Perry Como ~ Greatest Christmas SongsPerry Como ~ Mr. Saturday Night!

Perry Como - Greatest Christmas Songs

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas   ~ 1968
Words and Music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane , 1944
 
Christmas Bells  ~ 1967 ( rare single release )
Words and Music by Ray Stevens
Ahab Music Company Inc. ~ BMI
Arranged and Conducted by Bill McElhiney
Produced by Chet Atkins
Recorded in RCA Victor's "Nashville Sound" Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
 
White Christmas  ~ 1959
Words and Music by Irving Berlin, 1942
 
Frosty the Snowman   ~ 1953Original recording monaural only.MONO
Words and Music by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, 1950
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
 
Christ Is Born   ~ 1968
Words and Music by Domenico Bartolucci and Ray Charles
 
Do You Hear What I Hear?   ~ 1968
Words and Music by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, 1962
 
Silver Bells  ~ 1968
Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans 1951
 
It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas   ~ 1951Original recording monaural only.MONO
Words and Music by Meredith Willson, 1951
Frank-Meredith Willson Music ~ ASCAP
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra
and the Fontane Sisters
 
Winter Wonderland  ~ 1959
Words and Music by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith
 
There is No Christmas Like a Home Christmas   ~ 1968
Words and Music by Carl Sigman and Mickey J. Addy
 
( The ) Christmas Song ( Merry Christmas To You )  ~ 1953Original recording monaural only.MONO
Music by Mel Tormé and lyrics by Robert Wells, 1946
With Mitchell Ayres and His Orchestra
 
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town   ~ 1959
Words and Music by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots , 1934
 
O Holy Night  ~ 1968
Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam
 
( The ) Twelve Days of Christmas  ~ 1953Original recording monaural only.MONO
Traditional Christmas Music
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
 
Some Children See Him  ~ 1968 ( previously unreleased ) 
Music by Wihla Hutson and Lyrics by Alfred Burt
Hollis Music Inc. ~ BMI
Arranged and Conducted by Nick Perito
with The Ray Charles Singers
Produced by Andy Wiswell
 
Love Is A Christmas Rose  ~ 1967 ( rare single release ) 
Words and Music by Earl Shuman and Leon Carr
Roncom Music Co. ~ ASCAP
Arranged and Conducted by Bill McElhiney
Produced by Chet Atkins
Recorded in RCA Victor's "Nashville Sound" Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
 
( There's No Place Like ) Home For The Holidays  ~ 1954 ( original single )Original recording monaural only.MONO
Music by Robert Allen and lyrics by Al Stillman 1954
Roncom Music  ~ ASCAP
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra and The Ray Charles Singers
Arranged by Joe Reisman / Produced by Joe Carlton
 
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus  ~ 1953 ( rare single release )Original recording monaural only.MONO
Words and Music by Tommie Connor, 1952
Jewel Music Publishing Co., Inc. ~ ASCAP
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
Produced by Henri René
 
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  ~ 1953Original recording monaural only.MONO
Words and Music by Johnny Marks , 1949
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra & Chorus
 
( The ) Little Drummer Boy   ~ 1968
Words and Music by Henry Onerati, Katherine Davis and Harry Simeone, 1958
 
Ave Maria ( Schubert )  ~ 1968
Original Music by Franz Schubert
Arranged and Adapted by Nick Perito

 

Perry Como ~ Greatest Christmas Songs
 

| Large View | Liner Notes | Back Cover |

 
CD RCA 07863 67790-2
1 DISC  ~ 21 TRACKS 65:23
ALL TRACKS STEREO EXCEPT AS NOTED IN MONAURALOriginal recording monaural only.
 
JAPAN BVCM-31039 20 BIT MASTERED
1 DISC  ~ 21 TRACKS 65:23
ALL TRACKS STEREO EXCEPT AS NOTED IN MONAURALOriginal recording monaural only.
 
 JAPAN RELEASE 1999 
 
Compilation produced by
Paul Williams for House of Hits Productions, Ltd.
Audio Restoration: Bill Lacey
Digital Transfers: Mike Hartrey
Project Manager: Simeon Margolis
Design: Wayne Kruse
Cover Photography: Anders Jones / RCA Archives
Essay: Joseph F. Laredo
 
The RCA Records Label is a unit of BMG Entertainment.
Manufactured and Distributed by BMG Entertainment,
1540 Broadway, New York, New York, 10036-4098,
United States of America.
 
CD ERRATA & ADDENDA
 
"Frosty The Snowman" was originally released in 1953 and not 1958 as listed within this compilation. This song was recorded by Perry in May of 1953 along with the other monaural songs included here excepting only "It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas" which is sometimes listed as "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas". All of the May, 1953, recordings, excepting only "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", were first released within the 10"LP format under the title "Around the Christmas Tree" and this album was combined in 1956 to form the 12" format LP "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music".
 
