Collecting Firestone Christmas Albums
Firestone Christmas Albums - They Don't Make Them Like They Used To
Anyone who grew up during the 1960s and 1970s remembers the Firestone Christmas albums, and collecting Firestone Christmas albums is a great way to enjoy both traditional Christmas music and a bit of nostalgia. The Firestone Tire Company has always linked its products to music and broadcasting, sponsoring radio programs in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1960s, Firestone produced seven Christmas albums that became holiday favorites for families everywhere.
About the Firestone Christmas Records
The seven Firestone Christmas records are easy to identify when you see them. Each album cover featured a cleverly designed Christmas-present look, as if the record album is wrapped in holiday paper and tied with a velvet bow. Inside, the record albums sported red and green labels and a mixture of choirs and soloists.
Each of the seven albums also featured the Firestone Orchestra and chorus. Gene Forrell, an award-winning composer and conductor, conducted most of the music on all seven albums.
The albums featured popular artists, choirs and Broadway stars, including:
- Julie Andrews - nothing says Christmas like Julie Andrews singing "Away in a Manger" and the "Bells of Christmas," among other favorites
- Leontyne Price - opera great Leonytne Price sang "O Holy Night" on Volume 7 as well as many other selections. Her beautiful voice soars on "O Holy Night", making Volume 7 a very popular one in the series.
- Rise Stevens - another famous opera singer recorded Christmas music in the Firestone series, adding her famous voice to "What Child Is This" on Volume 1.
Guest conductors in the series included Andre Previn, best known as a jazz pianist but an excellent conductor and composer too. The Columbus Boys Choir and other choirs also contributed to the series.
Seven albums total were produced in the series. After the seven Firestone Christmas Albums, Firestone again produced some Christmas albums in the 1970s, featuring popular stars of the day. They were not branded with the Firestone logo except for a small sticker on the outer shrink wrap.
Why Collect Firestone Christmas Albums?
Why collect old record albums like the Firestone Christmas records? For some of us, Christmas isn't Christmas without listening to at least one of these record albums. Many people in the Baby Boomer and later generations had the Firestone record albums as their soundtrack playing while they opened their Christmas presents. Others simply long for Traditional Christmas music. Tired of weird renditions of old favorites, they turn to the Firestone Christmas albums for the good old-fashioned choir, soloist and orchestra they remember.
Where to Find and Buy Firestone Christmas Albums and Firestone Mp3 Downloads
While the albums have long since been discontinued, the good news is that the old 33 rpm records are easy to find at thrift stores, flea markets, antique malls, eBay and other auction sites. They are also inexpensive, and you can usually pick them up for under $10 each.
One enterprising fellow has since recorded the albums onto CDs and sells them through his website, Firestone Christmas Albums. He explains the legality of what he is doing on the site (I wondered about that, too.)
So as you're addressing your Christmas cards, wrapping presents, or baking cookies, be sure to find your old Firestone Christmas albums or pick up a few to enjoy. The sounds of Christmas will fill your home, making you nostalgic for simpler times.
© 2011 Jeanne Grunert
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