Last week, Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music announced our first release of the Christmas season: Chet Atkins' The Complete RCA Victor and Columbia Christmas Recordings, due on November 8. Today, we're excited to announce two more titles coming your way this holiday season!
Between 1961 and 1970, households across America delighted in an annual series of Christmas releases available exclusively through Goodyear locations. 900,000 copies of the first volume of The Great Songs of Christmas were pressed - and proved so successful that, by December 1, 1961, Goodyear ordered all advertising to stop as the album had already sold out. The following year's order was for 1.5 million albums, and 2 million for 1962. By 1966, the series' astounding order was for 3 million LPs. These high-quality albums not only featured the day's top artists but frequently presented songs and versions unavailable anywhere else. Now, Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music are proud to present the first new volume of The Great Songs of Christmas in nearly 50 years bringing many of those exclusive songs together.
The Great Songs of Christmas: Classic Carols and Pop Favorites presents 20 selections primarily drawn from the original, long out-of-print LPs including unique Great Songs versions of favorites from artists such as Johnny Mathis, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, and Andre Kostelanetz; and new-to-CD tracks and rarities from Andre Previn, The Harry Simeone Chorale, Mahalia Jackson, and Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence. As a special bonus, this new volume includes selections from the W.T. Grant's series of custom Christmas albums including never-on-CD songs from '60s rock titans Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and The Raiders) and Gary Puckett! Joe Marchese has provided track-by-track liner notes for this deluxe package designed in the style of the original Columbia Special Products releases by John Sellards. Vic Anesini has mastered this collection at Sony's Battery Studios. We hope The Great Songs of Christmas: Classic Carols and Pop Favorites will become part of your family's annual Christmas tradition. Are you happy to see this classic series return? Please keep those cards and letters coming, and maybe we'll release more volumes in the future! This one's due on November 22.
And that's not all. Eugene Ormandy's 44-year tenure as music director of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra remains the single longest affiliation of conductor and orchestra. Under the direction of Maestro Ormandy, the orchestra earned two Grammy Awards and three Gold records. Now, Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music are thrilled to bring to CD both of Ormandy's original Columbia Records Christmas albums in one deluxe package. The Complete Columbia Christmas Albums presents The Glorious Sound of Christmas (1962) and A Christmas Festival (1964) complete on one CD. On The Glorious Sound of Christmas, Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra welcomed The Temple University Concert Choir under the direction of Robert Page for a stirring set of traditional carols including "Joy to the World," "The First Noel," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Silent Night." Two years later, Ormandy was back in the studio with the Orchestra and Choir, adding The St. Francis de Sales Boychoir led by Peter La Manna. A Christmas Festival picked up where its predecessor left off, with the same lush grandeur in celebration of the season. It featured "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Jingle Bells" alongside stirring renditions of classics such as "Here We Go A-Caroling" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Both albums were produced by Thomas Frost with arrangements by Arthur Harris. This new edition has been remastered by Mike Piacentini at Battery Studios and features new liner notes by Joe Marchese. The Complete Columbia Albums captures some of the most magnificent Christmas music ever release in new sonic splendor. Look for it on November 8.
You'll find pre-order links and track listings for both titles below!
Various Artists, The Great Songs of Christmas: Classic Carols and Pop Favorites (Second Disc Records/Real Gone Music) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Come All Ye Faithful/Gesu Bambino - Percy Faith (*)
- Ring Christmas Bells/The First Noel/We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Frank DeVol and The Rainbow Strings (*)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Andre Previn
- The Holly and the Ivy/We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Andre Previn
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Andre Previn
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Andre Kostelanetz (*)
- The Christmas Song - Johnny Mathis (*)
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Ray Conniff (*)
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Ray Conniff (*)
- Away in a Manger - Mahalia Jackson with Percy Faith's Orchestra
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Harry Simeone Chorale
- Christmas Is... - The Harry Simeone Chorale
- The Christmas Waltz - Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence
- We Need a Little Christmas - Skitch Henderson and The Tonight Show Orchestra
- Christmas Medley - Peter Nero
- Holy Night - Gary Puckett
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Gary Puckett
- What Child Is This - Mark Lindsay
- O Little Town of Bethlehem - Mark Lindsay
- Silent Night - Mark Lindsay
(*) Great Songs of Christmas version
Tracks 1-2 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album One, Columbia Special Products XTV 69406, 1961
Track 3 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Two, Columbia Special Products XTV 86101, 1962
Track 4 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Three, Columbia Special Products CSP 117, 1963
Track 5 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Four, Columbia Special Products CSP 155 S, 1964
Track 6 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Five, Columbia Special Products CSP 238 S, 1965
Tracks 7-10 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Six, Columbia Special Products CSS 388, 1966
Tracks 11-12 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Seven, Columbia Special Products CSS 547, 1967
Track 13 from The Great Songs of Christmas Album Eight, Columbia Special Products CSS 888, 1968
Track 14 from A Very Merry Christmas, Volume 2, Columbia Special Products CS 788, 1968/Skitch Henderson and the Tonight Show Orchestra, Mame, Columbia CS 9318, 1966
Tracks 15-16, 18 from A Very Merry Christmas, Volume 4, Columbia Special Products CSS 1464, 1970
Tracks 16-17, 19-20 from A Rockin' Christmas, Columbia Special Products P 12445, 1974
Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Complete Columbia Christmas Albums (Second Disc Records/Real Gone Music, 2019) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Joy to the World
- O Holy Night (Cantique de Noel)
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
- God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
- Ave Maria
- O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
- The First Noel
- Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
- O Sanctissima (O Du Fröhliche)
- The Worship of God
- O Come, Little Children
- Silent Night, Holy Night
- O Tannenbaum
- It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
- Little Drummer Boy
- I Wonder as I Wander
- For Unto Us a Child Is Born
- Here We Go A-Caroling
- Good King Wenceslas
- Away in a Manger
- Jingle Bells
- We Three Kings of Orient Are
- Hallelujah Chorus
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Tracks 1-14 from The Glorious Sound of Christmas, Columbia Masterworks MS 6369, 1962
Tracks 15-26 from A Christmas Festival, Columbia Masterworks MS 6639, 1964
Looking forward to both of these Christmas releases. The Great Songs Of Christmas LPs are among my favorite vinyl records played every year during the holidays. I grew up with them in our house. It will be nice to have this CD, especially with Mark Lindsay and Gary Puckett tracks from the Very Merry Christmas and Rockin Christmas LPs. Can't wait!
