December 21, 2020 – Another great piece by Jason Klose, head writer of “Rock History Book”..we put this one on our sister channel “Nail Sheet.” Ther Classic Years of Christmas music.
The Best-Selling Christmas Albums of the ‘60s
1961 – Holiday Sing Along with Mitch, by Mitch Miller & the Gang
After having the best-selling Christmas album for three consecutive years (1958-60), Mitch Miller & the Gang returned with the best-selling record in 1961, this time with Holiday Sing-Along with Mitch. Miller’s second holiday record is just as enjoyable as the first, only with different songs. The album features the holiday favorites “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and the traditional carols “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, and “Auld Lang Syne.”
1962 – Merry Christmas, by Johnny Mathis
Merry Christmas is the first Christmas album by pop singer Johnny Mathis and was originally released by Columbia Records in October 1958. The album features a mix of traditional Christmas carols such as “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night,” and “The First Noel,” and the holiday hits “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” “7White Christmas,” and “Silver Bells.” The holiday album classic features Percy Faith and his orchestra and is produced by Mitch Miller and Al Ham. The album debuted on Billboard magazine’s list of the 25 Best-Selling Pop LPs in the US on December 15, 1958 and got as high as number three during its initial four-week run. It made additional appearances there each holiday season from 1959 to 1962. In 2013, the album ranked as one of the top selling Christmas albums of all time with five million copies sold.
1963 and 1964 – The Andy Williams Christmas Album, by Andy Williams
The Andy Williams Christmas Album is the first Christmas holiday album released by singer Andy Williams and his twelfth studio album overall. Released by Columbia Records in 1963, the album became the best-selling Christmas album of the year and would prove to be the first of eight Christmas records released by Williams. While the album is known for introducing Williams’ perennial holiday classic “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Columbia instead opted to release Williams’ cover of “White Christmas” as the album’s promotional single at the time. The Andy Williams Christmas Album became the best-selling for the second consecutive year when it spent three weeks as the number one selling Christmas album during the holiday season of 1964.
1965 – The Little Drummer Boy: A Christmas Festival, by the Harry Simeone Chorale
The Little Drummer Boy: A Christmas Festival, by the Harry Simeone Chorale, was the best-selling Christmas album for 1965. Led by arranger, conductor, and composer Harry Simeone, the glorious voices of the choir come together on the traditional hymns and carols “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Away in a Manger,” “What Child Is This?”, “Joy to the World,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” In addition to the signature song “The Little Drummer Boy,” the album includes the spiritual song “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and the German Christmas carol “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming.”
1966 – Merry Christmas, by Andy Williams
Andy Williams’ second Christmas album, Merry Christmas, was originally released in 1965 and was Williams’ seventeenth studio album overall. Unlike his first holiday release, The Andy Williams Christmas Album in 1963, which included six traditional hymns and carols, this seasonal LP focused exclusively on 20th century compositions such as “Sleigh Ride,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Silver Bells.” The album charted on Billboard magazine’s special year-end weekly Christmas Albums sales chart for six consecutive holiday seasons from 1965 through 1970. The album spent two weeks as the number one selling Christmas album during the holiday season of 1966 and one week atop that same chart in 1969.
1967 – A Christmas Album, by Barbra Streisand
A Christmas Album by Barbra Streisand is her first Christmas album and her tenth studio album, and it became the top selling Christmas album in 1967. The album is one of Streisand’s best-selling albums and is ranked as one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time. It features many of the holiday classics, including “Jingle Bells,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and a version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things.” A Christmas Album spent all five weeks on Billboard magazine’s special year-end weekly Christmas Albums chart at No. 1, making it the best-selling holiday album of 1967. During sessions for the album in 1966, Streisand also recorded an alternate, English-language version of “Gounod’s Ave Maria,” which remained unreleased until 2005 when it was licensed to a Starbucks Christmas compilation CD titled Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
1968 – That Christmas Feeling, by Glen Campbell
That Christmas Feeling is the eleventh album and first Christmas album by singer-guitarist Glen Campbell, released in 1968 by Capitol Records. Produced, arranged, and conducted by Al De Lory, who produced all of Campbell’s early hits, the album includes traditional holiday favorites such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and originals like Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains” and Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper.” Though the album has never been formally reissued on CD in the United States, it was made available by Capitol Records Nashville in 2010 as a digital download, with the original cover art and two bonus tracks (“The Night Before Christmas” and “Silent Night”).
1969 – Jim Nabors’ Christmas Album, by Jim Nabors
Jim Nabors’ Christmas Album highlights the wonderful vocal baritone of actor and singer Jim Nabors on traditional hymns and carols like “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Originally recorded and released by Columbia Records in 1967, the record became the best-selling Christmas album for 1969. The album also features the holiday favorites “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “Jingle Bells,” “White Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
Check out other Christmas Videos The Top Christmas Albums Of the 1950s
The Top Christmas Album of the 1980s Was Dominated by Country Music
About the writer – Jason Klose is an arts and entertainment writer based in Central Pennsylvania, with experience in print and online media. He has a particular interest in music and television history and is always looking for new and exciting projects. Jason has interviewed several prominent artists and personalities in the entertainment industry including: Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, Charlie Daniels, Dennis DeYoung (Styx), Nancy Wilson (Heart), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Amy Grant, Rosanne Cash, Clint Black, Sara Evans, Carrie Underwood, Bob Eubanks, and many more. Jason’s work can be found on his website: https://jasoncklose.contently.com/
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