A Charlie Brown Christmas (album)

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Cover to the 2006 re-master, a slightly modified version of the original
Soundtrack album by Vince Guaraldi Trio
Released 1965 (1965)
Recorded 1965
Genre Christmas music, cool jazz, mainstream jazz
Length 39:25
Language Instrumental, English
Label Fantasy
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Cover to the 1988 re-release
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars link

A Charlie Brown Christmas is an album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, released in 1965 as the soundtrack to the CBS Christmas television special of the same name. It is among the most popular Christmas albums of all time.

Album information[edit]

Fantasy Records first reissued the album on CD in 1986, with a track listing and cover art identical to the original 1965 LP release. In 1988, a new CD version was issued, with updated cover art and "Greensleeves" added as a bonus track. This track features Guaraldi performing as part of a different trio than the one heard on the original eleven songs. This CD version can still be purchased in stores and online with the cover art shown on the right and to the bottom.[1]

In 1997 Fantasy issued a Starbucks Exclusive edition of the album, sold only through Starbucks retail. This version omitted "Greensleeves" and had very different cover art and new liner notes. A somewhat controversial remastered version (see below) of the original album was released by Concord Records in conjunction with Fantasy on October 10, 2006. The 2006 edition includes four previously unreleased bonus tracks—all are alternate versions of songs in the original track listing—and features Digipak packaging, new liner notes by music critic and historian Joel Selvin, and the original cover art.[2]

In 2012, Fantasy again reissued the album; this time entitled, "A Charlie Brown Christmas [2012 Remastered & Expanded Edition]", with 14 tracks, including two songs from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown respectively.[3] This reissue features the original 1965 recording newly remastered with 24-bit technology from the original analog stereo master tapes and a booklet containing images from the show and new liner notes by Derrick Bang. Concurrent with the digital release, Fantasy will issue a 2012 LP pressing (on green vinyl) of the album.

A Charlie Brown Christmas was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007.[4] In 2012 the album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings.[5]

There was also a book-and-record set (featuring music, dialogue and stills from the television special) released in 1977 on a 33 RPM vinyl record by Disneyland Records.

Track listing[edit]

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "O Tannenbaum"   5:08
2. "What Child Is This?"   2:25
3. "My Little Drum"   3:12
4. "Linus and Lucy"   3:06
5. "Christmas Time Is Here" (Instrumental version) 6:05
Side Two
No. Title Length
6. "Christmas Time Is Here" (Vocal version) 2:47
7. "Skating"   2:27
8. "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing"   1:55
9. "Christmas Is Coming"   3:25
10. "Für Elise"   1:06
11. "The Christmas Song"   3:17
1988 re-release bonus track
No. Title Length
12. "Greensleeves" (Added with 1988 release. Not included on 1997 Starbucks release or 2006 Analogue Productions 2 LP) 5:26
2006 remastered version bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Christmas Is Coming" (Alternate Take 1)  
14. "The Christmas Song" (Alternate Take 3)  
15. "Greensleeves" (Alternate Take 6)  
16. "Christmas Time Is Here" (Alternate Vocal Take)  
2012 Remastered & Expanded Edition
No. Title Length
1. "O Tannenbaum"   5:03
2. "What Child Is This?"   2:20
3. "My Little Drum"   3:15
4. "Linus and Lucy"   3:03
5. "Christmas Time is Here" (Instrumental version) 6:09
6. "Christmas Time is Here" (Vocal version) 2:44
7. "Skating"   2:25
8. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"   1:55
9. "Christmas Is Coming"   3:22
10. "Für Elise"   1:02
11. "The Christmas Song"   3:18
12. "Greensleeves"   5:29
13. "Great Pumpkin Waltz"   2:26
14. "Thanksgiving Theme"   1:59

Commercial performance[edit]

A Charlie Brown Christmas first appeared on a Billboard magazine music sales chart on the week of 19 December 1987, when it both debuted and peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Christmas Albums sales chart.[6] The album charted on Billboard's Christmas Albums chart each Christmas/holiday season from 1988 through 2003, peaking as high as No. 8 in both 2001 and 2002.[6]

The album also charted on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart during the Christmas/holiday season each year from 1991 through 2003, peaking as high as No. 6 in 2001.[6]

