Here’s Herb Alpert performing “Santa Baby.” I have cordially disliked this song since the first time I heard it. I still dislike it when it’s sung, but this has a brassy Latin style that I like. It’s from Alpert’s brand-new Christmas album “The Christmas Wish,” just released this winter 49 years after his previous Christmas album. This time he’s got a 10-piece rhythm section and is also backed by a 45-piece orchestra, a choir and a good arranger, Chris Walden, who worked with Michael Buble on his Christmas record a few years ago.
Mr. Andy Williams was too. Here’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” recorded for his first Christmas album “The Andy Williams Christmas Album,” released in 1963. The song was written specifically for his TV variety show’s Christmas episode that year by its vocal director George Wyle and co-composer Edward Pola. As of November 2016 it was the seventh most-played holiday song of the last fifty years.
Here are The Carpenters (Karen, really) singing “Ave Maria,” from the duo’s “Christmas Portait” album, which was first released in 1978. This album is an evergreen:
On April 16, 1998, Christmas Portrait was certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipment of one million copies in the United States since its 1978 release.
In December 2011, Christmas Portrait re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart at No. 150 and eventually achieved a new chart peak position of No. 126. In December 2012 and then in December 2013, the album again re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart and attained a new chart peak position of No. 114. In 2015, it reached a new peak position of No. 93 on the Billboard 200.
By the end of November 2014, Christmas Portrait was the twenty-third best-selling Christmas/holiday album in the United States during the SoundScan era of music sales tracking (March 1991 – present), having sold 1,950,000 copies according to SoundScan.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leslie Odom Jr., singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from his “Simply Christmas” album. If you’re wondering who he is, he won a Tony as the first Aaron Burr in Hamilton. The song has had several iterations of its lyrics since it was written for the Judy Garland film Meet Me in St. Louis. It was sung by Garland’s character Esther, a girl in her late teens, to her five-year-old sister, and its original lyrics were pretty sad.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Garland and the movie people asked that they be lightened up some, as did Frank Sinatra when he wanted to record it for his “A Jolly Christmas” album in 1957.
The first time I heard his name and kept it in my head was when he sang four duets on Linda Ronstadt’s 1989 “Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind album. Besides his solo work he’s worked with his brothers as The Neville Brothers. He’s now 76 years old.
Here are The Andrews Sisters singing “Sleigh Ride.”
It’s not clear when this was first recorded, but it appeared on the 2004 compilation “Songs for Christmas”.
The sisters had an incredible career. It began in the 1930s in the Midwest, first in vaudeville and then touring with big bands. They recorded hundreds of songs as a trio and with other singers, most notably Bing Crosby. During World War Two they toured military bases both domestic and overseas; they also found time to make 17 mostly-B movies between 1940-1948. They cut back on recording and touring in the 1950s, preferring to perform in nightclubs. Their last album appeared in the early 1960s. Patti, the last of the sisters, died in Los Angeles in 2013 at 94.