We all know the image: A smiling Bing Crosby, wearing a Santa hat and a bow tie of holly leaves, looking out at us from a snow-white background.
It’s the cover image from “Merry Christmas,” the 1955 re-release of an earlier Crosby compilation. The title was changed again, in 1986, to “White Christmas,” in honor of the record’s most famous song.
Bing and Christmas go hand in hand; as Richard Corliss pointed out in a 2014 article in Time, “Bing pretty much invented the Christmas music industry. He’d been hosting Christmas specials on radio since 1936.”
(It was, in fact, on one of his radio broadcasts, Christmas Day in 1941, that Crosby would first perform the song that would come to define him.)
While “Merry Christmas”/“White Christmas,” is not just Bing Crosby’s best-known album, it’s also one of the iconic holiday albums of all times, right up there with Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song,” the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” or Elvis Presley’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album.”
So sure, you could make a playlist that includes just the songs from the Spokane-raiseed singer’s classic LP. But during his lifetime, Crosby recorded at least seven Christmas albums and appeared on several Christmas-themed compilations, so there’s a lot more Christmas music to choose from. Below are my Top 10. You’ll find them assembled in a public playlist on my Spotify page for easy listening.
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