On 30 November 2006, A Charlie Brown Christmas was certified three-times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of three million copies in the United States.[7]

A Charlie Brown Christmas was also the tenth best-selling holiday album of 2011, a year that marked the sixth time since 2001 that the album had ranked among the year's top 10 Christmas albums.[4] It was also the ninth best-selling album of 2013.[8]

As of November 2013, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the tenth best-selling Christmas/holiday album in the U.S. during the Nielsen/SoundScan era of music sales (March 1991 – present).[9] It has sold a total of 3,409,000 copies since 1991 according to SoundScan.[10]

Controversy over 2006 remaster[edit]

Concord Music Group, the parent company of both Concord Records and Fantasy Records, acknowledged negative criticism in a post on its website entitled "Oh, Good Grief! A Charlie Brown Christmas Conundrum". The article explains what listeners were hearing, and notes that mistakes had indeed been made in the remastered version.

MISTAKES (the master was corrected for subsequent pressings)

  • Track 4: "Linus and Lucy" – the original LP version was an edit of two different takes. In the remix for the new CD, one of the takes was used in its entirety; a 25 second section of the previously unreleased part of the take (beginning at 1 minute 54 seconds) is heard in the TV animation at 17 minutes 11 seconds into the show.
  • Track 9: "Christmas Is Coming"—the original LP version and the version on the new CD are entirely different takes.


  • Track 1: "O Tannenbaum" – the original LP version had the introduction to the song cut off; the new CD has the intro reinstated.
  • Track 5: "Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)" – the original LP version fades out at the end of the song almost losing the last chord; the new CD intentionally retains the last chord.
  • Track 7: "Skating" – the original LP version fades during the bass solo at the very end; the new CD intentionally allows the song run to its conclusion adding about ten seconds to the track.
  • Regarding the perceived use of noise reduction: The new CD is remixed from the original three-track so the reason the old familiar hiss is not heard is not due to the use of noise reduction, but rather that the new mix is much quieter than the two-track stereo master. The only place noise reduction was utilized was on Track 10, "Für Elise", as there is no three-track for that master—it was originally recorded direct to two-track.
  • Track 8: "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing"- In the movie, the part where the children are humming the song to the accompaniment of a Hammond organ is cut off by Charlie Brown saying, "What's going on here?", and after they all say "MERRY CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN!", they all commence singing the song. Also, the final six seconds were missing because of the original voice-over that used to say, "Brought to you by the people in your town who bottle Coca Cola." In the new Soundtrack, both the humming and the singing tracks are complete.

A free replacement disc (correcting the 2 errors) was offered to those who desired one, with a stated offer expiration of March 1, 2007. Also, the post promises that all new copies produced from that point forward would be of the correct version of the remastered CD.[11]


The Vince Guaraldi Trio
Additional musicians

Children's chorus for the songs "Christmas Time Is Here", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and when the kids all shout "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" were performed by members of the choir of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael California. Several months before the making of Charlie Brown Christmas this choir was featured on the Vince Guaraldi recording Vince Guaraldi at Grace Cathedral.

Original Production
  • Sol S. Weiss – recording engineer (attributed on the back cover, original album pressing)


  1. ^ "Fantasy Records — A Charlie Brown Christmas 12-track CD". Pricegrabber.com. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  2. ^ "Concord Music Group — A Charlie Brown Christmas [Remastered with Bonus Tracks]". Concord Music Group. Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  3. ^ "A Charlie Brown Christmas [2012 Remastered & Expanded Edition]". Concord Music Group. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  4. ^ a b Grein, Paul (2012-01-04). "Week Ending Jan. 1, 2012. Albums: She’s Back". Yahoo! Music. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  5. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2011". National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Library of Congress. May 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920–2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 149. ISBN 0-89820-161-6. 
  7. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  8. ^ Paul Grein (January 2, 2014). "The Top 10 Soundtracks of 2013". Chart Watch (Yahoo). 
  9. ^ Grein, Paul (November 20, 2013). "Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP' Off to a Slow Start". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Paul Grein (May 14, 2014). "Chart Watch: ‘Now’ Bumps ‘Frozen’…Again". Yahoo Music Chart Watch. 
  11. ^ shurbuilders. ""CONCORD EXPLAINS": Amazon.com Customer Review — A Charlie Brown Christmas". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 

External links[edit]