Is Mark Lindsay & Gary Puckett solo versions = with or without their bands?
Joe Marchese says
Hi Steve, these are true solo recordings by Mark and Gary, without The Raiders and The Union Gap, respectively.
Joe Marchese says
Thanks, Zubb! We couldn't be happier to be releasing the first volume of "Great Songs of Christmas" in the 21st century!
Hi Joe. revisiting this post. Will there be anymore volumes of the Great Songs of Christmas collection? Sure hope so. The first one is now a Christmas standard in our house.
Joe Marchese says
Hi Zubb, thanks for the kind words. We’re trying very hard to release more volumes but we’ve faced a number of obstacles. We haven’t given up, and I sincerely hope we’ll be bringing more volumes to you as soon as possible.
Brian Hargett says
Goodyear put out these albums until around 1977 or so. if you check Tim Neely's Christmas album guide. I remember being very upset that we were told there would be no more of these albums when I was 12 or so! Never did care for the True Value albums.
Joe Marchese says
Yessir! The original series lasted thru 1977, by which time Goodyear had switched from Columbia to RCA; some of the later volumes didn't even bear the "Great Songs of Christmas" title. We hope this collection captures the spirit of those great LPs.
The Stanley Arnold Story
Who is Stanley Arnold, and what does he have to do with the Goodyear Christmas albums? Everything, as it turns out. The liner notes for the first nine albums gave credit to a firm known as “Stanley Arnold & Associates,” and I always wondered what that meant. I found the answer in a book called “Tale of the Blue Horse and Other Million Dollar Adventures”, authored by Stanley Arnold himself.
Simply put, Stanley Arnold was an idea man. He originally worked for the ad agency Young & Rubicam, then struck out on his own. He didn’t want to start an ad agency, he started an idea agency, coming up with marketing ideas for companies but letting them (or their ad agencies) handle the details themselves. One of those ideas was getting Goodyear to put out an album of Christmas songs. His logic was simple: “Santa Claus never used a tire, but it occurred to me that Christmas had two deep connections with Goodyear. First, everyone is interested in Christmas; second, Goodyear sells many, many tires during the pre-Christmas season. That would be the million dollar idea for Goodyear, I decided: an album of Christmas music.” He was adamant that the album not be one of “cutie” songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” or “Rudolph”, but rather of classic tunes done by quality artists – a collection worthy to be called “The GREAT Songs of Christmas.”
Arnold was savvy business-wise, not just in the idea department. He had Goodyear act as the outlet for the album, but did not require them to actually invest anything in it; that way, Goodyear couldn’t lose a penny on the deal even if no one actually bought the record. But he did have to convince Goodyear to think big: they initially thought 30,000 copies nationwide would be sufficient for Columbia to make; Arnold was thinking 3 million. They eventually compromised at 900,000. The success was proven by a simple act: by December 1, Goodyear ordered its advertising agency to stop all advertising for the record –because there weren’t any left! The print order for the 1962 album was 1.5 million, and almost 2 million for the 1963 album. History repeated itself, and those albums sold out well before Christmas also. (One additional note: the ad agency that created, and prematurely had to cancel, the ads for the albums was Arnold’s old firm, Young & Rubicam.)
“Tale of the Blue Horse” was published in 1967, and the Stanley Arnold acknowledgment stopped on the albums two years later. I don’t know if the contract ran out, or Goodyear decided to take over, or if Columbia decided to deal directly with Goodyear. But at least we know how this whole thing got started. Based on his writing, Arnold thinks quite a bit of himself. But that ego has given millions of us a million memories – and the fact that you’re reading this shows that those memories carry on many years later. God bless you, Stanley Arnold!
Sorry, totally forgot to mention that these are not my words, but found this interesting information on GeoCities.
Joe Marchese says
Stanley Arnold's story is a fascinating one! We've recounted his contributions to the series in the liner notes to the upcoming volume.