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Elvis SongPedia: Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

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Basic Stats

(Just the facts, ma'am!)

Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay Johnson

Recorded: September 5, 1957, Radio Recorders, Hollywood
Released master is take 3

Single: w/ "Wooden Heart", 447-0720, Gold Standard Series original release, November 3, 1964
w/ "Santa Claus Is Back In Town", 447-0647, Gold Standard Series original release, October 26, 1965. This single has been re-released numerous times afterwards for the holidays through the years.

RIAA Certified: Platinum (as of 07/15/1999)

Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
#1 on Billboard's special Christmas Singles chart

1st LP release: Elvis Christmas Album - November 1957
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"Blue Christmas"
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For other versions, see
Lyrics and Downloads section below.

My Spin

(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)
Easily the most popular of Elvis' Christmas recordings, "Blue Christmas" seems to be all over the radio stations every December. When Elvis recorded it in September 1957, the song was already a familiar tune. In 1949 there had been three big hits with the song, by Russ Morgan, Hugo Winterhalter and Ernest Tubb. The next year, Billy Eckstine released a popular version.

Elvis recorded it for his 1957 Christmas album, and although the song was a favorite with fans, there was no release as a single at the time, although it appeared on a 45rpm EP that year, Elvis Sings Christmas Songs.

It would be seven years later, in December 1964, before it was released on a 45rpm single coupled with "Wooden Heart", which reached the top of Billboard's special Christmas Singles chart. The following year it was released again, this time paired with another Christmas favorite from the album, "Santa Claus Is Back In Town". This would be the single that would be re-released every December throughout the remainder of Elvis' career.

The song begins with just Elvis and a faint piano, Elvis famously dragging out the first word "I'll" into three syllables, with drums and guitar joining in on "have", an upward vocal swoop on the word "a", and by the word "blue" the whole song is up to speed with Millie Kirkham's high voice in the background adding that unmistakable "oo-oo-oo-oo-oooo", which punctuates Elvis' lead vocals throughout the rest of the song, and amuses the rest of us every Christmas! The lyrics are simple enough: the Christmas may be white, but without his woman, he's gonna be blue.

I'll have a blue Christmas without you
I'll be so blue just thinking about you...
...You'll be doing alright
With your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas

The Jordanaires take over with oohs and ahhs during the middle break, which isn't quite as unnecessary as it is on "Hound Dog", or "Ain't That Loving You Baby", but still sounds kind of funny. This is 1957, though, so you gotta expect that sort of thing. :> Elvis' performance is classic, though, and will live on as one of those rare songs that appeals to even the non-Elvis-fans every year during the holidays.

Elvis also performed this song for his 1968 Comeback Special, saying "Being the time of year it is, and all, I'd like to do one of my favorite Christmas songs of the ones I've recorded". Of course, he was taping this special in June, but hey, the audience played along. Although this little spoken intro actually led into the song "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" during the taping, it was cut so that it led into "Blue Christmas" for the final version that aired in December 1968. When the special was rerun the following summer, "Blue Christmas" was cut out completely and replaced with "Tiger Man", another classic.

Now that many radio stations are switching to an all-Christmas-music format from Thanksgiving through the New Year, you're bound to hear "Blue Christmas" at least once a year, if not more. If you find that you're singing along with Millie's oo-oo-oo-oo-oooo in the background... forgive yourself, these things happen.

Elvis and Martina McBride Sing "Blue Christmas"

Martina McBride joins Elvis in "Blue Christmas", kicking off this collection of 9 Elvis duets with female artists, and 3 bonus songs of just Elvis.

Click on the cover to download or buy your copy!

Nice video too!

Other Spins

(What did the critics and fans say?)

'Blue Christmas' is a slow ballad, the Jordanaires chromatic chord slides give the song a strange feel, but Presley is here at his best although absent from the middle eight, when the song sags.

Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music, 1979

Check out other Elvis fans' opinions on the Elvis News page for Blue Christmas

Check out other opinions at Rate Your Music, and here, too.

"Blue Christmas" Links

"Blue Christmas" Lyrics

I'll have a blue christmas without you
I'll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green christmas tree
Wont be the same dear
If you're not here with me

And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That's when those blue memories start calling
Youll be doin' all right
With your christmas of white
But I'll have a blue
Blue blue blue christmas

Youll be doin' all right
With your christmas of white
But I'll have a blue
Blue blue blue christmas
Download the Karaoke Version!

Blue Christmas karaoke - Elvis PresleyBlue Christmas
Elvis Presley

Download or just listen to different versions by Elvis from Amazon!

... or different versions by other artists!

What's Your Spin?!
Is "Blue Christmas" a holiday classic or what?
Yea or Nay?

Yea! A perfect gift!

Nay! I wanted a bicycle instead!

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Study Up Some More!

Elvis song reference books on Amazon!

Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)