Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Hits of the 60s (1960 - 1963)




Record companies were always keen to use Christmas time to promote their artists and by the early sixties supremacy on the singles chart over the Christmas period reinforced singers overall popularity. Whilst the early to mid 60s were predominantly dominated by the English Invasion not one Christmas themed song sold well enough to feature in the UK Top Ten Charts. In the 60s the bulk of Christmas related hits originated in the US.



Please Come Home For Christmas Charles Brown



The song was co-written by Brown and Gene Redd. It includes a number of characteristics of Christmas music, such as multiple references in the lyrics to the Christmas season and Christmas traditions, and the use of a Church bell type sound, created using a piano, at the start of the song.

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree Brenda Lee



"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee (aged 13) in 1958. Decca released the single in both 1958 and again in 1959 but it did not sell well until Brenda Lee became a pop star in 1960.

"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow" Ella Fitzgerald



Ella Fitzgerald released the album Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas in 1960. It was on the Verve label and had been recorded the previous summer with a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Melodeers



Johnny Marks, adapted the story of Rudolph into a song and Gene Autry took it to No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart the week of Christmas 1949. The song has been covered by many other artists including the Melodeers.

The Christmas Song Nat "King" Cole



"The Christmas Song" ("Merry Christmas to You") was written in 1944 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé. The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. Cole insisted on a second recording to include a small string section, which is the version that became the original massive hit. In 1961another stereophonic version was made with orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael and this become the definitive version of the song.

Twistin' Bells Santo & Johnny



The rock and roll dup, Santo & Johnny had a minor hit in 1961 with Twistin' Bells

Baby's First Christmas Connie Francis



Connie Francis was a chart- topping female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. She enjoyed Top 30 chart success with Baby’s First Christmas in 1961.

Monster's Holiday Bobby "Boris" Pickett



Bobby "Boris" Pickett was better known for Monster Mash but had a minor Christmas hit with Monster’s Holiday in 1962.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 4 Seasons



"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and became an instant hit after it was heard on the Eddie Cantor's radio show in1934. It was recorded by many artists over the decades including Alvan and the Chipmonks. The Four Season’s version appeared on their Christmas album in 1962 and charted with the unique rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town".

Santa Claus Is Watching You Ray Stevens



Ray Stevens released "Santa Claus Is Watching You," on Mercury Records with backing vocals by the Merry Melody Singers. The song became a Top 50 hit in 1962.

Christmas Song Andy Williams



The Andy Williams Christmas Album was an instant hit when released in 1963 and became a number-one smash on the Billboard charts. "White Christmas" was taken as the promotional single at the time and was released with “Christmas Song” on the B side. It went to the top of the singles charts but it was "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year “ that would be forever associated with Andy Williams.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Bing Crosby



"Do You Hear What I Hear?" was written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. It was a plea for Peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The song was originally recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale, and sold more than a quarter-million copies during the 1962 Christmas holiday season. Then a year later Bing Crosby’s version became a massive hit.

Gee Whiz, It's Christmas Carla Thomas



In 1963, Carla Thomas (daughter of Rufus ) recorded “Gee Whiz , It’s Christmas.”

Frosty the Snowman The Ronettes



“Frosty the Snowman” was produced by Phil Spector and recorded by The Ronettes. It appeared on the A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector and was released in 1963. Spector ‘s Wall of Sound” was given to a number of Christmas standards featuring his stable of recording artists. Initially the album sld less well than anticipated but despite this has become one of the most iconic Christmas compilations of all time.

Little Saint Nick Beach Boys



"Little Saint Nick" was released as a single in 1963, and peaked at number 3 on Billboard magazine's special seasonal weekly Christmas Singles chart. The single also reached number 69 on the regular weekly sales chart surveyed by Cashbox magazine. It reappeared on The Beach Boys' Christmas Album in 1964.

Pretty Paper Roy Orbison



Pretty paper” was written by Willie Nelson and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1963. It became his only Christmas themed hit record.

The Twelve Gifts of Christmas Allan Sherman



Allan Sherman was an American comedy writer and television producer who became famous as a song parodist. The Twelve Gifts of Christmas was his spoof on "The Twelve Days Of Christmas."





You're All I Want for Christmas Brook Benton



Brook Benton recorded “You're All I Want for Christmas” in 1963.

All I want for Christmas is a Beatle Dora Bryan


One of the only Christmas records to emanate from the UK in the 60s was Dora Bryan’s “All I want for Christmas is a Beatle.” It was written and recorded in a day and sold to capture the rising popularity of the Beatles. Apparently although the song had moderate success the Beatles did like it.

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