"It really is the best season of the year. The Christmas carols, trees and lights just grab you. There is something about Christmas and being home that I just can't explain. Maybe it's being with the family and with friends, time to read and to study. And, of course, there are the snowball fights and sleigh rides and, yes -- just home:" Elvis' heartfelt words about the holidays were revealed to his hometown newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar, in 1966, though Christmas had been a special time for him since his childhood in Tupelo.
for the season prompted Elvis to put out several Christmas albums during his
career, beginning with the November 19, 1957, release of Elvis’ Christmas
Album. In addition to such Christmas standards as "White Christmas,"
"Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and "Silent Night," this album
featured a couple of contemporary holiday tunes.
Elvis Presley unintentionally fanned the flames of controversy with the release
of Elvis' Christmas Album, because many felt that the rebellious rocker was
unsuited to such sacred material.
During the recording sessions for the album, material ran short so Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller retired to the mixing room for a while and came up with a clever piece called "Santa Claus Is Back in Town." Elvis' bluesy rendition of "Blue Christmas" made it a classic that would always be associated with him.
Elvis' Christmas Album hit the top of Billboard's best-selling albums chart and eventually achieved sales of over $1 million. The next year, the album was released with a new cover and a new number, LPM-1951. This release made Billboard's top-selling albums chart on three occasions -- January 1961, January 1962, and December 1967 -- which attests to its timeless popularity.
At the time of the album's initial release, Elvis was still generating controversy with his live performances, and many in the press and industry felt that it was in bad taste for a notorious rock 'n' roller to cut a Christmas album. Several disc jockeys refused to play any cuts from the album.
At station KEX in Portland, Oregon, deejay AI Priddy was fired for playing Elvis' rendition of "White Christmas." Some radio stations banned the album outright, while WCFL of Chicago got carried away and banned all records by Elvis. Fortunately, the excitement over the Christmas album faded quickly, having been replaced by news that Elvis had received his draft notice.
Elvis left the music scene for two years while he served his tour of duty, and when he returned in 1960, it was with a new, more mature image and mellower sound. To learn more about his first post-army album, Elvis Is Back, see the next section.
Elvis' Christmas Album
- "Santa Claus Is Back In Town"
- "White Christmas"
- "Here Comes Santa Claus"
- "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
- "Blue Christmas"
- "Santa, Bring My Baby Back (to Me)"
- "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem"
- "Silent Night"
- "Peace In the Valley"
- "I Believe"
- "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"
- “It Is No Secret"
For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see: