Review Summary: A timeless Christmas classic. "Merry Christmas" sounds just as fantastic today as it did well over 50 years ago.
Bing Crosby seems to be a forgotten legend around these parts, but he‘s not an artist who should be ignored. His distinct bass-baritone voice set him apart from other singers of his time and eventually lead to his highly successful career. Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1903, Crosby got his first breakthrough in 1925 after teaming up with vocalist Al Rinker and forming The Rhythm Boys. Eventually he would go on to star in countless movies and television shows including the Christmas classics Holiday Inn and White Christmas.
With over one billion movie tickets sold, Bing Crosby is the third highest selling actor of all time behind John Wayne and Clark Gable. However it’s his timeless singing voice that truly makes him unique. It’s no surprise that his version of ‘White Christmas’ is the best-selling single of all time. His low and cheery voice has been adding magic to the season for well over half a century and it sounds just as great today as it did all those years ago. Of all his holiday albums and compilations however, “Merry Christmas” is his one true classic and quite possibly the best Christmas album of all time.
First released as a 78 in 1945 and later reissued as an official LP in 1955, “Merry Christmas” has been released countless times but it has always stayed true to its original form. Kicking off the album is Crosby’s rendition of ‘Silent Night.’ Although it’s never been one of my favorite Christmas songs, this version is especially good. Due to Bing’s somber and deep voice, the song never sounds overly peppy, instead it is a soothing track and my personal favorite cover of ‘Silent Night.’ Placed in the second half of the track are some female vocals that sound nice harmonized alongside Crosby. All of the songs seem to be perfectly orchestrated thanks partly to John Scott Orchestra as well as additional musicians and vocalists. Truth be told, Crosby’s voice is so great he probably didn’t need all the guest vocals but thankfully they are done well and don’t take away from the experience.
It’s difficult to pick the standouts on such a timeless Christmas classic but as you may have guessed, ‘White Christmas’ is easily one of the best offerings. First recorded in 1942, the song also features some guest female vocals and light orchestration. Like nearly every song it has string sections, pianos, flutes and other various orchestrated instruments that help provide a cheery background for Crosby’s signature voice. Another standout is ‘Adeste Fideles’ as it contains some of Crosby’s most impressive vocals on the album and his cover of ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ puts nearly every other rendition of the song to shame.
There’s not much else I can say about Bing Crosby as no words can possibly express how amazing he is as an artist. Much like Frank Sinatra, his voice is highly original and has enough character to carry the entire album. The light but beautiful orchestration is just the frosting on the cake. When listening to his undeniable classic “Merry Christmas” only one thing is certain. Bing Crosby was born to make Christmas music.