Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#822) is Phil Spector, Phil Spector’s Christmas Album
In November of 1963, The Philles label released one of its few long-playing records, “A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records”. Consisting mostly of secular Christmas standards it is one of famed producer Phil Spector’s masterpieces and was later released as A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector and later simply Phil Spector’s Christmas Album when re-released by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1972. No matter what the title or it’s varying cover photos, it is a true classic with Spector’s trademark “Wall of Sound” style and selections featuring vocal performances of his regular artists during that time.
Oddly enough, one of the most joyous albums of the century was originally released on the same day of the JFK assassination, which may have had something to do with its relative failure at the time of its release. The album has grown in popularity over the years and, although not the first rock album to take on Christmas, it is the most definitive holiday album of the genre and quite possibly the best. Even taken out of the holiday category, this album could be considered one of the best in rock and roll, period!
Thirteen songs by a collection of four artists combine to make this fantastic recording. Darlene Love, The Ronettes, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans and The Crystals all show off their powerful vocal talents and Hall of Fame status for some. Hearing the Ronettes “Jing-a-linging” through their version of “Sleigh Ride” is thrilling enough but to hear Darlene Love soaring and passionate alto rocking through the Greenwich/Barry/Spector penned, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” will send chills up the spine of the most parsimonious Scrooge. Love’s version of “Marshmallow World” is also fun and the whole album is wonderfully arranged by the great Jack Nitzsche and performed by a group of regular Spector session musicians, including Hal Blaine, Sonny Bono, Leon Russell and Tommy Tedesco.
It is not only the first true collection of Christmas tunes from a group of rock artists, it has influenced many great artist’s own holiday numbers, most notably Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” among many others. Springsteen’s version is almost an exact reproduction of the Crystals production.
If you have never heard this album or anything from it you had to have been living in a cave for the past 50 years. Do yourself a favor and go and get it NOW! It will make your season much brighter.
— Bubby Lewis
- White Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman
- Bells of St. Mary’s
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
- Sleigh Ride
- It’s a Marshmallow World
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Winter Wonderland
- Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
- Here Comes Santa Claus
- Silent Night
- Jack Nitzsche – arrangements, percussion
- Louis Blackburn – horns
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Sonny Bono – percussion
- Leon Russell – piano
- Roy Caton – trumpet
- Steve Douglas – saxophone
- Frank Capp – percussion
- Barney Kessel – guitar
- Jay Migliori – saxophone
- Bill Pitman – guitar
- Ray Pohlman – bass
- Irv Rubins – guitar
- Tommy Tedesco – guitar
- Nino Tempo – guitar
- Johnny Vidor – strings
Here are more Christmas albums that we’ve featured