As every Christmas season approaches, I uncover it entertaining come look earlier on how Elvis’s an initial Christmas album to be received when it very first appeared in 1957. Elvis fans, of course, adopted “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” together they go every document he released in those days. However, to those adults who were currently convinced that Elvis threatened the morals that the nation’s youth, one album that Christmas song from that was specifically troublesome. Because that Elvis to song rock ’n’ roll was negative enough, however for him to step exterior that category and also into the traditional, spiritual field the Christmas music was frightening to many.
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Before looking at how doubters reacted come “Elvis’ Christmas Album” in 1957, let’s take a quick look at the LP’s content. Four of the album’s 12 cut were recycled recordings the non-Christmas spiritual hymns the Elvis had actually recorded in January 1957 and released on an extended play album in April of that year. They to be “Peace in the Valley,” “I Believe,” “Take my Hand, priceless Lord,” and “It Is No mystery (What God deserve to Do).” Elvis used timeless arrangements top top all 4 songs, and also so, past the quality of his voice, movie critics found tiny to disparage in those recordings when they were had in Presley’s vacation album.
What incensed critics was Elvis’s therapy of the eight Christmas song he recorded in Hollywood indigenous September 5-7, 1957. (By the way, it was at the end of that session the Scotty Moore and also Bill Black, angered that they to be not allowed to document their own critical album, stop Elvis’s band.)
• Xmas recordings ranged from timeless to sexy, absent ’n’ roll
What arised were eight differed recordings. It’s complicated to understand just how anyone can have gotten upset over Elvis’s versions of the carols “Silent Night” and also “O little Town of Bethlehem.” the sang both in classic style, yet his temerity in even recording lock at every angered his critics. Two other recordings, “I’ll Be house for Christmas” and also “Here comes Santa Claus,” had actually a little bit of a rhythm and also blues edge, yet not much. The other 4 tunes received Elvis’s “sexy, rock-it-up approach,” in the native of Elvis chronicler Ernst Jorgensen. They were “Blue Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is ago in Town,” “Santa lug My Baby earlier (To Me),” and also “White Christmas.”
Elvis first spoke publicly that his Christmas album during a press conference in san Francisco on October 26, 1957. In what a san Francisco Chronicle reporter called “chilling” news, Elvis announced his Christmas album would be released soon. “It’ll be a absent ’n’ role Christmas,” he told the assembled press, including that “Silent Night” was the just song the hadn’t “monkeyed” with.
The "chilling" spread conveniently through the entertain media, with even Time newspaper commenting on the in November.
"Elvis has prepared a surprise package because that the nation that is likely to it is in the most serious menace come Christmas because "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Victor is plan to relax an album of Yule song by Presley, accompanied through guitar and also organ, the selections consisting of "Silent Night" and also "Santa, carry My Baby back to Me.""
A couple of examples will suffice to demonstrate how this news was received within the music industry. Time reported that bandleader Sammy Kaye stated Elvis’s album “borders top top the sacrilegious. Presley has gone too much this time.” Then, the Ohio Penitentiary News, representing a captive radio audience, condemned Elvis’s therapy of “White Christmas,” which the document called “a tune beloved till this creature tape-recorded his barnyard version of it.”
• Elvis’s treatment of “White Christmas” attracted the many criticism
Elvis’s variation of “White Christmas” very closely followed an previously recording the the track by The Drifters. Irving Berlin was stated to have been so upset by this plan of his track that he tried to have actually it banned from gift played on radio stations.
Some train station went together with his request. One was KEX in Portland, Oregon. On December 10, 1957, the station’s all-night disk jockey, Al Priddy, was fired for purposely playing Elvis’s record of “White Christmas” ~ above the waiting in violation of station policy. Range reported the station regimen manager Mel Bailey “had forbidden all KEX jockeys to play the RCA Victor platter because he felt that this treatment of the tune is in ‘extremely negative taste.’”
It was from radio stations phibìc of the border, however, that “Elvis’ Christmas Album” got the most criticism and banishment native the airwaves. This was in spite of Presley having played to substantial crowds earlier in the year throughout concerts in Toronto, Ottawa, and also Vancouver. In the latter city, all six of the town’s radio stations agreed come a proposed ban on Elvis’s holiday recordings.
Radio terminal CKXL in Calgary additionally banned Elvis’s album. “Presley’s recent release has, we feel, no ar on our station,” stated a CKXL spokesman. “We have actually the album because that audition—it speaks for itself. Presley sings the Christmas songs exactly as we expected he would. It is among the many degrading things we have heard in part time.” He explained Presley as “panting” v the hymns “Silent Night” and also “O little Town of Bethlehem.” an additional Calgary station, CFCN, refuse an official ban, however stated Elvis’s album “would not be played because it happens to it is in in lousy taste.”
In Toronto, terminal CFRB banned the album, declaring, “there are far better interpretations that Xmas hymns.” Gordon Sinclair, columnist for the Toronto Star, condemned Presley’s absent ’n’ roll treatment of Christmas carols. “Only Mahalia Jackson might jazz the hymns,” he said. Sinclair added that he disliked censorship, yet found Elvis’s therapy of Christmas song to be “wildly inappropriate.”
• part Canadian stations play Elvis’s Christmas songs
The Canadian Press, a newsgathering organization, surveyed disk jockeys across Canada and found, while many refused come spin any cut top top Elvis’s album, other stations planned to play the non-religious songs, like “Santa lug My Baby ago to Me,” if shying far from the Christmas standards like “Silent Night.” various other stations stated they were wait for their listeners" views before making a decision on even if it is or no to beat the album.
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The nationwide Canadian broadcast Corporation, however, take it a progressive stand ~ above “Elvis’ Christmas Album.” A spokesman stated, “We have actually no objection if listeners want to hear the Presley albums and CBC disc jockeys want to beat the numbers.”
Of course, ago in the U.S. “Elvis’ Christmas Album” racked up large sales. Top top October 7, Billboard report that advance orders because that the LP much exceeded RCA’s planned production of 200,000 copies. An RCA exec referred to as it, “the greatest advancement album order in the background of the company.”
• “Elvis’ Christmas Album” ultimately reached gold document status
“Elvis’ Christmas Album” reached #1 on Billboard’s album chart during the 1957 holiday season. Elvis’s version of “Blue Christmas,” now considered a rock ’n’ roll holiday classic, is play on radio stations throughout the nation every December.