By Alan L. Chrisman
(First of a series of short blogs about holiday pop-music classics)
The Beach Boys Christmas Album is still a yuletide favorite. It combined The Beach Boys’ harmonies with traditional holiday standards, but Brian Wilson also wrote or co-wrote with Mike Love, five original songs about Christmas. The album was released in Nov. 1964.
Their first original Xmas song, included on it, “Little Saint Nick”, had been recorded during their All Summer Long album sessions the previous summer. Reacting to The Beatles’ Invasion, Wilson was trying to expand his song writing and subjects past the just California beach boy culture. Something he would follow through with his landmark Pet Sounds album a couple years later 1966.
“Little Saint Nick” had been a Christmas hit the year before, so Wilson decided to record a whole album of Christmas songs for the next holiday season . The song, has also too, especially, become a Xmas-rock classic and is similar in structure to their earlier released tune, “Little Deuce Coup”. For this album, he and Mike Love wrote four more originals for the first side: “The Man With All The Toys”, “Santa’s Beard”, “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Christmas Day”, as well as including, “Little Saint Nick”.
The five standards on the second side are done Beach-Boy style. Wilson even sings solo on Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and Al Jardine, for the first time, sings solo on the Wilson original, “Christmas Day”. They are also accompanied by a 40 piece orchestra, so it’s a winning combination of The Beach Boys’ sound and the traditional, which, as I say, has become a holiday pop classic.
Hear Beach Boys do their Xmas classic,” Little Saint Nick”: