John Herbert “Jackie” Gleason (February 26, 1916 – June 24, 1987) was an American comedian, actor, and musician who developed a style and characters in his career from growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
In 1956, Gleason released his first Christmas record. Capitol Records describes Gleason’s “Merry Christmas” as “a rich, rewarding album in the gentlest spirit of the season for all who treasure the memories and the sentiments and the romance of Christmas time.” Capitol goes on to say:
“The arrangements in this album are unique ones, for Jackie Gleason has augmented his large orchestra with an electric celeste, whose fragile sound adds a new dimension to songs well-loved. Playing it is Hercules, an outstanding master of the instrument. Complementing these orchestral arrangements are the Keith Textor Singers, with vocalise performances that indeed express the mood of a merry, merry, Christmas.”
In 1967 he released his second christmas album ” ‘Tis the Season” ;
Capitol Records describes ” ‘Tis the Season” as “music for the Christmas quiet hours with the celebrated touch of Gleason.” They go on to say:
“Among the many delights of Christmas, one of the most satisfying moments of all comes when, shopping done, the last guest waved goodbye, you relax in front of a glowing fire, a glass of something warming in your hand, a favorite record revolving on the turntable, somebody special held close, and wait for old Santa to appear in some appropriate manifestation.
For that kind of moment, Jackie Gleason provides some of the most melodic of the popular Christmas songs, in his most familiar mood: twin string orchestras, sparked here with the gently intriguing accents of oboe, accordion, English horn, French horn, and bells. Each of the songs, even the usually upbeat “Let It Snow” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” are perfromed by Jackie at a dreamily reflective tempo conducive to Yuletide reverie.
And, of course, there’s that magical extra Gleason touch, typical for Jackie. Each holiday song features the sparkling solo contribution of one of these star instrumentalists: Charlie Ventura on tenor sax, Buddy Morrow on trombone, or Pee Wee Erwin on trumpet.
With that kind of inducement, better have an extra hassock on hand. Old Santa’s apt to settle down and listen a while.”
The two-record set, “All I Want for Christmas,” is an abridged version of Jackie Gleason’s first two Christmas releases. (“Merry Christmas” and “Tis The Season”) For this reissue, Capitol Records deleted four of the original fourteen songs from “Merry Christmas” and one of the ten songs from ” “Tis The Season.”
Jackie Gleason on trumpet
Jackie Gleason Orchestra
01. Christmas Moon (Roberts/Katz) 3.18
02. Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!, Let It Snow! (Styne/Cahn) 3.16
03. Blue Christmas (Hayes/Johnson) 4.04
04. Snowbound For Christmas (Chorney/H.Shrager/S.Shrager) 3.19
05. It’s Christmas Time All Over The World (Martin) 3.46
06. That’s What I Want For Christmas (Lawrence) 3.11
07. December (Rinker/Huddleston) 3.22
08. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 3.06
09. Christmas Island (Moraine) 3.24
10. You’re All I Want For Christmas (Moore/Ellis) 3.06
11. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams) (Ram/Gannon/Kent) 2.24
12. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3.43
14. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.30
15. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Gillespie/Coots) 2.31
16. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 2.43
17. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) (Tormé/Wells) 3.05
18. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Berlin) 3.25
19. Happy Holiday (Berlin) 2.31
20. Winter Wonderland (Smith/Bernard) 2.49
21. The Story Of A Starry Night (Hoffman/Livingston/Curtis) 2.58