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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Phil Spector Christmas Album: 50th Anniversary

Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You Christmas album was released on November 22, 1963, the same day as the assassination of JFK. Although now considered a holiday classic, it was a relative disappointment at the time as it peaked on Billboard at #13. (Ooo! That unlucky number.) Perhaps the national mood had something to do with it. (Another famous Jackie, Ms Susann, was upset that the President's death would affect sales of her first book, Every Night, Josephine by stealing the media spotlight at the time!)

The album was re-released on Apple Records in 1972 ~ with a picture of Spector dressed as Santa, wearing a "Back to Mono" button. It was retitled Phil Spector's Christmas Album. This version went to No. 6 on Billboard's Christmas Albums chart in December of that year.

The album features the major artists from Spector's Philles label including The Ronettes, Darlene Love, Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans, and The Crystals. Ms. Love and Ronnie Spector have become so associated with the holidays because of this quintessential pop Christmas album, they tour every holiday season with a special Christmas show. (Both are returning in December to B.B. King's in NYC; I'll be reviewing both shows.)

Darlene Love's "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" became a smash hit as a result of her annual appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. As Dave says, "It isn't Christmas until Darlene Love sings Christmas, Baby Please Come Home."

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