A Holiday Dozen

I mentioned to my friend Max that I had hoped to post a Christmas song every day from December 1st through Christmas Day. When it comes to holiday tunes, I could probably post a favorite Christmas song for every day of the year …

At any rate, rather than spend the time to do that, I was asked by a friend to pick my Top 10 favorite Christmas Albums. How can I do that? I have so many! I could easily pick my Top 10 Christmas albums for each genre – pop, country, classical, jazz, etc… So here is what I decided to do. I took a piece of paper and jotted down the 10 albums I felt were “must have” albums for me every year. I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10, so I made it 12.

In no particular order, here is the Holiday Dozen I came up with:

Ok, you gotta have Bing! He was often referred to as “The Voice of Christmas,” and for good reason! It was an album that often accompanied us while we opened gifts.

A great album of great songs – Brenda Lee, Bobby Helms, Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, The Drifters, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin are all represented in this amazing collection!

When Charles Schulz was asked to write a Christmas Special, he said he would on one condition – it had to include the story of Christ’s birth. When he chose the soundtrack for the special, he wanted something that he felt could relate to everyone – so he picked Jazz. Vince Guaraldi’s songs are synonymous with Christmas for me.

Growing up, I always disliked The Christmas Song. I guess I couldn’t relate to it as a kid. As I grew up, it became more and more meaningful to me. This album is full of many other fantastic cuts that never get played on the radio.

This one represents the “novelty” side of Christmas! Yes, it includes the Chipmunks, but it also includes some classic novelty songs from Allan Sherman, Bob & Doug McKenzie, Cheech & Chong, and Weird Al Yankovic. It is also one of the few places you can find Stan Freberg’s Christmas Dragnet. Oh, yeah, and that dumb Hippopotamus song is on here, too (but I skip that one).

This is one that a friend told me about. The story goes that a couple of members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra were sitting around talking one day. They asked each other what they thought Glenn would be doing if he were still around. One of them said “Probably working on a Christmas album.” The idea was born. They contacted former members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and they recorded this one. It is truly a great album and tribute to Miller.

Bing Crosby may have been called the “Voice of Christmas,” but Frank Sinatra was THE VOICE. This collection includes one of my favorites: Whatever Happened to Christmas. You also get his amazing version of Have Yourself a Marry Little Christmas and other classics.

Some great songs from Al Martino, Jo Stafford, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, and other pop singers of the 40’s and 50’s.

I have talked about this one before. It is just an amazing album with something for everyone. I love listening to Doc and the Tonight Show Band jamming on songs like Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, and my favorite version of Jingle Bells! You’ll also love the Children’s Choir and Bell Choir on other numbers.

Mel, of course, wrote The Christmas Song, and I just love to hear his version of it. Nat King Cole’s version doesn’t include Mel’s extra lyric: “Love and joy come to you, and a Merry Christmas, too. And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year.” Known as “The Velvet Fog,” Mel’s voice is perfect on Christmas Time Is Here, The Christmas Medley, Sleigh Ride, and a Christmas version of The Glow Worm.

I have so many favorite Elvis Christmas songs that aren’t on this album, but I love how they have added the orchestra to his classics on this album. Santa Claus is Back in Town sounds so much fuller with them. I only wish that they had done If Every Day Was Like Christmas for this album.

Before both of his Christmas albums were made available, they took tracks from both his “Winter Romance” album and “The Dean Martin Christmas Album” and combined them for this collection. I have both of those albums now, but for one collection – I pick this one. Marshmallow World is one of my favorite cuts!

How about you? What’s your Holiday Dozen??

6 thoughts on “A Holiday Dozen

  1. What? No Christmas Festival with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops? I’m truly listening to it as I type this! One of my favorites. Some of my others are:

    Bette Midler – Cool Yule
    Kylie Minogue – Kylie Christmas
    Robbie Williams – Christmas Present
    Josh Groban – Noel
    Michael Buble’ – Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I share your feelings about many of these records. Others are new to me and others……we have to talk about. (Haha!) Anyways, as Christmas Day draws nigh, there are a few albums I have yet to listen to that I am scrambling to get in under the wire. So, while these may not be my faves, they are near and dear to me and are must-listens every year:
    1. That Holiday Feeling – Steve & Eydie
    2. Home for the Holidays – Anthony Hamilton
    3. Songs for a Merry Christmas – Wayne Newton
    4. Sound of Christmas – Caiola/Ortolani
    5. Spend This Holiday With Me – Anita Kerr Singers
    6. ‘Tis the Season – Jackie Gleason
    7. A Very Merry Christmas – Bobby Vinton
    8. Vintage Christmas – David Ian
    9. White Christmas – Al Green
    10. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Holly Cole
    11. Christmas Favourites – the Hollyridge Strings
    12. A Retro Cool Bossa Nova Christmas – Vinnie Zummo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL – Always up for a chat!!

      There are some new ones for me on your list. Some I am familiar with because of Sirius XM (they often play the Hollyridge Strings, Steve & Eydie, and Wayne Newton). The Jackie Gleason stuff is just great – I don’t have it on an album anywhere. Need to pick that up!

      I will look into some of the other ones on your list for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A couple of the compilations on your list intrigue me plus the Doc Severinsen we spoke about. The Glenn Miller makes me sad; just like the Platters’ Christmas album, it’s too bad when it’s not the original line-up. Sirius and other online stations often hip you to sounds you may have missed so that’s good! I scored that second of Jackie’s Christmas albums on iTunes – easy! Currently I’m enjoying my all-time faves, Capitol’s Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails Vols 1 and 2. Divine.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For what it is worth, the Glenn Miller album isn’t bad. You can hear his influence on many of the tracks, but you are right – it’s not the original group.

        I agree – Sirius has played some instrumental tunes from artists I have never heard before, but I love them.

        I will definitely check for the Jackie stuff. My iPod is old and I don’t even know if I can load tunes on it anymore. There is a place near me that sells used vinyl and has a ton of stuff, so I will be making a stop there to look for them.

        I have both of those Christmas Cocktails albums, too! I love them. I used some of the cuts for bits on the radio.

        I want to say I used the Jimmy McGriff cut of Santa Claus is Coming to Town as a back ground for a “Christmas Commentary” by a character we made up (Isaac Mistletoe). He was a cross between the Ladie’s Man from SNL and Lou Rawls.

        The Jingle Bell Rock cut from volume one (can’t remember what string orchestra it is) I used as a background for my Mall Guy bit. I said I had a direct hookup into a (made up) mall’s PA system so I could listen and catch any sales. I would say “Let’s see what’s going on ….” and then it was this drunk PA announcer who would eventually end the bit with some Christmas pun.

        Love those albums, too!!

        Like

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