The Doris Day Christmas Album (album)September 14, 1964 1 Comment
US Release Date: 14 September 1964
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- Silver Bells
(Jay Livingston/Ray Evans)
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
(Kim Gannon/Buck Ram/Walter Kent) Listen
(Claude Thornhill/Ray Charles)
(Victor Herbert/Glen MacDonough)
- Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
(Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne) Listen
- Be a Child at Christmas Time
(Martin Broones/William A. Luce)
- Winter Wonderland
(Felix Bernard/Dick Smith) Listen
- The Christmas Song [Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire]
(Mel Torme/Robert Wells)
- Christmas Present
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
[from the movie Meet Me in St. Louis]
(Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane) Listen
- The Christmas Waltz
(Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne)
- White Christmas
[from the movie White Christmas]
(Irving Berlin) Listen
In 1959, Doris’s record label Columbia had contracted her to do a collection of festive-favourites with arranger and producer Frank DeVol (responsible for her hit singles: “Que Sera Sera” and “Everybody Loves a Lover”). Having only previously recorded a handful of seasonal songs during her earlier big-band and solo years, the proposed concept had a great deal of scope. A mixture of traditional and pop tunes were selected for this occasion including “The Christmas Song”, “Winter Wonderland”, “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas”, “The Secret Of Christmas”, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “The First Noel”, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” and “Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly”. Things then quickly advanced to the point of DeVol orchestrating all the backing tracks in preparation for Doris’s vocals. However, for some unknown reason, she never finished the project and it was abandoned.
That was, until the Summer of 1964, when the idea was revived and Doris set to work on The Doris Day Christmas Album, prior to the release that year of her movie Send Me No Flowers. This time Dudley C. ‘Pete’ King was drafted in to conduct – a man whose previous credits had included collaborations with Fred Astaire, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, Julie London and Dean Martin. Under his safe and watchful eye sessions were completed on June 18th, after a mere two days of recording at the legendary Columbia Records studio in Hollywood.
Amongst the 12 finished tracks was a new version of “Silver Bells”, a song Doris had previously recorded in 1950, penned by the same writers as her global smash “Que Sera Sera”. She also took the opportunity to reprise “The Christmas Story”, which she had originally sung 18 years before whilst fronting the Les Brown Orchestra. The other songs, all evergreens, may have already been associated with countless singers but as ever Doris adopted them as her own, giving magical performances of Garlands’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” from her film Meet Me in St. Louis, “Winter Wonderland”, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and Crosby’s “White Christmas”. Once released on the LP went on to peak at #92 on America’s Billboard chart.
The 2003 British CD re-issue of this delightful album features the original sleeve artwork and is enhanced with some bonus tracks. These are the wintry “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” as well as two rarities previously unreleased in the UK: “Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly”, the only surviving track from the unfinished 1959 Christmas album and “Let No Walls Divide”, a biblical ballad specially commissioned in 1961 for the American compilation An All-Star Christmas We Wish You the Merriest (HS-11351).
The sound, the feeling and the warm atmosphere conveyed throughout The Doris Day Christmas Album still to this day truly capture the heart and spirit of the season.
Conductor: Pete King
Label: Columbia Records (USA)
Format: 12″ Mono LP (#CL-2226) / 12″ Stereo LP (#CS-9026)
Highest US Chart Position: #92