Nat “King” Cole
The great crooner Nat “King” Cole was a gifted singer and musician popular from the 1940s until his death in 1965. His 1961 version of The Christmas Song is one of the most performed pieces of Christmas music of all time. Interestingly, Cole recorded the song three separate times at various points in his career before finally recording the version that is so well-known today.
Bing Crosby was one of the most popular recording artists and actors of his time, and his music lives on to this day. He is known for performing the classic White Christmas, which was featured in the movie Holiday Inn. Later in life, he had a hit duet with David Bowie performing The Little Drummer Boy.
The King of Rock and Roll was a fan of Christmas music, and his recordings of songs like Blue Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and more are staples of every holiday season. Presley loved switching gears to record this type of music. Unlike his rock and roll repertoire, his catalog of recorded Christmas music is mostly reverent, solemn and powerful in its own way.
Andy Williams has been called Mr. Christmas, and the nickname is quite apt. Williams has recorded a total of eight Christmas albums over the course of his legendary career. Among his best-known holiday hits are songs like It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and Happy Holiday.
The so-called Little Miss Dynamite has had a number of hit songs, but few of them have been as notable as 1958′s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. This song was one of the first Christmas songs to be performed in the rock and roll style. Lee also recorded more traditional Christmas songs like Silver Bells and Let it Snow.
This fictional group, which is actually the brainchild of studio engineer Ross Bagdasarian, got its start with the popular The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late). The trio’s high-pitched voices caught the attention of music fans quite quickly, leading to massive success. The Chipmunks also released their versions of Christmas classics like Deck the Halls and Silent Night.
As another famous American crooner of the 20th century, Dean Martin’s career included a number of popular Christmas recordings. The singer’s breezy, confident style can be heard on tracks like Silent Night and I’ll be home for Christmas. Martin also had a hit single in 1953 with The Christmas Blues.
Mannheim Steamroller is a best-known for its modern, synthesizer-infused take on Christmas music. The group recorded a number of albums through the 1970s and 1980s before releasing its first Christmas album to great success in 1984. Mannheim Steamroller transforms songs like We Three Kings and Coventry Carol into modern masterpieces for a new age.
This supergroup was first founded in 1984 to record the song Do They Know It’s Christmas? for charity. The original incarnation of the group featured some of the day’s biggest musical stars, and subsequent Band Aid projects have been updated to include the most popular modern singers. Band Aid is responsible for just one song, but Do They Know It’s Christmas? is a powerful piece of music.
This blind, Puerto Rican singer and guitarist has one of the world’s most distinctive voices, and it can be heard most prominently on his hit 1970 song Feliz Navidad. The song helped catapult Feliciano to tremendous levels of success, and it can still be heard to this day during the holiday season. Feliciano also recorded popular versions of The Christmas Song and The Cherry Tree Carol.
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