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Robert Fontenot, Oldies Music Guide at http://oldies.about.com, does a great job of keeping up with oldies history, news, and information. Here's his excellent summary of the song:

“Blue Christmas," Elvis Presley
RCA 447-0720 b/w "Wooden Heart"
Highest chart position: #1 US (1964)
Recorded September 5, 1957 Hollywood, CA

Although many assume it was written for Elvis, like most of his hits were, "Blue Christmas" actually dates all the way back to 1949, when Russ Morgan, Hugo Winterhalter, and Ernest Tubb all had hits with it. (The next year, Billy Eckstein scored with it as well.)

And while it was included as a track on 1957's Elvis Christmas Album, it inexplicably never saw the light of day as a single until seven years later -- promo copies were issued only to DJs in '57, and only as a way to promote the entire album.

Nevertheless, it rocketed straight to Number One at a time when the British Invasion, changing tastes, and lackluster performances were starting to make the King persona non grata in the Top Ten.

His bluesy rendition -- a great way to pun on the title, really -- is still considered the standard, backed as it is by the Jordanaires, singer Millie Kirkham (the female voice you hear on the track), and the classic RCA backup band of Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana.

Nailed in three takes, even!
Copyright 2008 about.com
     

 

 
     
     


Where It All Began...

I worked as morning man at WOW-AM in Omaha, NE from 1983-1990, when Great Empire Broadcasting owned the station and featured a country music format.

Each year, a couple of weeks before Christmas, we would start adding in a Christmas song here and there, gradually increasing the amount of seasonal songs in the rotation until a few days before Christmas, when we'd be playing 100% country Christmas music.

It was a Saturday morning a few days before Christmas and the station was in 100% Christmas music mode. I was on the air and somewhat burned out on playing those songs, over, and over, and over. Looking through the singles and albums in the studio (hey, punk, this was before the Internet and mp3's, O.K.?), I came across an album titled Blue Christmas.

It was a promotional album that contained thirty different versions of the song "Blue Christmas" by various country artists. I decided to use ONLY that album as the source of music for an hour, beginning after the next hourly newscast. It was a normal hour--weather, commercials, live promos, everything as usual, except that each song was one of the versions of "Blue Christmas." I acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary and I was playing a variety of songs.

The listeners "got" it and went along with it. Their phone calls confirmed that they thought it was a real hoot. However, my planned hour-long venture into holiday insanity was cut short at about :45 past the hour with a call from the program director, who started the call by asking "What the HELL are you doing???"

The joke ended then and there and no damage was done to the station, the listeners, and, thankfully, to my career. I've never forgotten it. As I started my planning to add a new Smooth Jazz Christmas channel to Radio George in 2008, the search for selections generated a lot of "Blue Christmas" returns. I remembered that Saturday morning at WOW and knew that this was my opportunity to finally finish that hour and get my Revenge of the Blue Christmas.

Hope you enjoy it!

George Woods

Dec 2009: The Saga Continues...

...in an unexpected way, with "the rest of the story" that truly finishes the tale! After you've listened to Revenge of the Blue Christmas on this page or just want to find out what happened after it was launched, Click Here for the details and to experience SON of Revenge of the Blue Christmas!

Performers
 

 Aaron Tippin Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson Anne Murray
 Billy Eckstine Booker T & The MGs Boxcar Willie
 Brenda Lee Brooks & Dunn Byron Lee And The Dragonaires
 Celine Dion Chad Brock Chet Atkins
 Christmas Karaoke Players Clay Walker Cristy Lane
 David Frizzell Dean Martin Die Guitarreros
 Elvis Presley Ernest Tubb Fats Domino
 Frankie Avalon Glen Campbell Grover Washington, Jr.
 Hank Thompson Harry Connick, Jr. Jerry Vale
 Jimmy Dean Jo-El Sonnier John Anderson
 Johnny Cash Johnny Mathis Jon Bon Jovi
 Laima Lawrence Welk Orchestra & Chorus Lola And The Red Hots
 Loretta Lynn Meditation Singers Melissa Etheridge
 Merle Haggard Nashville Session Singers New Black Eagle Jazz Band
 Ringo Starr Sheryl Crow State Of The Heart
 The Beach Boys The Blue Hawaiians The Chris McDonald Orchestra
 The Oak Ridge Boys The Partridge Family The Platters
 The Raleigh Ringers The Ventures Tom Keifer
 Vince Gill VSOS (Vienna Swing Orchestra System) Willie Nelson

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A Christmas...Treat?

Porky Pig sings
Blue Christmas

No, not really.

It's Seymore Swine and the Squealers, who were better known as John-Boy and Billy, morning show hosts at WRFX-FM in Charlotte, NC, when they recorded the song in 1985.

While not what anyone would call a cult hit, the song is amazing in that you'd swear that the voice is really that of Mel Blanc, the Warner Brothers cartoon superstar, who was the voice of Porky, Bugs Bunny, and many others.

For a special...treat, I guess...just hit the pause button on the player on this page, then click here to experience it on the Radio George Video Jukebox.

Or visit the Radio George Jukebox page directly, using this link and then return at your leisure to Revenge of the Blue Christmas.