Classic Rock Christmas Albums

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In part one of our 2023 holiday gift guide, we look at the best of the boxed sets, reissues and historical collections aimed at classic rock fans. For the second part, we focus on the best music books by or about classic rock acts. And in part four, coming soon, we’ll examine the best new albums of the year.

Many classic rock acts have released or reissued Christmas albums this year. For part three, we’ve assembled some choice picks and older holiday favorites. The releases are arranged alphabetically; no rankings here because they’re all worthy. Happy shopping!

Herb AlpertThe Christmas Wish (Herb Alpert Presents)
The musician’s 2017 holiday album—and first in almost 50 years—features a 10-piece rhythm section and 45-piece orchestra on “Santa Baby” and “Merry Christmas, Darling.”

Jimmy BuffettChristmas Island (MCA/UMe)
His holiday favorites makes its vinyl debut in 2023 with such seasonal classics as “Up on the House Top” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” as well as two Buffett originals.

Cheap TrickChristmas Christmas (Big Machine)
Includes three CT recordings plus classics from the Kinks (“Father Christmas”), Harry Nilsson (“Remember Christmas”) and Chuck Berry (“Run Rudolph Run”), and more.

CherChristmas (Warner)
Her first-ever Christmas album includes performances with Stevie Wonder, Darlene Love and Cyndi Lauper.

Eric ClaptonHappy Xmas (Bushbranch/Surfdog)
The collection of 14 songs includes covers of many holiday standards including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

The CowsillsA Christmas Offering From the Cowsills
The digital-only release can be ordered here.

John Denver & The MuppetsA Christmas Together (Windstar)
The 1979 pairing features such standards as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Little Saint Nick” and the lead track, “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Vince Guaraldi TrioA Charlie Brown Christmas (Craft)
Audiophile vinyl reissue of the holiday classic with tracks like the instantly recognizable “Linus and Lucy,” and yuletide favorite “Christmas Time Is Here.”

Michael McDonaldSeason of Peace: The Christmas Collection (BMG)
The album compiles McDonald’s favorite Christmas recordings, including “White Christmas/Winter Wonderland” (feat. Jonny Lang) and “Oh Holy Night.”

The MonkeesChristmas Party (Rhino)
Their first holiday album, featuring vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, also includes the late Davy Jones’ voice, taken from vintage recordings, on two songs.

Elvis PresleyChristmas With Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RCA/Legacy Recordings)
This 2017 collaboration includes such Presley holiday favorites as “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me).”

Linda RonstadtA Merry Little Christmas (Iconic Artists)
The 2000 album makes its vinyl debut in 2023.

Diana RossWonderful Christmas Time (Ross Records/UMe)
The 20-track collection of many standards includes five where she’s accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mitch RyderChristmas (Take a Ride (Cleopatra)
The Motor City rocker released his first holiday album in 2018 with fresh takes on such classics as “Blue Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Brian Setzer OrchestraChristmas Rocks! Live (Surfdog)
A concert film on Blu-ray from the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif., features the star’s arrangements of such holiday classics as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” as well as Stray Cats favorites “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town.”

William ShatnerShatner Claus (Cleopatra)
The actor assembled a great cast of classic rock stars including Todd Rundgren, Ian Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Billy Gibbons and more on what’s sure to become a camp classic.

Frank SinatraUltimate Christmas (Capitol)
20 classics (“White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”) span 1954 to 1991, with arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Don Costa and Gordon Jenkins, among others.

Various ArtistsA Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (Philles)
The holiday favorite features the producer’s “Wall of Sound” treatment on performances by Darlene Love, the Ronettes, the Crystals and more.

Best Classic Bands Staff

1 Comment so far

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  1. Jolly Roger
    #1 Jolly Roger 14 December, 2023, 14:55

    What about the Moody Blues album “December”? I’s a great album with some very good songs on it!

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