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  1. #1

    Part K - Phil Spector - "56th Anniversary Of Philles Christmas LP"!!!

    HAPPY 56th ANNIVERSARY - A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU FROM PHILLES RECORDS!

    Friday, November 22, 2019, marks the 56th Anniversary of the iconic "A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records" LP! Produced by legendary "Wall Of Sound' music genius Phil Spector, "A Christmas Gift For You" is considered by many to be the best Rock 'N' Roll Christmas album ever recorded. Not only that, "A Christmas Gift For You" was commercially released on FRIDAY, November 22, 1963. This year, 2019, November 22 is also on a FRIDAY. How often does THAT happen!!!

    [NOTE: The following is from Wiki.]

    "A Christmas Gift For You" was reissued by Apple Records in 1972 with different cover art — a photograph of Spector dressed as a heavily-bearded Santa Claus, wearing a "Back to Mono" button — and retitled "Phil Spector's Christmas Album". This version of the album went to No. 6 on Billboard's special Christmas Albums sales chart in December of that year, which was its highest chart ranking. It was also in 1972 that the album made its debut on the UK Albums Chart; it would re-chart in 1983, peaking at No. 19. On the week ending December 15, 2018, "A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector" entered the main Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time (at position No. 48), eventually peaking at No. 12 three weeks later (on the week ending January 5, 2019).

    In 2003, the album was voted No. 142 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time", maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. In 2017, it was ranked the 130th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has cited this album as his favorite of all time. The album was included in Robert Dimery's "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".


    [NOTE: The following intro is from John J. Fitzpatrick's & James E. Fogerty's "Collecting Phil Spector".]

    "During an Autumn 1963 appearance on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand", Estelle Bennett revealed that The Ronettes had just finished a month-long session of Christmas recordings. Musicians and others participating in those productions unanimously reported the experience as the most grueling of their professional lives. Many said they wanted never again to deal with Phil Spector's demanding perfectionism, though they mentioned as well the magic of the tracks falling into place for the holiday extravaganza.

    The album resulting was the culmination of the Wall Of Sound to that date. The project, as conceived by Spector, was to wed the magic of Christmas music with the energy of his contemporary production style. The entire Philles roster of artists would adapt 12 holiday standards plus a Greenwich-Barry-Spector original, without concession to traditional interpretation. The recording of each track would receive the care and attention usually reserved for hit singles, something he had not done on previous albums.

    In retrospect, the project can be viewed as the first Rock 'N' Roll concept album. The tracks are bound together not only by theme but also by intention of production style -- each track emanating from the one before it in a castanet-driven wall of crashing percussion, jangling sleighbells, and perfectly-inserted sound effects. The vocalists, to the first-time listener at least, sound as one voice, adding to the uniformity of the sound.

    Choosing a best track from "A Christmas Gift For You" is difficult, as each track merits the honor as it plays! Some highlights include "White Christmas", a classic usually associated with Bing Crosby, soulfully interpreted by Darlene Love as a personal opening statement. Her version sports most of the original lyric missing from the Crosby version.

    Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans' "The Bells Of St. Mary" surpassed earlier versions by Crosby, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters, and Spector's own with Kel Osborne, and its immense production retains the inherent dignity of the song. While showcasing Bobby Sheen's heartfelt vocals, it highlights Spector's amazing use of authentic gospel surges, rumbling bass guitar and castanets backbone, and a bell-punctuated string line.

    Sound effects like the clatter of horse hooves and the whinny on "Sleigh Ride", and the closing door and kiss on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" add to the realism and intimacy of the work. Several worthwhile horn passages include the Herb Alpert-like trumpet passage on "Here Comes Santa Claus" and the chugging mid-section saxophone break on "Marshmallow World", borrowed by Sonny Bono for the 1967 Sonny & Cher hit, "It's The Little Things".

    A couple tracks on the album took dead aim at recreating the atmosphere of specific Spector hits. "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" is like a grounded "Then He Kissed Me" with a less sonic but nevertheless full-bodied layer of castanets like that later evident in "Little Boy". "Frosty The Snowman" is reminiscent of "Be My Baby", while "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" previews the rhumba-with-castanet combination Spector pursued later on The Ronettes' version of "I Wonder".

