UPDATE (9/27/2013): If you missed this remaster of A Charlie Brown Christmas (which we later reviewed) last year, fear not: it’s being released again – same disc, same master – with special “Snoopy Doghouse” packaging on October 22, 2013. That version can be bought by clicking the image above.
ORIGINAL POST (8/23/2012): Around Second Disc HQ, it’s hardly a Christmas season without good friends and family, beautiful decorations, and classic holiday music. For this holiday, a new CD edition of one of our favorite Christmas classics is coming out with a new remaster of Vince Guaraldi’s immortal soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).
Vince Guaraldi would have likely attained icon status with his 1962 song “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” a breezy, Grammy-winning tune that seemed destined to become a standard. The song was heard by television producer Lee Mendelson, who was in the middle of finding a composer to provide a soundtrack to A Boy Named Charlie Brown, a documentary Mendelson was producing on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip. Though the documentary was never aired on TV, Guaraldi’s music coupled with new animation of Charlie Brown and friends by Bill Melendez encouraged CBS to take a chance on a half-hour holiday special featuring the characters.
Despite a tight budget and a cast of young, untrained voice actors, A Charlie Brown Christmas became a rightful smash, viewed by half of the American television audiences in its premiere broadcast. To this day, dozens of Peanuts specials – some with music by and inspired by Guaraldi (who died in 1976) – have been made, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is still a network television staple.
The album, containing the unforgettable originals “Christmas Time is Here” and “Linus and Lucy” – the de facto theme for all things Peanuts – is a catalogue classic, having been released in a few different configurations by Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group over the years. (The 1988 CD premiere added one bonus track, “Greensleeves,” while a 2006 remaster added several alternate cues. That disc did court controversy, however, by utilizing a new remix and accidentally using alternate takes of some familiar songs. An amazing history of the soundtrack and its many reissues can be read here.)
The new edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas – newly remastered from the original analog stereo mixes by Joe Tarantino – also features new liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang and three additional bonus tracks: “Greensleeves,” “Thanksgiving Theme” and “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.” (Both were featured on the 1998 Concord disc Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits.) Additionally, a new green-colored vinyl release of the album will be available.
The discs are available October 9. Hit the jump to order your copy!
The Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording of The CBS Television Special (originally released as Fantasy 8431, 1965 – reissued Fantasy/Concord, 2012)
- O Tannenbaum
- What Child is This?
- My Little Drum
- Linus and Lucy
- Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental)
- Christmas Time is Here
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- Christmas is Coming
- Für Elise
- The Christmas Song
- Greensleeves (original CD bonus track – Fantasy FCD 8431-2, 1988)
- Thanksgiving Theme (from Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits – Fantasy FCD 9682-2, 1998)
- The Great Pumpkin Waltz (from Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits – Fantasy FCD 9682-2, 1998)