Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season For Wall of Sound

'A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector' tops my long list of holiday favorites. It was first released in 1963 and peaked at No. 13 on the album chart. Sales were probably hurt by the timing of its release... Nov. 22, 1963. If that date sounds familiar, it's because that was the day Kennedy was assassinated. It was first reissued by Apple Records in 1972, and it shot all the way to No. 6. Its popularity has continued to grow through the decades, and the album has been reissued and remastered several times. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 142 on its list of 500 greatest albums of all time. My hero, Brian Wilson, has often called it his favorite record. I got my copy as disc four of Spector's 'Back To Mono' box set nearly 20 years ago.

Spector gathered his stable of stars for the album. Darlene Love, Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, The Crystals and The Ronettes were joined by Spector's usual suspects, including Hal Blaine on drums and Leon Russell on piano. These arrangements have become the standard for popular songs like "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Frosty The Snowman" and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". I'm not a big fan of David Letterman these days, but Love's annual December appearance on his show is a holiday highlight (see below). Enjoy one song from each of the artists on this classic album.

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (mp3)
Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans - The Bells of St. Mary's (mp3)
The Ronettes - Frosty the Snowman (mp3)
The Crystals - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (mp3)

Also From Linear Tracking Lives!
Holiday Harmonies From the Beach Boys
Holidays With the Rat Pack
Holiday Gifts For You From NRBQ

No comments: