Very early on in his fledgling career, the King had the foresight to release a Christmas album before it became fashionable to do so.
Of course, it was a chart smash and rode the wave at close to the pinnacle of his powers. Accordingly, this record is not only the best selling Christmas recording, but also one of the best selling records, period.
Blending a mix of Christmas and gospel songs was inspired, as was the inclusion of two contemporary rock’n’roll songs, ‘Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’. A killer band accompaniment, The Jordanaires’ searing melodies make this album simply beautiful while Elvis Presley was no slouch, turning everything to gold with his infectious voice.
Let’s not forget that this was a time when Presley was in his prime rock phase, rather than what was to become a caricature of a bloated, space cadet singing the standards.
Sensitive and emotive, Presley produces the most powerful performances on ‘Silent Night’, ‘Peace In The Valley’ and ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’, the last of which was reportedly Martin Luther King Jr’s favourite song.
You cannot argue with such an endorsement. And just in case anyone wants to know, a few months later Presley was conscripted into the army thus temporarily stalling his head full of steam.
This record captures a performer who clearly loves the subject matter and superbly streamlines his singing in accordance with the necessary mood. A classic in every sense of the word.