As a result of the many requests I have received over the years, I am posting my entire Top Play of the 500 greatest Christmas albums in my entire collection.
My Top Play of 500 albums is divided into four separate entities: the 1st Tier, 2nd Tier, 3rd Tier and 'Bubbling Under' section.
Some notes about the Top 500:
Since I have a very eclectic taste in music, my Christmas album collection covers practically all musical genres: Easy Listening, Rock, Country, Jazz, Folk, R&B, Hawaiian, Gospel, Soul, and more. Consequently, in this Top 500, you will also find a very eclectic mix as well.
With only one exception, the great collector’s series compilation albums (Goodyear, Grants, etc.) are not as a general rule included in my Top 500, as it would have been unfair to deny a space in my Top 500 to an artist’s album of original material for a compilation. That one aforementioned exception is the great 1966 RCA album, Music To Trim Your Tree By (album #51). This phenomenal album is the only compilation of previously released material that was awarded the distinction and honor of not only being included in my Top 500, but the 1st Tier. There are four other compilation albums in my Top 500; however, they were all compiled of original material. These albums include A Christmas Gift For You (album #121) by various Philles Records recording artists; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (album #242) by various Reprise Records recording artists; Christmas With Arthur Godfrey (album #266) by various Columbia Records recording artists; and Merry Christmas To You (album #275) by various Capitol Records recording artists.
Also, in the Top 500-2nd Tier there are several reissue LPs that contain some newly recorded material, and for that reason they were awarded a spot in the Top 500, but as 2nd Tier status, as their original release predecessors already hold a spot in the 1st Tier. These albums include Perry Como’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever (album #132); Jo Stafford’s Happy Holidays (album #139); Peggy Lee’s Happy Holiday (album #150); and finally, The Living Strings/Voices’ The Most Beautiful Sounds of Christmas (album #160).
Then, too, because of their greatness, there two albums that are represented twice -- both in their original mono form and in their later re-recorded stereo form (the stereo version in the 1st Tier, and the mono version in the 2nd Tier). The first of these is the greatest of them all: Percy Faith’s Music of Christmas (album #1 for the 1958 stereo recording, and album #153 for the original 1954 mono recording). The second is Robert Shaw’s Christmas Hymns And Carols, Volume 1 (album #26 for the 1957 stereo recording, and album #135 for the original 1954 mono recording). The reason why Mantovani’s original 1953 mono recording of Christmas Carols was not included in the 2nd Tier is because it did not have different album cover artwork from the later 1958 stereo recording, as was the case with Percy Faith and Robert Shaw. So this was really just a way to honor and recognize the Faith and Shaw albums for their original packaging -- especially the Percy Faith album, for not only being the greatest of them all, but for that great artwork that the original 1954 album sported.
By the way, all of the albums that did not make my Top 500 (1st, 2nd, 3rd Tier, or 'Bubbling Under' section) reside in my archives -- and that number, I might add, far exceeds the 500 albums in my Top Play.
Here now is how my Top 500 is comprised:
*The 1st Tier is for albums 1-125; any album in this elite group will have a minimum rating of 8, but the vast majority are rated at 9 or 10.
*The 2nd Tier is for albums 126-250; any album in this group will have a minimum rating of 7, but most are rated at 8 or 9.
*The 3rd Tier is for albums 251-300; albums in this group have ratings of 6 or 7.
*The 'Bubbling Under' section is for albums 301-500; these are the 200 albums that b~u~b~b~l~e under my Top 300.
So now, after laying the background for you, here posted for the first time in its entirety is my Top 500; 1st Tier in Red, 2nd Tier in Green, 3rd Tier in Orange and 'Bubbling Under' in Gray: