October is upon us, and while 2020 hasn't given us much to rejoice about, the holiday season is almost here. Before the month is out, radio stations will begin switching to seasonal formats, and television will begin showing yuletide movies. With a never-ending barrage of bad news, "we need a little Christmas right this very minute" has hardly seemed more apt. Sony's Legacy Recordings is getting a head start on Christmas this year with the release on vinyl of 10 favorite albums from the vaults of Columbia, RCA, Arista, and more. On Friday, October 2, Legacy reissued these classics in new vinyl pressings:
Alabama, Christmas (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Alabama's 1985 Christmas album was their first and most successful seasonal set, earning a Double Platinum certification and yielding two sequels. Now, the album of original compositions featuring "Christmas in Dixie," "Tennessee Christmas," and "Thistlehair the Christmas Bear" is back on vinyl.
Gene Autry, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Other Christmas Classics (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Legacy's 2003 anthology of the Singing Cowboy's Christmas favorites comes to vinyl for the first time, featuring his classic renditions of "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Frosty the Snowman," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and 14 more.
Perry Como, Season's Greetings from Perry Como (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
It's been almost 35 years since Perry Como's 1959 Christmas classic with Mitchell Ayres' orchestra and The Ray Charles Singers has appeared vinyl. Como's laid-back sensibility and innate warmth come across just as beautifully today on such standards as "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays," "Here We Come A-Caroling/We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "O Holy Night," and "The Story of The First Christmas" incorporating four traditional carols. Barnes & Noble has an exclusive "gift wrap red" color variant, out now.
Kenny G, Miracles: The Holiday Album (Arista/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
The smooth saxophonist's seventh LP, Miracles: The Holiday Album ascended to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has since gone on to an 8x Platinum certification. The best-selling Christmas album of the SoundScan era, it's only seen limited release on vinyl until now. Miracles features his adult contemporary takes on "Greensleeves," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Chanukah Song," and seven more.
Dean Martin, The Dean Martin Christmas Album (Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Dino teamed with producer Jimmy Bowen and arrangers Bill Justis and Ernie Freeman for this heartfelt, laid-back collection of holiday favorites. His first and only Christmas album for the Reprise label, the 1965 classic returns to vinyl for the first time in almost 50 years with his relaxed versions of "Blue Christmas," "A Marshmallow World," "Silent Night," and the unexpected "The Things We Did Last Summer." This pressing is on red vinyl.
Johnny Mathis, Merry Christmas (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Johnny Mathis has one of the greatest legacies of Christmas music in pop history - and it all began with this 1958 best-seller on which he was accompanied by the orchestra of the legendary Percy Faith. Merry Christmas is still a high watermark of the genre, with Johnny's silken recordings of songs both joyous and tender, including "Sleigh Ride," "Winter Wonderland," "The Christmas Song," "What Child Is This," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
Elvis Presley, The Classic Christmas Album (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
This compilation was originally released on CD in 2012. Now it comes to vinyl minus the Martina McBride virtual duet of "Blue Christmas;" the original of that classic track is still here along with other Elvis Christmas favorites such as "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me," "White Christmas," and "Merry Christmas, Baby." 16 tracks. Target will have an exclusive snowflake color variant due October 30.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Once Upon a Christmas (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
In 1984, superstars Kenny and Dolly came together for this instant-classic, double Platinum Christmas album featuring duets and solos of both classics ("Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride," "White Christmas") and original fare ("A Christmas to Remember," "Christmas Without You"). Produced by David Foster and Kenny, it was Rogers' second Christmas album and Parton's first, and tied in with a popular television special titled A Christmas to Remember. This new vinyl edition replicates the track listing of the 1997 reissue which drops Rogers' solos ("Silent Night" and "The Christmas Song") and adds Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. (Dolly's third Christmas album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, is also out now.)
Various Artists, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Widely considered the greatest rock-and-roll Christmas album of all time, Legacy has a new vinyl pressing of A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector in its original mono splendor. For this 1963 Philles LP, the producer unleashed his Wall of Sound on such perennials as Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," "Winter Wonderland," "Marshmallow World," and "White Christmas;" The Ronettes' "Sleigh Ride," "Frosty the Snowman," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus;" The Crystals' "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers;" and more.
Andy Williams, The Personal Christmas Collection (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
This 1994 compilation comes to vinyl, bringing together 15 songs from Andy's three beloved Columbia Christmas albums: The Andy Williams Christmas Album (1963), Merry Christmas (1965), and Christmas Present (1974). These favorites include "Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season," "Winter Wonderland," "Sleigh Ride," "Silver Bells," "My Favorite Things," and the evergreen "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" which debuted within the top 10 of the new Billboard Holiday 100 in 2011 and has reappeared every year on the chart since, reaching an all-time peak of No. 7 in January 2020. Barnes & Noble has an exclusive "holly green" color variant, out now.
All of these titles are available now at the links accompanying each description.
Dirk Rozendale says
Where is The Doris Day Christmas album on vinyl or hires digital download???
Steve C says
Looking forward to this Bear Family CD:
What a disappointment that the Kenny/Dolly album will not be restored to its original tracklisting. Since this was originally released on vinyl, space limitation was certainly not a concern. I wonder why RCA/Legacy stopped issuing the full album years ago. With Kenny's passing, restoring the full album in all formats would have been a wonderful tribute to Kenny and to his collaborations with Dolly.
Joe Marchese says
I believe rights to the Kenny solo tracks reverted to him upon his departure from RCA, and Sony (likely for budgetary reasons) has subsequently chosen not to license them back for the in-print CD and this vinyl reissue.
Thanks for the info, Joe. I figured it was some sort of licensing issue although both Kenny and Dolly were signed to RCA at the time. I bought the CD years ago to replace my cassette copy and was disappointed by the missing tracks and the change in track sequencing. This would have been a great opportunity to right those wrongs. Oh, well....
Rob Wilson says
dammit, I would have paid good money for a Luther Vandross Christmas vinyl
Rich D says
Found this on the Steve Hoffman board regarding the Kenny & Dolly Christmas album and the dropping of Kenny's solo versions of "Silent Night" and "The Christmas Song" :
I always heard it was a kind of punishment by BMG to Kenny since he blasted his shoddy treatment by RCA in the press once Bob Summers was ousted as labelhead. Rogers somewhat covered this in his memoir without referring to why the Xmas album changed. The new president, Bob Buziak, told Kenny point blank he would no longer promote his records since doing so would make Summers look good and make the people who hired him wonder why they had. He exacted the same punishment on Diana Ross who was considered another overpriced commodity by the label.
Thanks again Bro. Joe for Christmas music updates & sharing your gift of reporting....