The suggestion that Perry's original 1953 rendition of Mel Tormé's composition "The Christmas Song" has seldom been heard is erroneous. All of the songs from "Around the Christmas Tree"  were incorporated within the 1956 RCA Victor compilation and again in the 1961 RCA Camden compilation through to the compact disc compilation in 1987.  It is probably more common than Perry's stereo version recorded in 1959. The author is no doubt confusing Perry's 1954 single version of "Home For the Holidays" which has seldom been heard in it's original form. Perry's 1959 stereo version of this song, with one additional verse, " . . . has appeared in more RCA Victor compilations than any other Christmas song," and indelibly associated with Perry at Christmas. Another Christmas recording uniquely associated with Perry, not even mentioned here, is "The Story of The First Christmas" which he also recorded twice, once in the early '50s and then again in 1959, and many times enacted within his Christmas television specials.
 
Very few people are aware that Perry's 1967 Christmas song "Love Is a Christmas Rose" was in fact composed, in part, by Early Shuman who is also credited with Perry's 1962 hit "Caterina" and one of his most enchanting Italian songs "Un giorno dopo l'altro (One Day Is Like Another)" which he recorded in Italy. Both "Love Is a Christmas Rose" and "Christmas Bells" were co-produced by Chet Atkins and Andy Wiswell and it's probably that the instrumentals were recorded in Nashville with vocal tracks added later in New York. Perry recorded in Nashville in February, 1965, and again during the summer of that year, but he may not have returned to Nashville until January, 1973, for sessions relating to his "And I Love You So" album.
 
Perry recorded with "The Satisfiers"  during the mid '40s and while they may have appeared with him on radio, there's no indication that they ever made the transition to television. They did record two Christmas songs with Perry in 1946, one of which was RCA Victor's very first recording of "Winter Wonderland", often sited as a million-seller for Perry, and the other was Perry's first recording of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town".  The latter song was deleted from the "Merry Christmas Music" compilation when it was re-released on the RCA Camden label in 1961.  The Fontane Sisters joined Perry in early December, 1948, when they recorded a cappella one of Perry's most obscure novelty songs titled "N'Yot N'Yow ( The Pussycat Song)" and it was they who were very much associated with Perry's early television broadcasts and studio recordings until the formation of a separate choral group by Ray Charles during the early '50s. Perry is said to have coined the name "The Ray Charles Singers" during the early '50s when he spontaneously introduced them on one of his shows. The name stuck and "The Ray Charles Singers", along with director Charles, would remain with Perry for more than forty years. Mitchell Ayres came on board with Perry in 1949 and continued through to the spring of 1963 when Perry discontinued his weekly TV series.
 
Any reasons for RCA's Andy Wiswell  not having included "Some Children See Him" within their final release of Perry's 1968 Christmas album would simply be speculative. Apart from "White Christmas", Perry recorded very few songs firmly associated with Bing Crosby. Bing had popular renditions of  for both "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "Some Children See Him" at about the same time Perry recorded this album and it wouldn't be surprising if Perry chose not to compete with him out of respect. Again, highly speculative, but interesting nevertheless.
 
Perry's first recording of "Ave Maria" in 1949, recorded on location at the Church of Incarnation, New York City, was first released on a 12" 78 rpm recording. His second recording was done at the Manhattan Center in 1959 with the Male Voices of the Robert Shaw Chorale and recorded in full stereophonic sound. That second recording has only been released in stereo once and this compilation would have been an excellent venue for it's re-release in stereo. Perry's 1968 recording is a fine example but it's also very common.
 
For the record, Perry recorded his Christmas Concert at the Point Theater in Dublin, Ireland, in late January, 1994. The full recording of this concert is available on compact disc, CD-ROM ( excerpts ), VHS videotape and laserdisc, but not on the RCA Victor or BMG label. Had this recording been done by BMG it would have marked a full 50 years with the label which would have marked an extraordinary relationship. As it turned out, Perry's last recordings are the only ones in over fifty years not recorded with the RCA Victor Records Label!
 
Nine selections within this compilation have been re-mixed by Mike Hartry ( those marked with a red asterisk ) as opposed to a simple remastering.  Re-mixing involves a possible alteration of the recording mix from the original multi-channel sources and it would appear that he has done this with considerable care and sensitivity. In some cases, he may have used an alternate 'take' from the original release. For those familiar with the original recordings, this will require some careful listening. All other tracks appear to be off the shelf masters.
 
It's not very often that RCA Victor made the mistake of printing Perry's picture in mirror image, as the label has done with this compilation, but it has happened in the past. The most memorable was Perry's first RCA Camden release in 1958 titled "Dream Along With Me". When this was pointed out to Perry by one of his fans in New York, Perry is said to have stared at it for several minutes in puzzlement. He then waived over Mickey Glass, his long-time manager and personal assistant, and exclaimed, "Leave it to RCA!" As this fan recently pointed out, Perry became so infuriated that he forced RCA to reprint the cover. Will BMG do the same with this cover? Probably not.
 

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Monday, January 18, 2021

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