Merry Christmas- Bing Crosby: Bing Crosby’s “Merry Christmas” album is the best selling Christmas album ever. I remember listening to this on my parent’s record player every Christmas, and enjoying the brightly colored, festive album cover which features Bing Crosby, smiling brightly in a Santa Hat.
A Charlie Brown Christmas- The Original Sound track recording of the CBS Television special: One of the things Christmas is all about is great music, and it doesn’t get much better than Vince Guaraldi’s music for the Peanut’s Christmas special. This album features such classics as “Christmas Time is Here,” “Linus and Lucy,” and Guaraldi’s take on many other Christmas classics. If you enjoy holiday music with a great jazz twist, be sure to check this one out.
Christmas Portrait- The Carpenters: If I had to come up with a list of top 10 voices in music, Karen Carpenter would definitely be on it. Tracks such as “Merry Christmas Darling,” and “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” have become standard holiday classics.
Nat King Cole- The Christmas Song: Although it was actually composed by Mel Torme, I really enjoy Cole’s version of the album’s title, “The Christmas Song.” His expressive, velvety voice is really perfect for Christmas material.
Holly and Ivy- Natalie Cole: Natalie definitely had some great musical genes to begin with, but I really think she could have made it all on her own talent because her voice is classic. 1994 was a great year for holiday music, as evidenced by other albums released that year, including Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD. My favorite track is the title song, “Holly and Ivy.”
Elvis’ Christmas Album- Elvis: I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stomach an entire Elvis Christmas album in one sitting, but the tracks here are definitely classics. There’s a mix of classic Christmas songs, as well as some gospel here. Includes “Blue Christmas.”
Manheim Steamroller Christmas- Manheim Steamroller: It’s Christmastime! You know what that means…synthesizers! Manheim Steamroller’s take on holiday music is definitely interesting. The tracks here are fun and great to use as background for wrapping presents, or performing other Christmasy tasks. I guess only time will tell if Manheim Steamroller’s Christmas music is just a blip on the radar, or actually has staying power.
Rudolph, Frosty and Friends Favorite Christmas Songs: Creepy or cute? I LOVE the clay-mation Christmas specials of the 1960s/70s-they may be my favorite part of the holidays! This CD is a compilation of different songs from the Rankin/Bass television specials that are ingrained in the fabric of the American Christmas tradition. Features songs from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”
Judy Garland Christmas Album- Judy Garland and family: I hesitate to put this album on the list because it’s more of a novelty than a classic, but it’s definitely interesting. I’m pretty sure this is from one of her 1960s Christmas television specials. It features a lot of guests, including Liza, Lorna and Joey Luft, and Mel Torme. Listen and enjoy the fact that your family probably isn’t as screwed up as Judy Garland’s was! Also have fun figuring out why the track, “Steam Heat,” is on a Christmas album.
Time-Life music Treasury of Christmas-Holiday memories- Various Artists: Bing Crosby! The Chipmunks! Nat King Cole! And more! This Time-Life treasury of music really is worth the money, and features a good amount of classic holiday music.