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Phil Spector Christmas Gift for You Album Cover

It’s finally safe to break out the Christmas music, but there will be no Darkness at Christmas and barely any Bublé.

But how about a Christmas Gift from the legendary Phil Spector? This musical gem, recorded during a scorching Los Angeles summer in 1963, was unwrapped for the world just in time for Christmas, precisely on November 22nd of that year.

Now, this date, unfortunately, is remembered more for the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It cast a shadow over the holiday season, causing Spector’s album to go somewhat unnoticed initially.

However, this is one story that illustrates the resilience of great music. Spector, a producer with an extraordinary vision, gathered a constellation of stars for this masterpiece. The album featured iconic girl groups like The Ronettes, Darlene Love, and The Crystals. What they delivered were new interpretations of beloved Christmas classics, all reworked into Spector’s signature “Wall of Sound” style. You’ll know songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Winter Wonderland.”

While it didn’t immediately soar to the top of the charts, this album has aged like fine wine, cherished and played year after year. Some of the performances, such as the heartwarming “Christmas Baby Please Come Home,” have become cherished staples of the holiday season.

Now, while the spotlight shone brightly on the vocal stars, it’s worth noting that behind the scenes, it was the little-known but immensely talented session musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew” who provided the instrumental magic. These unsung heroes have since become legendary for their contributions to numerous iconic albums. Musicians including Leon Russell and Hal Blaine contributed to this classic Christmas Album.

As a historical tidbit, let’s not forget that during that December of 1963, while the nation was trying to heal from the tragic loss of JFK, the top-selling album in the United States was none other than “The Singing Nun” (Soeur Sourire)! It’s fascinating how music, in all its diversity, can offer solace and a respite during times of grief and uncertainty.

The album has aged better than the reputation of the legendary Phil Spector. One of the many crazy/genius artists out there, Phil was a little too crazy/out there. With a history of associations for assault and threatening behaviour, he was convicted of murder for fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. He died in prison on January 16, 2021, at the age of 81, leaving a troubled legacy of great music.

Jay

I am Jay, the founder of Wine, Travel and Song. UK based, I set this blog up in 2016 to share my passion for food & drink, travel and music - Wine, Travel & Song. In these posts I share some of my passions in the hope that it may inspire you to go there, eat that or listen to this. In return I hope you will comment and share recommendations of where to go, what to eat and what to listen to!