The Beach Boys' Christmas Album

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The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released November 1964[1]
Recorded October 20, 1963; June 18-30, 1964,
Capitol & Western Studios, California
Genre Rock, pop, Christmas, surf rock
Length 27:37
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys chronology
Beach Boys Concert
(1964)
The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
(1964)
Today!
(1965)
The Beach Boys UK chronology
Shut Down Volume 2
(1964)
The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
(1964)
Beach Boys Concert
(1965)
Singles from The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
  1. "Little Saint Nick"
    Released: December 9, 1963
  2. "The Man with All the Toys"
    Released: November 9, 1964
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

The Beach Boys' Christmas Album is a Christmas album by the Beach Boys, released in November 1964. Containing five original songs and seven standards, the album proved to be a long-running success during subsequent Christmas seasons, initially reaching number six in the US Christmas album chart in its year of release and eventually going gold.

History[edit]

Of the original songs, "Little Saint Nick" was already popular, having been a hit single the year before. "The Man with All the Toys" was another hit during Christmastime 1964. "Christmas Day" is noteworthy for being the first Beach Boys song to feature a lead vocal from Al Jardine.

While leader Brian Wilson produced and arranged the "rock" songs, he left it to Dick Reynolds (an arranger of the Four Freshmen, a group Wilson idolized) to arrange the orchestral backings on the traditional songs to which The Beach Boys would apply their vocals. The album was released in both mono and stereo; the stereo mix, prepared by engineer Chuck Britz, would be the last true stereo mix for a Beach Boys album until 1968's Friends.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead Vocals Length
1. "Little Saint Nick"   Brian Wilson/Mike Love Mike Love 1:59
2. "The Man with All the Toys"   B. Wilson/Love Brian Wilson/Love 1:32
3. "Santa's Beard"   B. Wilson/Love Love 1:59
4. "Merry Christmas, Baby"   B. Wilson Love 2:22
5. "Christmas Day"   B. Wilson Al Jardine 1:35
6. "Frosty the Snowman"   Steve Nelson/Jack Rollins B. Wilson 1:54
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead Vocals Length
1. "We Three Kings of Orient Are"   John Henry Hopkins Love/B. Wilson 4:03
2. "Blue Christmas"   Billy Hayes/Jay W. Johnson B. Wilson 3:09
3. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"   J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie B. Wilson/Love 2:20
4. "White Christmas"   Irving Berlin B. Wilson 2:29
5. "I'll Be Home for Christmas"   Kim Gannon/Walter Kent/Buck Ram B. Wilson 2:44
6. "Auld Lang Syne"   Trad. arr. B. Wilson group 1:19

Personnel[edit]

The Beach Boys
    • Orchestra Conducted by Benjamin Barrett
    • Special Arrangements by Dick Reynolds

Sales chart positions[edit]

Albums
Year Chart Position
1964 US Billboard Christmas Albums Chart 6
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1963 "Little Saint Nick" US Billboard Christmas Singles Chart 3
1964 "The Man with All the Toys" US Billboard Christmas Singles Chart 3

Reissues[edit]

  • The Beach Boys' Christmas Album was first issued on CD in 1988 (CDP 7 91008-2), with the single mix of "Little Saint Nick" (in mono and with overdubbed sleigh bells) replacing the LP version as the first track. The first five tracks are presented in mono, while other seven tracks from the original sequence are in stereo.
  • It was reissued on CD in 1989 by Toshiba EMI Japan (TOCP-5945), with all twelve original tracks in stereo, plus the single mono version of "Little Saint Nick" and its B-side "The Lord's Prayer" (mono version) added as bonus tracks.
  • It was again reissued on CD in 1991 (CDP 7 95084-2), with all twelve original tracks in stereo and four bonus tracks added: the single version of "Little Saint Nick", its B-side "The Lord's Prayer" (this time in stereo), and alternate takes of "Little Saint Nick" (utilizing the melody from the group's song "Drive-In") and "Auld Lang Syne" (without Dennis' spoken message overdubbed). "The Man With All The Toys", "Santa's Beard", "Merry Christmas, Baby" and "Christmas Day" are in mono, while other eight tracks from the original sequence are in stereo.
  • 1998 saw the release of Ultimate Christmas, a new CD compilation containing all of the twelve tracks from the original LP (in stereo, with "Little Saint Nick" presented in a new stereo mix that added the sleigh bells from the single version), all of the bonus tracks from the previous CD except for "The Lord's Prayer", and 11 additional tracks including the 1974 single "Child of Winter" and several previously-unreleased tracks from an aborted 1977 Christmas album.
  • Christmas with the Beach Boys, issued in 2004, is essentially a reissue of Ultimate Christmas with a new title and cover art and one song ("Christmas Time Is Here Again") deleted from the tracklist. Like Ultimate Christmas, it omits "The Lord's Prayer" from the "Little Saint Nick" single.
  • Christmas Harmonies, a 2009 compilation, includes 11 of the 12 tracks from the original LP (including the single mix of "Little Saint Nick" and mono mixes of the other Wilson/Love compositions), as well as the alternate take of "Auld Lang Syne", the "Child of Winter" single, and two of the 1977 tracks.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Badman, Keith. The Beach Boys. The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band: On Stage and in the Studio Backbeat Books, San Francisco, California, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-818-4 p. 72
  2. ^ Allmusic review