ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Classic Holiday Tunes from the 1950s

Updated on November 27, 2012

The Classic Days of Hi-Fi!

With the 1950s brought high fidelity music into the home at Christmas. Long-playing record albums were still a new idea. As music enthusiasts selected tunes for their holiday homes, the following albums gained their place within the hits of the decade.

Long-playing record albums were a recent invention and made great gifts as in the 1950s because they were still considered to be luxury items. From orchestra and hymns, secular tunes and folk songs, to sing-along and rock and roll, here is a selection taken from the top 100 best-selling albums of the decade.

If you are seeking a bit of nostalgia for Granny and Gramps, consider the following nine albums which were best sellers of their time!

Christmas Album - Elvis Presley

Did you know that this album ruled supreme for the 1950s? Not only a popular Christmas album, this was the number #1 selling album of the decade!

Elvis' Christmas Album
Elvis' Christmas Album

Recorded in 1957 and with sales of 7 million Elvis' Christmas Album remains a classic. Recorded in three days at Hollywood's Radio Records it featured a mixture of hymns, gospel, and secular Christmas tunes.

When the album was released in October, 1957 certain media members, music industry folk, and church members denounced it as an attempt by the young rock n' roll rebel to profane Christianity. However, the public enjoyed the album, and Elvis took his place as folk-hero.

The 30 minute album featured 12 songs.

 

Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis

During his 50-year career as a musician Johnny Mathis recorded nine Christmas Albums, this was his first.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

When Johnny Mathis recorded this 1958 album he was 23 years old and one of the hottest "crooners" in the business.

Johnny teamed up with Percy Faith and his orchestra. sticking with the "tried and true" variety, such as O holy Night, Blue Christmas, and Sleigh Ride. Mathis did open up with what became his signature holiday song, Winter Wonderland. The album remained popular for decades, as Oprah Winfrey puts it, - If you don't have Johnny Mathis, you don't have Christmas!

 

The Star Carol - Tennessee Ernie Ford

An all-American selection of carols and hymns.

Star Carol
Star Carol

Tennessee Ernie's Ford's album Hymns had been the biggest selling album of his career when he decided to follow up with The Star Carol in 1958. At the time Ford had a hit TV show, The Ford Show. Recorded at Hollywood's Capitol Records recording studio, when The Star Carol was released it matched the popularity of Hymns with one million copies sold.

 

A Jolly Christmas - From Frank Sinatra

1950s holiday music without Frank Sinatra? Never!

A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra
A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

Through the 1950s Frank Sinatra enjoyed hit after hit with an assorted repertoire of hits. As 1957 arrived he decided it was time to record his first Christmas album. He went into the recording studio with arranger Gordon Jenkins blending religious songs and seasonal favorites. Capitol Records added two previously recorded tracks - "White Christmas" and "Christmas Waltz" - from 1954. At first the public were cool towards the album, but over time it has become a holiday favorite, selling well over one million copies.

 

Christmas Sing-Along With Mitch - Mitch Miller & The Gang

The sing-along series was the karaoke of the decade!

Merry Christmas - Bing Crosby

King of the crooners brings a White Christmas home to the family.

White Christmas
White Christmas

Bing Crosby's "Merry Christmas" collection was originally released in 1949 with ten songs on five 78-rpm disks. then re-released in 1949 as a 10-inch album - with eight of the original songs. Bing's hit single "White Christmas" was originally recorded in just 18 minutes in 1942 - the song has since sold more than thirty million copies!

When 12-inch long-playing records became possible in 1955, the music was re-released once again with a dozen songs, including one of my favorites, "Mele Kalikimaka". The Andrew Sisters joined Bing on the tracks, "Jingle Bells," and "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town".

The album first made the Billboard charts in 1957 where it reached Number #1. For the next few years it was top of the charts each Holiday Season, and in 1962, the album went gold!

 

Mantovani Christmas Carols - Mantovani

A very classical Christmas!

Christmas Carols
Christmas Carols

Mantovani was the most popular light classical conductor of the the 1950s. The Christmas Carols LP was originally released in 1953, and was a sought after Christmas gift, because during the decade long playing records were considered a luxury. The album first gained notice on the Billboard charts during 1957 when it reached Number #4. In 1958 a new stereo version was released and the album gained more ground in popularity, continuing popularity for a number of years, reaching gold in1962!

Not all of the songs were about Christmas as Mantovani managed to add a few of his signature waltzes to the mix.

 

Christmas with the Robert Shaw Chorale

The Robert Shaw Chorale Christmas album offered a more "upmarket" alternative to other Christmas albums of the 1950s.

Christmas with the Robert Shaw Chorale
Christmas with the Robert Shaw Chorale

This 1957 album is put together as eight medleys of three songs each. While songs such as "Away in a Manger," and "Joy to the World" were more mainstream hymns, listeners were in for a surprise with a selection of folk traditional folk songs from France, Britain, and Appalachia.

All of the music feature the elegant Robert Shaw arrangements and collaboration with Alice Parker. When the album was released it quickly climbed to Number #5 on the charts every year, making gold in 1967.

 

Christmas With Conniff

An upbeat selection of popular Christmas tunes of the day.

Christmas With Conniff
Christmas With Conniff

Singing along with the Ray Conniff Singers proved to be a lasting hit over time. Considered one of the more commercial Conniff LPs with secular Christmas songs like Here Comes Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. Released in 1959 the album remained on the hit charts for a decade.

 

Resources Consulted

100 Best-Selling Albums of the 50s

by Charlotte Greig

Amber Books

London, UK 2004

Guestbook Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Love the old Christmas albums!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)