These were the best-selling Christmas albums of the 1970s
What to play if you're throwing an authentic throwback holiday party.
In the Seventies, Santa got groovy. Is it any surprise? The decade known for disco and funk kept on boogying right through the Yuletide season.
Of course, the dance floor wasn't everything back then. Singer-songwriters, soft pop and easygoing country were also flavors of the day. And people sure loved musical television characters and TV themes.
All of the above is reflected in the top-selling holiday albums of the '70s. Let's take a spin through the chart-topping Christmas albums from each year of the decade. Some of them might surprise you.
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1. The Jackson 5 - The Jackson 5 Christmas Album
Twelve-year-old Michael Jackson stole the show, wailing on immediate classics like "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." His youthful soul perfectly captured the feeling of a kid on Christmas morning. He may be the angel on top of the tree, but he's not the only attraction. Tito Jackson gives a subtle psychedelic edge underneath it all with a fuzzy guitar riff.
2. The Partridge Family - A Partridge Family Christmas Card
As with most things, the Brady Bunch beat the Partridge Family to the punch. Their TV show hit screens firsts, and the Brady kids were the first to drop a holiday album, 1970's Merry Christmas from the Brady Bunch. But Shirley Jones and her "kids" found greater sales success with their Christmas Card. Having a more experienced adult voice helped (not to mention lead idol David Cassidy), as did the backing band, the renowned studio aces known as "the Wrecking Crew."
3. Elvis Presley - Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas
The King had scored a major holiday hit with "Blue Christmas" in 1968 (and that single was tacked onto this album in later years), but this 1971 saw him singing pure Christmas blues music in its popular single "Merry Christmas Baby." We also adore one little detail on the album cover — take a close look at the snowman and notice that he has Elvis' face.
4. The Holiday Singers with Earl Hamner, Jr. - The Waltons' Christmas Album
The Partridge Family were not the only television clan to score a big '70s Christmas hit. The Waltons' album brought all the folksy charm of the series to vinyl, with series creator Earl Hamner Jr. narrating warming tales that stuck to the ribs like casserole and pie.
5. John Denver - Rocky Mountain Christmas
With a voice like a sunset, Denver dominated the charts — if not all of pop culture — in the later part of the decade. The country-folk balladeer released this, his first Christmas album, in 1975, though he was no stranger to singing about the holiday. This collection included two previously released tunes, "Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)" and "Aspenglow." But "Christmas for Cowboys" might be the most enduring classic from this gentle gem.
6. The Salsoul Orchestra - Christmas Jollies
After unwrapping the presents, eating with the family and watching a little sports, what else is there to do but hit the discotheque? At least, that seemingly was the mindset in '76 and '77, when this disco Christmas collection dominated the holiday charts. The New York-based Salsoul Orchestra was the backing band behind dozens of club hits. Hear them give a 4/4 rhythm to classic carols.
7. The Carpenters - Christmas Portrait
With a Norman Rockwell homage on the album cover, the Carpenters were aiming squarely for warm and fuzzy nostalgia on their Christmas album. Heck, by 1978, everyone (including Karen and Richard) was already nostalgic for the Carpenters' Christmas classic "Merry Christmas Darling." The single first went to No. 1 on the Christmas charts in 1970, the year of its release, and peaked again in '71 and '73. It was re-released in '74 and '77, and a new version of the noel was included on this album. It is arguably the definitive Christmas song of the decade.
8. John Denver and the Muppets - A Christmas Together
Released to coincide with a 1979 television special of the same name, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together gave a comic spin to the classics, as Fozzie continually flubs his line in "The Twelve Days of Christmas."