The art of making a hit has always been an incredible phenomenon. Now there are entire industry giants dedicated to constantly churning out chart smashing successes. The crowning jewel of pop consumerism however, Christmas albums.
Wether you love jazz, rock, or new-wave for Christmas these 10 albums are the favourites in the eyes of the world. Revel at the magnificent, if somewhat beguiling, popularity of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time.
From Elvis to Dion there have been some massively popular Christmas albums over the years, perfect for getting you in the Christmas cheer.
10. Johnny Mathis – Merry Christmas
Sold: 5.2 million
There is smooth and then there is Johnny Mathis. In the ’50s and ’60s Mathis was the clean cut alternative to rock n’ roll. Turning in buttery tunes with his tenor warble, Mathis had all the ladies swooning.
The native Texan is now best known for his Holiday music, and has produced five Christmas albums in his time with the cream of the crop being Merry Christmas.
9. Barbra Streisand – A Christmas Album
Sold: 5.3 million
Released in 1967, Barbra Streisand’s 5x Platinum A Christmas Album is the biggest selling holiday album of all time, likely due it’s creative title. Kicking off with Jingle Bells at a break neck pace, Ella Fitzgerald style, injecting a bit of her trademark humour into proceedings.
Marty Paich arranged and conducted the secular songs like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and White Christmas, whereas Ray Ellis composes the religious numbers that fill out the later half of the record. A traditional chart success, Streisand was a master of giving her voice just enough personality without getting in the way of the classics.
8. Celine Dion – These Are Special Times
Sales: 5.4 million
In the wake of her mega success with Titanic, Celine Dion created two albums for the festive season of 1998. One was a French record, the other was her first Christmas album, These Are Special Times.
Like all good Chrissy albums it’s a fine balance of classics, new songs, and hymns. The highlight however is Andrea Bocelli duet The Prayer. Any fan of Celine Dion will love this album. It’s no secret, the woman has some pipes.
7. Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas
Sales: 5.5 million
Perhaps the only modern tune to become a Christmas standard, Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, is a miracle. It’s one of the catchiest tunes ever conceived and despite Mariah’s unnecessary and sometimes over the top sexualisation, it’s one of those classics we love to hate.
The 1994 hit album sold five and a half million, while All I Want For Christmas Is You went 6x certified Platinum in Australia and the US. The only thing that could perhaps top it is her 2011 rendition with Justin Bieber. Nothing will make you cringe harder, guaranteed.
6. Josh Groban – Noel
Sold: 5.9 million
The handsome young American with the voice of an angel, Josh Groban did what every middle-of-the-road, white crooner has to do at least three times in their career. Christmas album, baby.
The golden vocal chords of Josh Groban are admittedly outstanding however. Produced by longtime collaborator, David Foster, Groban here tackles all the usual suspects with aplomb and just the right amount of reverence.
5. Mannheim Steamroller – A Fresh Aire Christmas
Sold: 6 million
Definitely the most rogue album on the charts, Mannheim Steamroller are an anomaly. The neo-classical new-wave outfit, headed by Chip Davis are actually named after an 18th-century German musical technique, Mannheim roller.
Nonetheless if you’re sick and tired of the same old Christmas music then A Fresh Aire Christmas will definitely spice things up for you. The carols are unusual and the synth often reach the epic proportions of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Not your average Christmas album.
4. Mannheim Steamroller – Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Sold: 6 million
The only artist to produce two of the best selling Christmas albums, Mannheim Steamroller have done it again. I honestly have no no idea who buys these albums, but clearly people do and they must love them.
Again with more modern re-imaginings of the Yuletide classics, I’ve got to give it to them they have certainly done something inventive as hell and for that, I take off my Christmas hat to them.
3. Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song
Sold: 6 million
Nat King Cole is a wonder. Aside from consistently being one of the suavest jazz cats who ever lived he also issued an absolutely smashing Christmas album in the early ’60s.
Jam packed with the swooning sentimental favourites, Nat King Cole also plays a few of his crowd pleasers. Cole’s performance on The Christmas Song is an unforgettable performance way back in 1946. If you want to introduce a little more sophistication into your festive season then go no further than Nat King Cole.
2. Kenny G – Miracles: The Holiday Album
Sold: 7.3 million
The multi-platinum staple, Kenny G has delved multiple times into the Christmas vein. By far the most popular however is his first outing, 1994’s Miracles: The Holiday Album.
Some of us prefer a jazzy Christmas and for us there’s only two options. Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and Kenny G. The man who defines smooth jazz, Kenny will have you swinging all the way into the new year.
1. Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album
Sold: 2o million
Head and shoulders above the rest, Elvis Presley almost triples the sales of the Kenny G. In 1957 It should a more tender side to the King when the public thought he would do something outrageous.
It was the first time Elvis tackled anything remotely resembling a concept album, with Blue Christmas going down as one of the most recognisable holiday tunes ever.
While we’ve got you, check out:
- 12 best Christmas albums of all time
- 12 best Christmas songs of all time
- 12 best Christmas movies of all time
- 8 worst Christmas albums of all time