When I grew up, I believe we had exactly two Christmas singles. The Little Drummer Boy was a tune I sang at church when I was young and cute. The version by the Harry Simone Chorale actually made the pop charts between 1958 and 1962, at #13, #15, #24, #22, and #28, respectively. It also made it to #6 on the adult contemporary charts in both 1961 and 1962.
Then it had a run on the Xmas charts between 1963 and 1970. It went #2 for four weeks, #1 for three weeks thrice in a row, #2, #1, #2, #3, respectively. A new version got to #9 in 1972, ##20 in 1973, and #10 in 1983, all on the Xmas charts.
The other single is well-loved or well-hated. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) was by David Seville and the furry creatures. In 1958, it went to #1 on the POP charts for FOUR weeks, and #5 on the rhythm and blues charts to boot. Then #41, #45, #39, and #40 on the pop charts in 1959 through 1962, respectively. It went #5 Xmas in 1963, and #6 Xmas in 1964.
We did have a few Christmas albums. But it seemed that most of them were rather generic. One exception was a series of albums by some name artists, put out by the Firestone tire company. At least two of them featured Julie Andrews. And by far, my favorite song was The Bells of Christmas, this particular version.
Some other songs
Getting Ready for Christmas Day – Paul Simon. Interesting that the sermon sampled was delivered in 1941, the same year Paul was born.
Jingle Bells – The Fab 4. NOT the Beatles.
Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio. I read a bio about Vince some years back.
From that first A Very Special Christmas album, which appeared on various charts between 1987 and 2002:
The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet.
Gabriel’s Message – Sting. I had a girlfriend who HATED Sting’s voice.
Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty. From that second A Very Special Christmas album in 1992, which charted between 1992 and 1998. I still miss Petty.
Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte. My late father incorporated elements of Belafonte in his folk-singing career.
Hamildolph! – Eclipse 6