Wednesday, December 21, 2011

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To: Christmas Albums

I love, love, love Christmas. And the music of the season is a big part of what I enjoy; so much so that I recently wrote an essay for The Frisky about it. I'm well aware that people cover lots of the same songs--I have seven versions of "Jingle Bells" on my iPod, for God's sake--but I always love seeing what creative approaches to the standards people come up with.

And while it seems like every pop sensation does a Christmas album, I love the more classic sounds of the season. New-ish artists like Harry Connick, Jr. (swoon!) and Michael Buble tap into holiday nostalgia but I like to dig into the stacks, so to speak.

A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
Christmas classics infused with the girl group sound of the 60s? Sign me up! The Ronettes singing "Sleigh Ride" gets my toes tapping every time.

Merry Christmas: The Supremes

I take issue with Diana Ross on moral grounds, but this album was the one my mom used to play when we decorated the tree together. Their "Joy to the World" is extra joyous.
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Nobody, and I mean nobody swings like Ella. Hats off to anyone who can breathe fabulous, jazzy life into "Jingle Bells".

Asalto NavideƱo (Deluxe Edition)
You can't really overstate how much Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe did for salsa. And better yet, they recorded not one but two Christmas albums. The songs tap into traditional Puerto Rican rhythms and Lavoe sings about how Christmas means returning to la patria or bringing holiday traditions to New York.

What have I missed? What are your favorite Christmas albums of old?


  1. Donnie Hathaway, This favorite song perhaps for the holidays! I'm gonna make a play list with some of these songs, I need some holiday music though the mrs doesn't really dig it..pfft lol

  2. totally spelled his name wrong too.. sorry bout that Donny*! :D

  3. I noticed there were lots of Christmas songs being left out of rotation on the radio stations this was the Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet. Another was The Ventures' version of Sleigh Ride which I've always liked. As far as albums I don't have too many favorites, but Ringo Starr actually put out a Christmas record about 10 years ago called I Want to Be Santa Claus which is actually pretty good.

  4. Hehe, Autumn. I absolutely love "This Christmas" but I don't know the rest of the album so I didn't add it to my list.

    Pam: I had no idea about the Crosby/Bowie duet. What fun! Gotta look into that. I had a great holiday, thanks for asking.


Thanks so much for your comments!