Classic Christmas: Elvis' Christmas Album

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Over the holidays, we're looking back at some classic Christmas albums taking some track by track and just digging on others.

In 1957 at the near peak of his early success, Elvis Presley did what many artists did: He made a Christmas record. The result was what would become one of the best selling Christmas albums of all time and a classic called simply Elvis' Christmas Album, of course.

It contained the now famous "Blue Christmas" as well as a number of other carols and a few gospel tunes like "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," which were recorded on the EP Peace in the Valley a few years prior. The fact that the collection includes these gospel songs makes the controversy over his version of "White Christmas" even more laughable today.

Irving Berlin who penned the song apparently considered the Elvis version to be "profane" and called every radio station in America asking them to ban it from the airwaves. Many did comply with his request. Look, this was the same guy who was only shot from the waist up on the Ed Sullivan Show because people thought his hip gyrations were obscene. It only makes sense that they would think he was desecrating a beloved Christmas song like "White Christmas."

But, it went deeper than that. Elvis' version was done in the style of the Drifters, who had recorded the song several years before. But, because it was only played on black stations and never had any substantial popularity, it was largely ignored. Elvis, on the other hand, represented a serious threat to the powers that be.

Of course, the controversy simply fueled interest in the record and propelled it to even greater success.

Whatever the controversy, it is now a classic and considered pretty damn tame by modern standards, and the record is played incessantly throughout the holidays.

Check out previous classic Christmas album recaps:

Perry Como - The Perry Como Christmas Album Bing Crosby - White Christmas Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby Johnny Mathis - Merry Christmas Andy Williams - The Andy Williams Christmas Album Phil Spector - A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas fro Frank Sinatra The Carpenters - Christmas Portrait Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas George Winston - December Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas Mel Torme - Christmas Songs

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.