    Perhaps the most beloved and successful production of the album is the sole original, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". Its simple piano-and-sleighbell intro gives way to a stuttering horn punctuation and chimes on Spector's most ambitious Wall Of Sound yet. Darlene Love and a background chorus (including Cher's husky voice) embark on a call-and-response climax that is pure gospel. The music escalates until the entire track reaches a climax perhaps unequaled in Spector's catalog.

    For all its innovation in symphonic rock production, the album went largely unnoticed by the American public upon its release in 1963. As the drama of the John F. Kennedy assassination unfolded, the album was released to a nation in no mood to celebrate. But it became a perennial favorite in holiday seasons following.

    Various critics have proclaimed Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds", The Beatles' "Rubber Soul", or "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" as the first Rock 'N' Roll concept albums. But Spector's "A Christmas Gift For You" predated them. The songs have returned to the airwaves every holiday season, and the album has been reissued more than a dozen times.* Its influences can easily be heard on Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" (right down to Clarence Clemmons' sax break) and on U2's tribute to "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". Perhaps the most durable of all rock albums, it remains a testament to Spector's artistry."

    [NOTE: *A perennial favorite, it's true that the album has been reissued more than a dozen times as of the publishing of "Collecting Phil Spector" in 1991. Since then, there have been countless more reissues -- many of which we'll be covering here.]
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-23-2019 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2
    DARLENE LOVE - Philles 119 (1963)

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  3. #3
    DARLENE LOVE - Philles X-125 (1964 Reissue w/Rare B-Side)

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  4. #4
    DARLENE LOVE - Philles X-125 (1964 Reissue, Promo Copy w/Alternate B-Side)

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  5. #5
    1963 Philles Promo EP (# X-EP) w/Rare Picture Sleeve

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  6. #6
    Rare Picture Sleeve For Philles Promo Christmas EP

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  7. #7
    Philles PHLP-4005:

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 11:25 PM.

  8. #8
    1963 Philles Blue/Black PR Label:

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-23-2019 at 03:39 AM.

  9. #9
    1964 Philles Reissue - Yellow/Red PR Label:

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  10. #10
    Philles Extremely Rare Promo Copy - White/Black PR Label:

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 05:41 PM.

  11. #11
    Philles Christmas LP Tracklist

    PHILLES PHLP-4005 (Commercial Copies)
    (Released: Friday, November 22, 1963)

    VARIOUS ARTISTS - "A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records"

    Producer: Phil Spector Arranger: Jack "Specs" Nitzsche
    Side A:

    DARLENE LOVE:
    1) "White Christmas"
    (Irving Berlin)
    https://youtu.be/gY1MAsk-eAA

    THE RONETTES:
    2) "Frosty The Snowman"
    (S. Nelson - J. Rollins)
    https://youtu.be/zl_kJwz0yx4

    BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS:
    3) "The Bells Of St. Mary's"
    (D. Furber - A. E. Adams)
    Lead Vocal: Bobby Sheen
    https://youtu.be/pLOC-YWmRWY

    THE CRYSTALS:
    4) "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
    (H. Gillespie - J. F. Coots)
    Lead Vocal: LaLa Brooks
    https://youtu.be/B3zudVvBEB4

    THE RONETTES:
    5) "Sleigh Ride"
    (Leroy Anderson)
    https://youtu.be/YgJtnEEJf8I

    DARLENE LOVE:
    6) "Marshmallow World"
    (M. Parish - L. Anderson)
    https://youtu.be/OROUPOzb-r0


    Side B:

    THE RONETTES:
    1) "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
    (Tommie Connor)
    https://youtu.be/UGQUuyrVBoA

    THE CRYSTALS:
    2) "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"
    (Johnny Marks)
    Lead Vocal: LaLa Brooks
    https://youtu.be/CpBsqmhTTtk

    DARLENE LOVE:
    3) "Winter Wonderland"
    (D. Smith - F. Bernard)
    https://youtu.be/cxdwyvb6w18

    THE CRYSTALS:
    4) "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers"
    (Edward B. Marks)
    Lead Vocal: LaLa Brooks
    https://youtu.be/b6GrnIA8Sr0

    DARLENE LOVE:
    5) " Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
    (Spector - Greenwich - Barry)
    https://youtu.be/tNPpBMTeHUI

    BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS:
    6) "Here Comes Santa Claus"
    (G. Autry)
    Lead Vocal: Bobby Sheen
    https://youtu.be/sZqxQYgTpFw

    PHIL SPECTOR & ARTISTS:
    7) "Silent Night"
    (Franz Gruber)
    Narrator: Phil Spector
    Back-Up Vocals: Philles Artists
    https://youtu.be/5y3cbyxN7Do
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 11:29 PM.

