Merry Christmas (Johnny Mathis album)

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Merry Christmas
Album Johnny Mathis - Merry Christmas cover.jpeg
Studio album by Johnny Mathis
Released October 6, 1958[1]
Recorded June 16, 1958
June 18, 1958
June 20, 1958[2]
Genre Christmas
Length 44:08
Label Columbia
Producer Al Ham
Mitch Miller[2]
Johnny Mathis chronology
Swing Softly
(1958)Swing Softly1958
Merry Christmas
(1958)
Open Fire, Two Guitars
(1959)Open Fire, Two Guitars1959
Alternate cover
LP reissue cover
LP reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link

Merry Christmas is the first Christmas album by American pop singer Johnny Mathis and was released by Columbia Records on October 6, 1958.[1] The selections are a mix of traditional Christmas carols ("Silent Night", "O Holy Night", "The First Noel") and holiday hits ("The Christmas Song", "White Christmas", "Silver Bells").

The album debuted on Billboard magazine's list of the 25 Best-Selling Pop LPs in the US in its December 15, 1958, issue and got as high as number three during its initial four-week run.[3] It made additional appearances there each holiday season from 1959 to 1962 and on the magazine's Christmas Albums and Pop Catalog Albums charts in subsequent years.[1] It received Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 500,000 copies in the US in December 1960[4] and in 2013 ranked as one of the top selling Christmas albums of all time with five million copies sold.[5]

Four songs from the album – "Winter Wonderland", "Blue Christmas", "White Christmas", and "Sleigh Ride" – were also released on the EP Merry Christmas, Vol. 1, which reached number two during the 1958 holiday season and number seven the following year on the magazine's Best-Selling Pop EPs chart.[3] "Winter Wonderland" also spent three weeks on the UK singles chart, where his recording peaked at number 17 over the course of three weeks that began on Christmas Day 1958.[6]

The original album was initially released in the monaural format but became available in stereo in 1959.[7] It was issued in the UK by Fontana Records and was later reissued as an LP with a different cover both there and in the US.[7] The original cover was used for compact disc pressings, the first of which was in 1984,[8] and an edition featuring two bonus tracks was released on September 16, 2003.[9] The 2015 Mathis compilation The Complete Christmas Collection 1958–2010, a 3-CD set on the Real Gone Music label, also includes the album in its track list.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Winter Wonderland" (Richard B. Smith, Felix Bernard) – 3:19
  2. "The Christmas Song" (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells) – 4:18
  3. "Sleigh Ride" (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish) – 2:58
  4. "Blue Christmas" (Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson) – 3:02
  5. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Buck Ram, Kim Gannon, Walter Kent) – 4:04
  6. "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn (Irving Berlin) – 3:32

Side two[edit]

  1. "O Holy Night" (Adolphe Adam) – 4:35
  2. "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)" (William Chatterton Dix) – 3:58
  3. "The First Noel" (Traditional) – 3:49
  4. "Silver Bells" from The Lemon Drop Kid (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans) – 3:34
  5. "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" (Richard Storrs Willis, Edmund Sears) – 3:08
  6. "Silent Night, Holy Night" (Franz Xaver Gruber, Joseph Mohr) – 3:51

2003 CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Christmas Eve" (Allyn Ferguson, Sidney Shaw) – 2:56
  2. "My Kind of Christmas" (Jerry Livingston, Paul Francis Webster) – 3:02
    • above two released as a single on 11/17/61[2]

Recording dates[edit]

Original album[2][edit]

  • June 16, 1958 — "The Christmas Song", "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Silver Bells", "White Christmas"
  • June 18, 1958 — "Blue Christmas", "O Holy Night", "Sleigh Ride", "Winter Wonderland"
  • June 20, 1958 — "The First Noel", "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", "Silent Night, Holy Night", "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)"

2003 CD bonus tracks[10][edit]

  • September 11, 1961 – "Christmas Eve", "My Kind of Christmas"

Billboard album chart positions[3][edit]

Debut date Peak chart positions
Best-Selling Pop LPs Christmas Albums Top Pop Catalog Albums
12/15/58 3
12/21/59 10
12/26/60 10
12/18/61 31
12/8/62 12
11/30/63 2
12/5/64 2
12/11/65 7
12/3/66 2
12/2/67 2
12/7/68 5
12/27/69 15
12/1/73 3
12/24/88 18
12/23/89 20
12/22/90 16
12/7/91 17
12/14/91 24
11/28/92 10
12/5/92 12
12/4/93 21 14
12/3/94 35
12/10/94 29
12/16/95 37
12/21/96 33
12/28/96 39
12/19/98 48
12/18/99 49

Personnel[edit]

Original album[edit]

2003 CD bonus tracks[10][edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c (1993) The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection by Johnny Mathis [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records CK-57194.
  2. ^ a b c d e f (2003) Merry Christmas by Johnny Mathis [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records CK 92705.
  3. ^ a b c Whitburn 2004, p. 167.
  4. ^ "Sounding Off: The Best in Recorded Music". Ebony. December 1987. p. 18B. 
  5. ^ "The Top Selling Christmas Albums of All Time". billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Johnny Mathis - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Johnny Mathis – Merry Christmas". Discogs. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis - Releases". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Merry Christmas [Bonus Tracks] - Johnny Mathis – Release Info". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  10. ^ a b (2015) The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 by Johnny Mathis [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music Entertainment RGM-0400.
  11. ^ a b (1958) Merry Christmas by Johnny Mathis [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Records CL 1195.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel (2004), Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004), Record Research Inc., ISBN 0-89820-161-6