The Christmas Album – 20 Great Christmas Favorites Performed by 20 Great Artists

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

The Christmas Album – 20 Great Christmas Favorites Performed by 20 Great Artists by Various Artists

Various - The Christmas Album: 20 Great Christmas Favorites By 20 Great Artists | Releases | Discogs

  • Compilation album on Columbia Records released in 1972 (on line, I also found references to a release date of 1971 and 1976 – most show 1972, so I’ll go with that). I got my copy from my Mom and Dad’s record collection.
  • Christmas music is the easiest music for record companies to make a buck on, so labels have released thousands of holiday albums over the years. The modern era started with Bing Crosby, who in 1942 released a holiday-themed booklet which included eight songs on four 78 rpm records. In 1955, four songs were added and his Merry Christmas album was released as the first 12-inch vinyl album.
  • Columbia Records had a large number of artists signed to their label in the early 70s (they still do – their website shows 131 artists on their label today, and over the years, they’ve had over 1,100 artists release music through their label). Ready to cash in on some of their more popular artists at the time, CBS released this compilation of 20 traditional songs by 20 of their artists. Ka-ching, ka-ching!
  • The artist list was pretty vanilla – Johnny Cash was the only outlaw of the bunch. His version of The Little Drummer Boy became sort of a signature song for him. Frank Sinatra contributed White Christmas – he was well into his Rat Pack days by then, so perhaps he was a borderline outlaw (although the version on this album was recorded in 1944, before the Rat Pack was established).
  • The list of performers gets super safe beyond that. Andy Williams…Doris Day…Tony Bennett…Anita Bryant…Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle? Wow – who know that Gomer could sing like that!)…Burl Ives…Johnny Mathis…all fine and squeaky clean artists. The album even has a contribution by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accompanied by the New York Philharmoic Orchestra – Deck the Halls never sounded so triumphant!
  • As a teenager, I’d put this album on Mom and Dad’s console record player in the den along with many other Christmas records that they owned. The one I played the most was Sing We Now of Christmas, by The Harry Simeone Chorale, and Mom loved Glen Campbell’s Christmas With Glen Campbell album. Today, I have over 50 records, including two copies of Bing’s Merry Christmas album. For more on my favorites, see my blogs from December 16, 2018 and December 25, 2019. For some history on Christmas music, check out my blog from December 23, 2018. And for my list of the Christmas songs that I DON’T like, see my post from December 13, 2020.
  • Check out Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, performing Little Drummer Boy. Classic!

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