Christmas is a time of year that brings together many different types of people. So many holidays are celebrated during this time that it can simply be referred to as the “holiday” season. We have Christmas, Ramadan and Hanukkah. One thing that drives some of us nuts is the ever present use of the same Christmas music over and over again. This music can be annoying if its presented too often or if it’s too schmaltzy. However, here we’ve compiled five Christmas albums that may interest even the most hardened Christmas music hater.
The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album
“The Beach Boys” were the biggest band in America in the early 60′s. Brian Wilson was pumping out an incredible amount of high quality product, one of which was this 1964 album. Five original songs combine Brian’s skilled songwriting and arrangement abilities with the incredible vocalization of the band. Seven standards are skillfully and tastefully arranged by Dick Reynolds, the arranger of one of Brian’s favorite bands, “The Four Freshmen.”
Annie Lennox A Christmas Cornucopia
Annie Lennox was the acclaimed singer of popular band “The Eurythmics” during the 80′s and a late 90′s reunion. Her powerful voice and confrontational, asexual image and feminist stance made her famous. Her solo career has included several acclaimed albums, including the 2010 “A Christmas Cornucopia.” Featuring Lennox arranged Christmas classics, it also includes a Lennox original.
A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records
Phil Spector was a production genius that has unfortunately become more well known for his conviction for murder. However, in the late 50′s and early 60′s no man produced more hits or was more influential. His “wall of sound” production style extended to this 1963 album. Phil took his finest singers and chose 13 Christmas classics. He and his expert arranger Jack Nitzsche created an overwhelming, orchestral wall of sound and voice for each song.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Chip Davis is an American composer who has long released his music under the label “Mannheim Steamroller.” Starting out in more progressive, folk oriented material he finally hit upon his niche with this 1984 album. This album has been classified as six times platinum, making it the most successful Christmas album of all time. The arrangements are thick and luxuriant and very calming.
Shelby Lynne is a country singer perhaps best known for winning a Grammy for “Best New Artist” after being in the business for 13 years. Her 2010 Christmas album showcases her great voice, her rebellious instincts and her well known taste. Shelby chooses sparse, low key arrangements that focus on a few instruments and her voice. Country music fans will delight in hearing Shelby simmer her way through these great song selections.
These Christmas albums prove that Christmas music doesn’t all sound like. From the early rock and roll sounds of the “Beach Boys” to the orchestral intensity of Phil Spector to the low key charm of Shelby Lynne’s country sounds, it won’t be hard to find a Christmas album you like this holiday season.
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