An entry on the 2001 fifth release of the wildly popular A Very Special Christmas compilation album (which benefits the Special Olympics), this often-recorded Chuck Berry-popularized track is an upbeat rendition under McCartneys direction. The songs title derives from the Hawaiian phrase for Merry Christmas; this version is among the first recorded, in 1950. A rather different take on Morning Christmas is Al Jardines infectious Christmas Time Is Here Again, recorded over the backing tracks from a Beach Boys cover of Peggy Sue, with contributions by Buddy Holly, Norman Petty, Jerry Allison, and Jardine.

A fine Mike Love-sung track from those sessions, Christmas Day, is not the same as what the band recorded in 1964, while the brass-driven Go And Get That Girl alludes to Christmas, though not Christmas, per se. Because The Beach Boys were working on two albums simultaneously, there are many songs recorded with Christmas-y and non-Christmas versions. Many bonus tracks were added, including 1974 single Children of Winter, as well as some previously unreleased tracks from an aborted 1977 album, Merrie Christmas by the Beach Boys.

Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys languished in the Brother Records vaults as yet another major lost project from the Beach Boys, until 1992s release of The Ultimate Christmas, which unearthed and remixed several of its tracks. On that album, the nearly legendary Beach Boys record called Loop De Loop (Flip Flop Flyin In An Aeroplane) was released for the first time, 29 years after the songs first recording sessions took place. Somehow, amidst all this, they found the time to record The Beach Boys Christmas Album, the only holiday-themed record that the band would ever release in their time together.

Christmas 2022

They released two full-length albums, with Shut Down Volume 2 and All Summer Long. After The Beach Boys earlier attempt at an album was cancelled (the Broadway-flavored Adult Child), the band worked on the Christmas Album, which featured a mix of new and older material recorded over the course of the Seventies (1970-1977). Both new and older material recorded over the course of the Seventies (1970-1977), new material was recorded at Maharishi International University, a meditation center located in Wyoming. Unfortunately, Warners brass rejected the album, and The Beach Boys proceeded to retool a few songs with non-holiday lyrics, arranged over the same backing tracks; The Beach Boys Christmas album was M.I.U.

As a single, the song featured prominent sleighbells and glockenspiels to reinforce the holiday connection (see Single version of song, also included in this collection), but for their new Christmas album, The Beach Boys stripped away these instruments in order to fit the sounds of a new record that featured the groups vocals over instrumentation. From the day of the release of their 1964 Christmas album, fans of The Beach Boys realized that hidden beneath Denis vocals–over Auld Lang Syne–was an incredible version of the song in an a cappella.

The final track, an acapella version Auld Lang Syne is, hands down, the best track on the record. The song does a disservice to the albums attempt at gravitas, but seeing how the album fails to accomplish much else, the song is a small Christmas treat. The best known song here is also the opening track, Little St. Nick, and it is a fun listen, because it is one of the first songs that Brian Wilson wrote and it has nothing to do with the summer, beaches, girls, or cars.

While the best-known song here is not the iconic Christmas song, it is still a great one to hear nearly fifty years later, in this writers opinion. It seemed a classic when it came out, and is still the sweetest entry to the Hall of Modern Christmas Songs. The success of an immediate classic could be explained by it being recorded and released as a single the year before.

Merry Christmas did not exactly scorch the charts, but the song was a favourite for many Beach Boys fans, thanks to the galloping bass line (probably by session ace Ray Pohlman) and pounding drums (brother Dennis Wilson). The November 1964 album, The Christmas Album, was at once a cash-in and an important piece of work for the oft-maligned genre, with the Christmas Albums origins traced to December 1963, when The Beach Boys released the original version of their iconic Christmas song, “Little St. Nick,” opening The Christmas Album. Somehow, amid the barrage of recordings The Beach Boys made in the mid-60s, the group found the time to put out a full-length Christmas album, almost half of them originals written by Brian Wilson.

While the entirety of The Beach Boys official Christmas catalog is built on only one released album and another shelved one, the groups contributions to seasonal music cannot be understated. The same could be said of Ill Be Home for Christmas: Taking the song down several notches both vocally and musically, The Beach Boys were clearly going for something different, and though it did not always work out, it will always be appreciated that they tried anything that Brian Wilson could come up with. The Beach Boys could not have picked a more miserable year to make their first Holiday-themed Beach Boys hit, though, since President John F. Kennedy was killed in late November, leading to a pretty bleak Christmas season.

A seasonal medley of four Christmas classics was considered (including O Come All Ye Faithful and We Wish You a Merry Christmas), and new holiday songs were, of course, included, reflecting The Beach Boys changing styles throughout the years. Capitalizing on their 1999 hit, the quartet of Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey, and Justin Jeffree turned to heartwarming Christmas songs for their third album. The title track from the a capella groups third studio album cemented the British glam-rockers status as Christmas playlist essentials.

Because, beloved though The Beach Boys Christmas Album has become in the 54 years since its release, the album is an oddity, a mixture of embarrassingly written originals and versions of holiday standards, and on it, the groups singers sound utterly spent. The originals are surprisingly effective, considering that surf music and Christmas are not natural fits. As far as Brians other originals written, or co-written, for Christmas albums, the Brians other originals written seem utterly rubbish next to the gems that were created around them.

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