Title: Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
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Christmas Music Guru
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Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
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(Date Posted:09/27/2010 00:00)




 


Chubby, bubbly and jolly was that great Dixieland Jazz trumpeter Al Hirt -- who, by the way, with white whiskers and the red suit would have made a very convincing Santa!

 

His contribution to the Christmas music genre was a big one: his 1965 RCA Records LP, The Sound Of Christmas. This album is pure dynamite: it was well produced, well arranged, and needless to say, very well performed. On this album Mr. Hirt, whose nickname was ‘The Mound of Sound,’ also had great background singers and musicians accompanying him as well, making for a well-rounded and well-balanced Christmas music experience.

 

RCA finally released this classic LP on CD in 1992, but sadly, it was only in print for a short period of time. A second reissue CD was released by Delta Records in 2000 called Have A Merry Little Christmas, but it was an abridged version that only included 9 of the original 14 selections. What’s more, 4 of the 5 omitted selections were multi-song medleys -- with one of those medleys being the one that was used on the Yule Log soundtrack. So, naturally, I don’t recommend you waste your money on the Delta reissue CD; but rather suggest you spend a few dollars more and try to find the original RCA reissue.  Believe me, it will be well worth it!

 

So get ready to batten down the hatches, because here now from this classic LP is Mr. Hirt’s outstanding rollicking rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town:




 

And an absolute must to be included here in this In The Spotlight tribute is the song that this gifted man is most famous for:  his Grammy Award winning Top 10 smash hit, Java. This great song was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks, peaking at an impressive #4 on January 25, 1964. If you’ve never heard it before, then you’re in for a real treat:










*[Edit of 11/15/10: Updated YouTube hyperlink for Java]
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Motown Mike
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/27/2010 09:55)

This is, indeed, a great album...although, as with Chet Atkins, there's a part of me that kind of wishes Al had eschewed the chorus and cut this as a purely instrumental affair.



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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/27/2010 20:52)


There are times when background singers can indeed get in the way of an instrumental performance; but in this particular case they were quite subtle and complimented the album just beautifully. But whatever your preference, one thing we can all agree on is how magnificent this album is.


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hollynivy
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/27/2010 21:21)

OMYL!!!

(Oh My Yule Log)

Chip! This is such a blast from the past. When I listened to "Java" the good memories came flying back to me. My mom, and hip brother played that song over and over! 

You know, the more you reveal music-ology to the Log Blog, the more I realize how these artists influenced my chorus groups, and house music growing up. 

Thanks for smile today Chip.

I must roll some pennies and pick up a cd with the track. It will simply drive my neighbors nuts, and keep me in smiles.

Yours In Yule Log
Diane



09-27-10 @ 23:32 PM
Follow-up to above message:

Just one more thing about Al Hirt.

He recorded/composed the original 1960's Batman TV Series Theme.  The show with Adam West.

...now I remember why Al Hirt was on rotation in my house...my older brother loved the original Batman. We would watch it together.

We watched Batman thanks to the NYC stations beamed into our corner of Northeastern PA, which is how we were able to view The Yule Log.

Yours In Yule Log,
Diane



 *Message edited by the Yule Log.com Message Board Administrator on 09/27/10 to combine two consecutive reply posts by the same member. Also, double-post was deleted.

**Click here to review my post regarding same-day double-posting.



(Message edited by Christmas Music Guru On 09/28/2010 00:48)
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Motown Mike
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/28/2010 01:13)

As a youngster in Detroit in the late '70s, I used to tune in to one of the Canadian stations across the river for a great children's program called "Vision On". They used "Java" as their closing theme music.

Flash-forward about 20 years.  I'm starting to take an interest in older music, and listening to an AM adult standards station. Lo and behold, here comes "Java", and I'm instantly transported to my five-year-old self watching "Vision On".  A great moment in my musical education. :-D


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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/28/2010 02:03)


Glad you enjoyed hearing Java again, Diane and Mike.

By the way, Diane; while it's true that Al Hirt did indeed record the theme to Batman, it was actually Neal Hefti who did the original. Hefti was also the composer of the song as well.



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Strider77
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/17/2013 00:23)

For anyone who might be interested, it looks like Relayer Records • Friday Music is doing a Deluxe Anniversary CD reissue of Sound of Christmas by Al Hirt slated for release on October 15th this year.  It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon here and cdUniverse here.

I am pretty sure that this is the same company that did the Christmas CD reissues of Ferrante & Teicher - We Wish You a Merry Christmas • Snowbound and Jackie Gleason - 'Tis the Season • Merry Christmas last year, though I don't know who has done the remastering on this release.

The original RCA CD release can still be found on Amazon's Marketplace here.

You should read (or re-read) this thread to get Chip's take on this absolutely wonderful Christmas album.

-=Perry
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:09/17/2013 02:32)


Yes Perry; Friday Music and Relayer Records are indeed the same company.

By the way, I was recently asked on the message board about what my plans would be if I was to ever add a 5th hour to the Yule Log telecast. In that thread (
click here) I revealed a few details of what my plans would be if it ever came to fruition. And another detail, that I will revel here for the first time, is that the lead-off song I have chosen for that potential 5th hour will be Big Al's Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.


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Ex-member
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RE:Al Hirt: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Date Posted:12/03/2013 21:55)

Wonderful stuff. Takes me back to the Severinsen era of THE TONIGHT SHOW.
(And of course, one of Big Al's big hits was not with the Bat, but the Hornet - the GREEN Hornet Theme!)

Merriest,
-Craig
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