Getting back to Elvis' dancing and swaying those hips, it wasn't any worse than the Charleston, but no one thought The Charleston needed censorship.  If you look at the scene in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" There is a guy pulling a girl between his legs if I remember correctly, and that was OK with the censors.

The girls really went crazy when Elvis would sway those hips.  And despite of what some people thought of him, he was a very Religious man.

Oh well, we should get back on topic, but again this is an example how one thing brings up another.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/03/2012 01:28:35Copy HTML

I'll never complain when a thread gets hijacked towards an Elvis topic. :)
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