  12. #12
    1972 APPLE Reissue

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-22-2019 at 09:28 PM.

  13. #13
    1974 U.S. WARNER SPECTOR (Black Vinyl)

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 06:45 PM.

  14. #14
    1974 U.K. WARNER-SPECTOR (Blue)

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 11:31 PM.

  15. #15
    U.K. Warner-Spector Huge Poster

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    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 08:10 PM.

  16. #16
    1975 Phil Spector International

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  17. #17
    My CD version of the album was part of the Phil Spector Back To Mono box set. Play it every year!

  18. #18
    Thanks again P/MG for all the info you've provided us about the Phil Spector Christmas Album. One question I have is about the flip-side of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Winter Blues". Is it another instrumental track (typical of the type Spector placed on the B-sides of most of the singles he produced)?

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Thanks again P/MG for all the info you've provided us about the Phil Spector Christmas Album. One question I have is about the flip-side of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Winter Blues". Is it another instrumental track (typical of the type Spector placed on the B-sides of most of the singles he produced)?
    Hi Eddie! Thanks, but the Philles Christmas LP Anniversary thread isn't finished yet. Kenny was in the middle of uploading all of my reissue photos when he received a message stating that a daily posting limit had been met and couldn't be exceeded. Then we discovered that we inadvertently posted it in the Motown Forum by mistake instead of the Soulful Detroit site. It's momentarily a mess. Ralph has been contacted and we're waiting to hear back from him.

    In the meantime, yes, the B-side of Darlene Love's 1964 reissue of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home" -- "Winter Blues" -- is an instrumental -- mostly amounting to a long Hal Blaine drum solo. Here it is again, repeated from Part A - Phil Spector - "Complete Philles 45s".

    https://youtu.be/-A4VJhIKF78

  20. #20
    Mea culpa, Gar!

    Hey Gary, I just linked to the YT for "Winter Blues." Is that your own YouTube posting, and your RCA super cool record player? (You simply can't call a nice piece like that a "turntable"!)
    Last edited by kenneth; 11-21-2019 at 07:22 PM.

  21. #21
    1981 Pavillion (Stereo)

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  22. #22
    1983 Impression

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    Last edited by kenneth; 11-22-2019 at 07:53 PM.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Mea culpa, Gar!

    Hey Gary, I just linked to the YT for "Winter Blues." Is that your own YouTube posting, and your RCA super cool record player? (You simply can't call a nice piece like that a "turntable"!)
    Yeah, Kenny, it's my fully-restored early-'50s RCA 45-EY-2 record changer. It's cool, isn't it! I thought I had shown you that 2 years ago when I first got it. If you like that, you would also love my fully-restored 1953 RCA 6-EY2 45 record changer. It's just like the EY-2 except the Bakelite case fully encloses the record changer with a hinged cover and a metal thingy that holds the top cover open. And inside it's mounted on gray metal with a light-gray tonearm, a black platter and a light gray 45 spindle-cap. It's really beautiful. I wish I knew how to upload a photo here.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 11-21-2019 at 07:56 PM.

  24. #24
    Good to read.

    It's Friday the 22nd downunder, so I can say 'happy anniversary'. And 'Merry Christmas' to the Philles-lovers.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    Good to read.

    It's Friday the 22nd downunder, so I can say 'happy anniversary'. And 'Merry Christmas' to the Philles-lovers.
    Thanks, Levi Stubbs Tears! And an early Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    Hi Eddie! Thanks, but the Philles Christmas LP Anniversary thread isn't finished yet. Kenny was in the middle of uploading all of my reissue photos when he received a message stating that a daily posting limit had been met and couldn't be exceeded. Then we discovered that we inadvertently posted it in the Motown Forum by mistake instead of the Soulful Detroit site. It's momentarily a mess. Ralph has been contacted and we're waiting to hear back from him.

    In the meantime, yes, the B-side of Darlene Love's 1964 reissue of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home" -- "Winter Blues" -- is an instrumental -- mostly amounting to a long Hal Blaine drum solo. Here it is again, repeated from Part A - Phil Spector - "Complete Philles 45s".

    https://youtu.be/-A4VJhIKF78
    Thanks for the link P/MG. And yes, "Winter Blues" does amount to a long Hal Blaine drum solo. No wonder it's never been reissued (at least to my knowledge).

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Thanks for the link P/MG. And yes, "Winter Blues" does amount to a long Hal Blaine drum solo. No wonder it's never been reissued (at least to my knowledge).
    No, Eddie, it hasn't been reissued.

  28. #28
    NOTE: There are still 8 more reissues of "A Chistmas Gift For You From Philles Records" (aka "The Phil Spector Christmas Album") to be posted -- some in gorgeous colored vinyl. At the moment, however, there is still a problem with the SDF software. It's not allowing Kenny to post the remaining photos. We're still waiting to hear from Ralph. Until then, sit tight -- we'll post the rest ASAP. Thanks for your patience and understanding. - Gary

  29. #29
    The GREATEST Christmas LP of all time!November 16th, 1963, I was 12 & my brothers 9th b'day on Nov. 16th....went into Richards Dept. Store at163rd St. Shopping Center in N. Miami & saw the Christmas LP & my brother told my Mom thats what he wanted for his birthday & got it.The label was the new Philles label, RED & YELLOW, like our original 45's of "Then He Kissed Me" & "Be My Baby" were. Miami was a big record "breaking" city because of Tone Distributors(Henry Stone) who promoted Motown & Philles so maybe thats why we got it early. We got it Nov. 16th, 1963 & the Kennedy killing was the following 11/22/63 and that is why there was no hoopla for the LP because the "pop Stations in Miami went to all sad dreary music for several days & had planned to feature the LP as a Special on the weekend (11/23).

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    The GREATEST Christmas LP of all time!November 16th, 1963, I was 12 & my brothers 9th b'day on Nov. 16th....went into Richards Dept. Store at163rd St. Shopping Center in N. Miami & saw the Christmas LP & my brother told my Mom thats what he wanted for his birthday & got it.The label was the new Philles label, RED & YELLOW, like our original 45's of "Then He Kissed Me" & "Be My Baby" were. Miami was a big record "breaking" city because of Tone Distributors(Henry Stone) who promoted Motown & Philles so maybe thats why we got it early. We got it Nov. 16th, 1963 & the Kennedy killing was the following 11/22/63 and that is why there was no hoopla for the LP because the "pop Stations in Miami went to all sad dreary music for several days & had planned to feature the LP as a Special on the weekend (11/23).
    Hi Motony. You hit that nail right on the head!
    Phil Spector's "A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records" is considered by many of us to be the BEST rock 'n' roll Christmas album EVER! Like Motown, Philles' music arrangements and productions were way ahead of it's time. It's timeless and just never ages. If anything, it sounds better with each passing year!

    I remember you saying that your Miami area was used as a testing ground for new releases, and that you got your copies of the Philles Christmas album in advance. I believe you. Other than additional testing areas who may have gotten their copies early as well, the rest of the U.S. got our commercial copies on Friday, November 1963, the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. And you're right about Phil withdrawing copies of the original blue/black issue of the album. Phil felt a great love and respect for President Kennedy. Because of that, as well as the fact that he knew that a grieving America would be too sad to want to hear a new R&R Christmas album, he withdrew it. What still baffles me is that your advance copy was yellow/red. I have a rare copy of the original 1963 blue/black release. Philles supposedly didn't change the Christmas album label color until Phil reissued it in 1964, and yet your original 1963 copy is yellow/red. It boggles the mind!

    BTW, the very first run of The Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" were blue/black (the original pale-blue/black -- NOT the bright blue nor gawdy greenish-blue which was used many years later for some Philles reissues). Once "Then He Kissed Me" started moving up the charts, that's when Phil changed Philles 45s to yellow/red including all subsequent pressings of "Then He Kissed Me". (I wish I could show you a copy of my original blue/black "Then He Kissed Me", but, until I learn how to post photos myself, I'll no longer be submitting them.)

  31. #31
    wow, because I never saw "Then He Kissed Me" on the blue/black label and I KNOW I got it as soon as it was released....never saw the Christmas LP on the blue/black LIVE, LOL.

  32. #32
    NOTE: See Part K - "Happy 56th Anniversary Of The Philles Christmas LP - Part 2)

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