Capitol Records Continues Its 75th Anniversary Celebration With New Compilation "A Capitol Christmas"

by VVN Music

Capitol Records recently announced a number of special events and releases for their 75th anniversary as a label. One of those new albums is a 24-track compilation of some of the greatest holiday songs ever recorded for the label.

A Capitol Christmas brings together such label stalwarts as Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Lou Rawls for an album of Christmas favorites.

Fittingly, the album opens with Capitol's first homegrown superstar, Nat King Cole, and his stereophonic version of The Christmas Song, arranged by Ralph Carmichael in 1961. It is bookended with a splendid rendition of Cole's ubiquitous seasonal standard featuring the 1999 virtual duet with his daughter, Natalie Cole. Cole's jazz combo the Nat King Cole Trio is also included with the novelty tune All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth).

It's impossible to overstate the importance of Frank Sinatra to Capitol Records and he is showcased on the album with the exquisite The Christmas Waltz and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, considered the definitive version of the three he recorded. Both songs were originally released on his 1957 holiday album, A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra

Fellow Rat PackerDean Martin delivers his trademark croon on evergreens Winter Wonderland and I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. Having recorded a dozen holiday themed albums, Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas. His Christmas single for Capitol, Do You Hear What I Hear, a call and response arrangement with the Ralph Carmichael Singers, became a worldwide hit.

Singer, songwriter and actress Peggy Lee spent an illustrious 30 years on Capitol and the selections of hers span her tenure at the label. The gentle A Christmas Spell, arranged by her then-husband and frequent collaborator, guitarist Dave Barbour, was originally released as a single in 1949. Like A Sleighride, Lee's jazzy adaptation of Jingle Bells, is from her sumptuous 1960 holiday album, Christmas Carousel

No holiday collection would be complete without the seductive duet, Baby, It's Cold Outside, which continues to be recorded by scores of artists year after year. The version here features Capitol Records co-founder Johnny Mercer, the world-class songwriter and recording artist, along with Margaret Whiting. Mercer's swinging Santa Claus Is Coming To Town from 1947 shows off his croon alongside the vocal stylings of the Pied Pipers. Whiting also makes another duet appearance, this time alongside singing cowboy star Jimmy Wakely on the sterling Silver Bells.

In 1967, The First Lady Of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, recorded a collection of non-secular standards for Capitol, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas, arranged and conducted by Ralph Carmichael. Her soaring versions of The First Noel and Away In A Manger are both included. 

A Capitol Christmas features many other delightful holiday tunes including Nancy Wilson's symphonic What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?, Lou Rawls' soulful Merry Christmas, Baby, Jackie Gleason's orchestral instrumentals of Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!and I'll Be Home For Christmas, and Bob Atcher's tropical-tinged Christmas Island, among several others.
The track list for the CD:
  • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole 
  • The Christmas Waltz - Frank Sinatra 
  • Winter Wonderland - Dean Martin 
  • I Like A Sleighride (Jingle Bells) - Peggy Lee 
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside - Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer
  • Christmas Island - The Dinning Sisters with Bob Atcher
  • The First Noel - Ella Fitzgerald 
  • White Christmas - Jo Stafford 
  • What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Nancy Wilson
  • Merry Christmas, Baby - Lou Rawls 
  • Silver Bells - Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely 
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Jackie Gleason 
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra 
  • I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm - Dean Martin 
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Johnny Mercer 
  • The Christmas Spell - Peggy Lee 
  • (All I Want For Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth - Nat King Cole and His Trio 
  • (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag - Kay Starr 
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas - Jackie Gleason 
  • I'd Like You For Christmas - Julie London 
  • The Merriest - June Christy 
  • Away In A Manger - Ella Fitzgerald 
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? - Bing Crosby 
  • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
The track list for the 2-vinyl LP version:
  • Side A
    • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole 
    • The Christmas Waltz - Frank Sinatra 
    • Winter Wonderland - Dean Martin 
    • I Like A Sleighride (Jingle Bells) - Peggy Lee 
    • Baby, It's Cold Outside - Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer
    • Christmas Island - The Dinning Sisters with Bob Atcher
  • Side B
    • The First Noel - Ella Fitzgerald 
    • White Christmas - Jo Stafford 
    • What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Nancy Wilson
    • Merry Christmas, Baby - Lou Rawls 
    • Silver Bells - Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely 
    • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Jackie Gleason
  • Side C
    • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra 
    • I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm - Dean Martin 
    • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Johnny Mercer 
    • The Christmas Spell - Peggy Lee 
    • (All I Want For Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth - Nat King Cole and His Trio 
    • (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag - Kay Starr 
  • Side D
    • I'll Be Home For Christmas - Jackie Gleason 
    • I'd Like You For Christmas - Julie London 
    • The Merriest - June Christy 
    • Away In A Manger - Ella Fitzgerald 
    • Do You Hear What I Hear? - Bing Crosby 
    • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole

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