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Perry Como

Perry's connection with "Christmas Music" has followed him throughout his career. Few appreciate that his recordings for the original "Merry Christmas Music" Musical Smart Set were recorded in 1946. And these recordings were made by methods which were literally turned upside down within a decade. Those songs have appeared in various compilations, including compact disc, and have stood the test of time for more than fifty years.

Perry recorded two additional full-length stereophonic Christmas albums, one in 1959 ("Seasons Greetings") and the other in 1968 ("The Perry Como Christmas Album"), and both were equally successful.

Surprisingly, a number of Christmas singles have not been available widely, the most obscure being his 1950s recording of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", and more recently his 1967 recordings of "Christmas Bells" and "Love Is a Christmas Rose".

Perry's last studio recorded Christmas single was a theme song for the motion picture soundtrack "The Odessa File", composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Timothy Rice, with German lyrics by André Heller, titled "Christmas Dream", which he recorded in 1974.

He also recorded another Christmas song for his 1981 television special "Perry Como's French-Canadian Christmas", composed by Nick Perito and Richard Matheson, titled "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever", which was later released as the title track of a special Christmas album compilation. Both songs are somewhat autobiographical of Perry's long time association with Christmas music and no doubt will be long remembered as such.

Six of Como’s Christmas recordings sold well enough to make the music charts. They include:

  • Winter Wonderland (1946)
  • Jingle Bells (1946)
  • White Christmas (1947)
  • There’s No Christmas Like A Home Christmas (1950)
  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (with the Fontaine Sisters, 1951, the same year as it was written)
  • Home for the Holidays (1954, the same year as it was written; it was Como who first made this song a hit, and his version is considered "the standard."; it was the number one Christmas song for that year)
  • Christmas Dream (1974, for the film soundtrack The Odessa File by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice; the number one Christmas song for that year)

Although his Christmas output was significant – only Bing Crosby made hits out of a larger number of Christmas singles (10) – it was bolstered by the annual Christmas show on television, plus three Christmas specials in the 1980s. The sizes of these audiences were staggering; in a single evening, Como would reach millions of viewers. And his annual Christmas specials were eagerly awaited, together with other "crooners" of the time, including Bing Crosby and Andy Williams.

In the category of top Christmas albums, Como is in a six way tie for first (3 top albums, with Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, and Ray Conniff). The albums, each selling more than 500,000 copies, were Season’s Greetings From Perry Como, Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music, and The Perry Como Christmas Album.

The Perry Como Christmas albums, and their dates of release:

Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music, 1951

Album cover from 1951

Album cover from 1956

Side One ~ recordings circa 1953

  • 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, Words by Clement Clarke Moore, With String Ensemble directed by Mitchell Ayres
  • ( The ) Twelve Days of Christmas, Traditional Christmas Music, With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
  • God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Traditional Christmas Music, With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
  • C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, Music by Eddy Arnold and lyrics by Jenny Lou Carson, 1949, With Mitchell Ayres and His Orchestra
  • Joy To The World, Words and Music by Isaac Watts and George F. Handel, With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Words and Music by Johnny Marks , 1949, With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
  • Frosty the Snowman, Words and Music by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, 1950, With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
  • ( The ) Christmas Song ( Merry Christmas To You ), Music by Mel Tormé and lyrics by Robert Wells, 1946, With Mitchell Ayres and His Orchestra

Side Two ~ recordings circa 1946 / 47

  • That Christmas Feelin', ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", Words and Music by Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss, With Russ Case and His Orchestra
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", Words and Music by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon and Buck Ram, With Russ Case, his Orchestra and Chorus
  • Silent Night, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", Words and Music by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber, With Organ and Choir conducted by Russ Case
  • O Come All Ye Faithful ( Adeste Fideles ), ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", Latin Hymn translated by Frederick Oakeley, With Organ and Choir conducted by Russ Case
  • Jingle Bells, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", Words and Music by J. S. Pierpont, With Russ Case, his Orchestra and Chorus
  • White Christmas ~ added in 1947, Words and Music by Irving Berlin, 1942, With Mixed Chorus and Lloyd Shaffer's Orchestra, Recorded circa 1946 ~ 47, New York ( date not-listed )
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town ~ dropped in 1961, Words and Music by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots , 1934, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", With Russ Case and his Orchestra and The Satisfiers
  • Winter Wonderland, Words and Music by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", With Russ Case and His Orchestra and The Satisfiers
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem ~ dropped in 1947, Words and Music by Phillips Brooks and Lewis H. Redner, ~ from the Musical Smart Set "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music", With Organ and Choir conducted by Russ Case

1961 RCA Camden Cover

Reissued RCA Camden Cover (with new artwork)

Around The Christmas Tree (1953)

Twas the Night Before Christmas and the Twelve Days of Christmas (1953)

Season's Greetings, 1959 (RCA Victor) (Digitally remastered and reissued on CD ROM by BMG.)

 

 

Recorded July 13, 14 and 15, 1959 in Webster Hall, New York City

Side One

  • ( There's No Place Like ) Home for the Holidays, Music by Robert Allen and lyrics by Al Stillman 1954
  • Winter Wonderland, Words and Music by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Words and Music by Johnny Marks , 1949
  • ( The ) Christmas Song ( Merry Christmas to You ), Music by Mel Tormé and lyrics by Robert Wells, 1946
  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Words and Music by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots , 1934
  • White Christmas, Words and Music by Irving Berlin, 1942

Side Two

  • Here We Come A-Caroling — We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Traditional arranged by Ray Charles
  • God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Traditional Christmas Music
  • O Holy Night, Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam
  • The Story of the First Christmas: ( Medley ), Adapted by John A. Richards with musical arrangements by Mitchell Ayres, Narration with Christmas carols: O Little Town of Bethlehem; Come, Come, Come to the Manger; The First Noël; O Come All Ye Faithful; We Three Kings of Orient Are; Silent Night
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem, Words and Music by Phillips Brooks and Lewis H. Redner
  • Come, Come, Come to the Manger, Traditional Christmas Music, Adapted by Mitchell Ayres
  • The First Noël, Traditional Christmas Music
  • O Come All Ye Faithful, Latin Hymn translated by Frederick Oakeley
  • We Three Kings of Orient Are, Adapted by Mitchell Ayres and Jack Andrews
  • Silent Night, Words and Music by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber

The Perry Como Christmas Album, 1968 (RCA Victor)

Recorded in Webster Hall, New York City
Recorded at RCA Victor Studio A, 24th Street, New York City ( remakes only )
Recorded July 9th ~ August 6th, 1968
Original Release: 1968,  
Recorded in Living Stereo

 

Side 1

  • Christmas Eve, Music by Gerard Andre Biesel and lyrics by Ray Charles
  • Do You Hear What I Hear?, Words and Music by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, 1962
  • Christ Is Born, Words and Music by Domenico Bartolucci and Ray Charles
  • The Little Drummer Boy, Words and Music by Henry Onerati, Katherine Davis and Harry Simeone, 1958
  • There is No Christmas Like a Home Christmas, Words and Music by Carl Sigman and Mickey J. Addy
  • O Holy Night, Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam

Side 2

  • Carol Medley, Caroling, Caroling — The First Noël — Hark! The Herald Angels Sing — Silent Night: (a) Caroling, Caroling ~ Words and Music by Wihla Hutson and Alfred Burt, (b) The First Noël ~ Traditional Christmas Music
  • (c) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ~ Music by Felix Mendelssohn and lyrics by Charles Wesley, (d) Silent Night ~ Words and Music by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber
  • Silver Bells, Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans 1951
  • Toyland, Words and Music by Victor Herbert, Arranged and Adapted by Nick Perito
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Words and Music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane , 1944
  • Ave Maria ( Schubert ), Original Music by Franz Schubert, Arranged and Adapted by Nick Perito, Produced by Andy Wiswell, Arranged and Conducted by Nick Perito with The Ray Charles Singers, Recording Engineers: Ed Begley and Ray Hall

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever, 1982 (RCA Victor). Assembled in 1982

Side One:

  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever ~ recorded for Perry Como's French-Canadian Christmas Television Special, 1981, Music by Nick Perito and lyrics by Richard B. Matheson
  • Toyland ~ from Perry's 1968 RCA Victor LP "The Perry Como Christmas Album", 
  • Words and Music by Victor Herbert, Arranged and Adapted by Nick Perito
  • Christ Is Born ~ from Perry's 1968 RCA Victor LP "The Perry Como Christmas Album", Words and Music by Domenico Bartolucci and Ray Charles
  • ( The ) Christmas Song ( Merry Christmas to You ) ~ from Perry's 1959 RCA Victor LP "Season's Greetings from Perry Como", Music by Mel Tormé and lyrics by Robert Wells, 1946
  • Ave Maria ( Schubert ) ~ from Perry's 1968 RCA Victor LP "The Perry Como Christmas Album", Original Music by Franz Schubert, Arranged and Adapted by Nick Perito

