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The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (1964)

Ah December, what better time to chronicle something festive? The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album is hardly a classic, but there are only so many good rock albums about Christmas. Colin already did the best rock and roll Christmas album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, but I still think a lot can be said about this release. For one, this album actually features a handful of original compositions, including the hit single “Little Saint Nick”. So not only did The Beach Boys have a hit Christmas song, but one they wrote themselves. Another item of note is that this album was recorded while the band was still popular and not in their dwindling twilight. How many times have you seen a once notable artist release an album of Christmas themed covers? Probably more than a few, so it’s nice to listen to a group take a stab at it in their prime. I’m not denying that this album was most likely a quick cash-in concocted by the group’s record company but at least it’s a sincere effort.

A lot of artists can record Christmas songs and give us little that we haven’t already heard, but The Beach Boys have always had a very distinct style. The group’s complex vocal arrangements put a unique spin on such classics as “White Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. Additionally, Brian Wilson’s beautiful multilayered production provides excellent backing. Sure it’s a delightful holiday treat to hear everyone’s favorite surf-rock group sing the classics, but I think it’s the group’s original ]compositions that make this album worth stuffing in your stocking. “Little Saint Nick” is undeniably catchy as is my favorite “Santa’s Beard”. These certainly don’t sound like songs that have bee hashed out for a quick buck. I only wish there were more original compositions. The lack of songs is probably the reason this album is only a disappointing 27 minutes.

So if you need some nice holiday themed backing to your Christmas party this is one I’d highly recommend. Which reminds me, you’re probably going to be seeing me post a great deal about The Beach Boys in the following year now that the surviving members have recently reunited to tour and record a new album, how’s that for a surprise holiday gift?

Favorite Tracks: “Little Saint Nick”, “The Man with All the Toys”, “Santa’s Beard”