A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector

A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (originally released as A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records) is an album of Christmas songs, produced by Phil Spector, and originally released as Philles 45 in 1963. Spector treated a series of mostly secular Christmas standards to his "Wall of Sound" treatment, and the selections feature the vocal performances of Spector's regular artists during this period. The album peaked at No. 13 on Billboard magazine's special, year-end, weekly Christmas Albums sales chart in December 1963.[1]

A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records
Album A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records cover.jpg
Compilation album by
various artists
ReleasedNovember 22, 1963
RecordedSeptember–October 1963
StudioGold Star Studios, Hollywood
GenreChristmas, Pop, R&B
ProducerPhil Spector
Phil Spector production chronology
Philles Records Presents Today's Hits
A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records
Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica

The album 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.[1] 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),[2] eventually peaking at No. 12 three weeks later (on the week ending January 5, 2019).[3]

In 2003, the album was voted No. 142 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[4] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[5] In 2017, it was ranked the 130th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.[6] In 2019, it was ranked the greatest Christmas album of all time by Rolling Stone.[4] Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has cited this album as his favorite of all time.[7] The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[8]

Recording and productionEdit

The album was recorded between throughout September and October 1963.[citation needed] Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys attempted to contribute his piano playing to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", but was rejected because of his low performing ability.[9]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [11]

The album, released in the United States on November 22, 1963—the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated—was a relative failure at the time.[12] Original pressings are scarce and collectable, now selling for $400–$500 in excellent condition.[13]

In subsequent years, especially after its reissue on Apple, the album grew in popularity and is considered now to be a holiday classic. Several of its tracks became iconic Christmas songs for generations, such as the original (and flop) single "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," and the well-known "Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding" background vocals in the Ronettes' "Sleigh Ride". The arrangement of Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" is based in part on the Crystals' version of the song, and U2's late-1980s remake of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" that appeared on the first A Very Special Christmas album is patterned after the Darlene Love original that appeared on the Spector LP. The Ronettes' versions of "Frosty The Snowman" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" also usually get some radio airplay during the holiday season.

Release historyEdit

The album has been released several times on different labels: the original release on Philles and the 1972 reissue on Apple were followed by additional reissues on Warner-Spector (1974; this was the first release to feature a stereo mix of the songs, although it ironically used the "Back to Mono" Apple cover), Pavilion (1981, also in stereo, using the Apple artwork, but with the "Back to Mono" button airbrushed out), Impression (1983), Passport (1984), and Rhino (1987).

The first CD issue was also on Rhino in 1987, co-credited to Phil Spector International RNCD 70235 and restoring the album's original mono mix. The second CD issue was in 1987 as well, on Chrysalis (CCD 1625) in monophonic for the UK market. This one is co-credited "Spector Records International" and features the slightly different international artwork. The more common third CD issue came in 1989, a remastered release on ABKCO which restored the original title, artwork, and mono mix. The album also appeared as the fourth disc of ABKCO's 1991 Spector box set, Back to Mono, and as the second disc of the 2006 UK-only ABKCO compilation The Phil Spector Collection.

Sony Music took over distribution rights to the Philles Records catalog in 2009 and re-released the mono album, remastered by Bob Ludwig, on its Legacy Recordings imprint on October 27 of that year.[14] (The Sundazed label also reissued the album on vinyl in 2009.) In 2012, Legacy Recordings released a two-disc set in the UK only, containing a new remastering of the mono album by Vic Anesini on the first disc and a selection of non-Christmas Spector hits and rarities on the second disc.

Track listingEdit

Recorded at Gold Star recording studio

1."White Christmas"Irving BerlinDarlene Love2:52
2."Frosty the Snowman"Steve Nelson, Walter RollinsThe Ronettes2:16
3."The Bells of St. Mary's"A. Emmett Adams, Douglas FurberBob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans2:54
4."Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"J. Fred Coots, Haven GillespieThe Crystals3:24
5."Sleigh Ride"Leroy Anderson, Mitchell ParishThe Ronettes3:00
6."Marshmallow World"Carl Sigman, Peter DeRoseDarlene Love2:23
7."I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"Tommie ConnorThe Ronettes2:37
8."Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"Johnny MarksThe Crystals2:30
9."Winter Wonderland"Felix Bernard, Dick SmithDarlene Love2:25
10."Parade of the Wooden Soldiers"Leon JesselThe Crystals2:55
11."Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil SpectorDarlene Love2:45
12."Here Comes Santa Claus"Gene Autry, Oakley HaldemanBob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans2:03
13."Silent Night"Josef Mohr, Franz X. GruberPhil Spector and Artists2:08


Session musicians


  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 229. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
  2. ^ "Billboard 200 - Week of December 15, 2018". Prometheus Global Media, LLC.
  3. ^ "Various Artists Chart History - A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector". Prometheus Global Media, LLC.
  4. ^ a b "The 25 Greatest Christmas Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. December 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  6. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s". Pitchfork. August 22, 2017.
  7. ^ deMartin, Michael (July 12, 2006). "A Day At The Beach (Boy's House)". Pet Blog: Pet Sounds at 40: An Appreciation.
  8. ^ ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (March 23, 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  9. ^ Sharp, Ken (January 2006). "Christmas with Brian Wilson". Record Collector. United Kingdom. pp. 72–76.
  10. ^ Allmusic review
  11. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  12. ^ Jack Hamilton, "Did JFK's Death Make Beatlemania Possible? The Questionable Connections Between Camelot's Demise and Liverpool's Ascent." Slate, November 18, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "PHIL SPECTOR~CHRISTMAS ALBUM~MINT ORIG'63 LP~BLUE LABEL - auction details". popsike.com. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  14. ^ "Phil Spector Phillies Catalog Finds New Home". Billboard.com. September 14, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2012.