Side Two:

  • Here We Come A-Caroling — We Wish You a Merry Christmas ~ from Perry's 1959 RCA Victor LP "Season's Greetings from Perry Como", Traditional arranged by Ray Charles
  • Silver Bells ~ from Perry's 1968 RCA Victor LP "The Perry Como Christmas Album", Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans 1951
  • Christmas Dream ( with The London Boy Singers ) ~ from the original 1974 Columbia Pictures film soundtrack "The Odessa File", Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by and Tim Rice with German lyrics by André Heller
  • White Christmas ~ from Perry's 1959 RCA Victor LP "Season's Greetings from Perry Como", Words and Music by Irving Berlin, 1942
  • Bless This House ~ from Perry's 1956 RCA Victor Compilation LP "I Believe", Words and Music by Helen Taylor and May H. Morgan ( a.k.a. Brahe ), 1927

From the Reader’s Digest: Christmas With Perry Como (BMG Music also released a CD by this same title in 1997)

BMG Music / Special North American Releases

Christmas Concert in Ireland. The musical video was titled Irish Christmas Concert (CD ROM)

Greatest Christmas Songs

The contents of this album include:

  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ~ 1968

  • Christmas Bells ~ 1967 ( rare single release )

  • White Christmas ~ 1959

  • Frosty the Snowman ~ 1953MONO

  • Christ is Born ~ 1968

  • Do You Hear What I Hear? ~ 1968

  • Silver Bells ~ 1968

  • It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas ~ 1951 MONO

  • Winter Wonderland ~ 1959

  • There Is No Christmas Like A Home Christmas ~ 1968

  • ( The ) Christmas Song ( Merry Christmas To You ) ~ 1953 MONO

  • Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town ~ 1959

  • O Holy Night ~ 1968

  • ( The ) Twelve Days of Christmas ~ 1953 MONO

  • Some Children See Him ~ 1968 ( previously unreleased )

  • Love Is A Christmas Rose ~ 1967 ( rare single release )

  • ( There's No Place Like ) Home For The Holidays ~ 1954 ( original single) MONO

  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus ~ 1953 ( rare single release MONO

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ~ 1953 MONO

  • ( The ) Little Drummer Boy ~ 1968

  • Ave Maria

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Collections of Christmas Carols & Poetry
Compiled and Edited by
Douglas D. Anderson

Victorian Visions
A Christmas Poetry Collection

Divinely Inspired
A Christmas Poetry Collection

The Bridegroom Cometh
Poetry For The Advent

Other books by Doug Anderson

Once A Lovely Shining Star

A Christmas Poetry Collection

So Gracious Is The Time

A Christmas Poetry Collection

How Still The Night

The Christmas Poems of Father Andrew, S.D.C.

 Father and Daughter

Christmas Poems by Frances and William Havergal

Now, Now The Mirth Comes

Christmas Poetry by Robert Herrick

What Sudden Blaze Of Song

The Christmas Poems of Rev. John Keble

 A Holy Heavenly Chime

The Christmastide Poems of Christina Georgina Rossetti

All My Heart This Night Rejoices

The Christmas Poems of Catherine Winkworth

A Victorian Carol Book

Favorites from the 19th Century —
Still favorites today!

Other Books by Doug Anderson

A Psalter – A Book of the Psalms Arranged by Luther's Categories

Betbüchlein: A Personal Prayer Book, a recreation of Luther's 1529 prayer book

Daily Prayer

Luther's Passional

Luther's Writings on Prayer: A Selection

Devotions for the Advent – 2009
A new edition for 2010 is being prepared.

The Lenten Sermons of Martin Luther, Second Edition

Descriptions of all these volumes can be seen at
Books by Doug Anderson


Christmas is a wonderful, cheerful holiday.  Whether we spend it by a real tree or some Balsam Hill artificial Christmas trees, at the end of the day what matters is that we enjoy our time together with our loved ones. 


The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
Douglas D. Anderson

© Copyright 1996, All Rights Reserved.

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