In the world of rock n roll, Christmas albums are an anomaly. Rarely do they count when evaluating artists from an historical perspective I mean, nobody argues that Elvis Presley belongs on a list of the greatest rock n rollers because he cut an excellent Christmas album yet rock n roll Christmas albums have their place. And why not? Christmas is joyous, rock n roll is joyous. Could there be anything more joyous than a combination of the two?!
You can count the great rock n roll Christmas albums on two hands. Theres a couple of Elvis Christmas sets, theres Phil Spectors Christmas Album, a quartet or so of great Motown Christmas long players, the Ventures instrumental attack on the holiday, and The Beach Boys Christmas set.
Released in 1964, The Beach Boys Christmas Album is unique among all the others in that it includes more than just a token one or two new, original Christmas songs. In fact, five of the albumís 12 songs were written by members of the group three by group mastermind Brian Wilson with lead singer Mike Love, and another two by Wilson on his own.
One of the original songs, Little Saint Nick, has become a perennial classic, heard every holiday season on radio and in stores. The song has even been covered by other artists (most recently by teen sensations Hanson), an honor rarely afforded original Christmas songs associated strongly with specific artists.
In the years since its release, The Beach Boys Christmas Album has remained continually in print, showing up in record store bins every fall. Since the advent of the CD, it has appeared in several different permutations. This latest one, we hope, is its ultimate form. We have expanded the original albums 27-minute playing time to nearly an hour, with the addition of more than a dozen bonus tracks.
The majority of the bonus tracks are drawn from The Beach Boys second attempt at a Christmas album, 13 years after the first. Although finished and sequenced, that 1977 set was rejected by the groups label at the time and never released. The tapes ended up sitting on the shelf for 21 years before being dusted off to contribute their best songs to this collection. Among them, theres even an update of the concept they pitched to us more than three decades ago if Santa needed a hot rod sled (the Little Saint Nick) to get the job done in the 1960s, then heís obviously going to need something even faster today. Would you believe Santas Got an Airplane?
We hope you enjoy this collection of spirited Christmas tunes. Theres something here for everybody, from traditional religious carols to upbeat rock n roll to whimsical fun to seasonal odes. And all of it features the classic harmonies of one of the quintessential American rock groups Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love and Alan Jardine, known worldwide as The Beach Boys.
Surf s up!
Read the track notes for Ultimate Christmas
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