Blue Christmas

Album: Elvis' Christmas Album (1957)
Charted: 11 33
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  • Originally recorded by Western actor Doye O'Dell in 1948, the song found popularity two years later with a cover by Ernest Tubb. Elvis Presley recorded it in 1957 for his Elvis' Christmas Album. It wasn't released as a single until 1964, when in the US it was backed with "Wooden Heart" from Elvis' soundtrack to his film G.I. Blues, but from 1965 and on, it was backed with "Santa Claus Is Back In Town." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Boston, MA
  • In the UK, the single was also released in 1964, but with Elvis' version of "White Christmas" on the flip, making for a very colorful and seasonal single. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Phil - Crickhowell, Wales
  • Elvis' performed this song for the first time on his 1968 television special, which was called (Singer Presents) 'Elvis' (it was sponsored by Singer sewing machines). Recorded in June, the special aired on December 3 and helped revitalize his career. His performance of "Blue Christmas" is the only video footage that exists of Elvis singing a Christmas song. Before he begins the song, Elvis states: "I'd like to do my favorite Christmas song of the ones I've recorded."
  • This has been covered by Ringo Starr, Celine Dion, The Beach Boys, Sheryl Crow, Smash Mouth, Brooks and Dunn, Vince Gill, Face to Face, Bette Midler, Harry Connick Jr., Shakin' Stevens, Bill Haley and the Comets, Eilert Pilarm, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Misfits, Freddy Fender, Collective Soul, and... Porky Pig.

    The only version to chart in America is by a family act called The Browns (the siblings Jim Edward, Maxine and Bonnie Brown), who nicked the Hot 100 at #97 with their 1960 recording. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada
  • In late 2008, Martina McBride was digitally composited into footage from Elvis performing this song at his 1968 Christmas special to create a duet version of the song. McBride recorded the song as part of the Christmas Duets album, which featured several female singers, including Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, and Olivia Newton-John, performing Christmas songs along with recordings of Elvis.

    Inserting a voice onto an existing recording isn't all that difficult, but getting McBride on video with Elvis was painstaking, taking about four weeks to piece together. The most difficult shots were the ones from overhead where McBride appears with the full band. There was a small space between Elvis and his guitarist Scotty Moore where she was inserted.

    When the duet hit #22 on the Adult Contemporary tally, it became Presley's first entry on that chart since "The Elvis Medley" peaked at #31 in 1982.
  • There aren't many instrumental renditions of this song because it's so associated with the lyric, but according to Jim Brickman, who recorded a piano version for his 2014 album On A Winter's Night, it's not that hard to pull off. "It's a very simple song so it comes naturally," he told Songfacts. "If we were at a party and you said, 'Can you play 'Blue Christmas'?' I wouldn't have to listen to it to be able to play it. And so, to me that says this is simple enough that I can interpret it and give it its own voice."
  • Elvis Presley appeared in the Billboard Hot 100's top 40 for the first time since 1981, when, thanks to streaming, this song debuted at #40 on the chart dated January 5, 2019. The King's previous visit to the Top 40 was on the tally dated March 28, 1981, when a re-issue of his 1967 song "Guitar Man" peaked at #28.
  • Shakin' Stevens' version, which featured on his 1982 eponymous EP, peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • According to a 2012 interview with Millie Kirkham, one of Presley's backing singers, the King originally recorded the song with reluctance. "Let's just get this over with," he told his band, and urged them to "do something silly" on the recording.

    Kirkham responded by singing "woo-we-woo" throughout the song. "When we got through, we all laughed and said, 'Well, that's one record that the record company will never release.'"

Comments: 13

  • Karen from UsaElvis on this song is wonderful. Now if someone wasn't goosing the background singers, it would be perfect.
  • Moanin' Lisa from Chillicothe Mo.I love Elvis's version (1957) of Blue Christmas every Christmas-time. It's on satellite radio at Christmas a lot. And I still hear that funny version by "Porky Pig" or whoever that is with that cartoon voice doing Blue Christmas. Hilarious!!
  • Jeffrey from Clearwater, FlWhen looking at the deluxe DVD edition of the Elvis '68 Christmas special you will find that while Elvis does say "This is my favorite Christmas song of all the ones I recorded" he is not speaking of "Blue Christmas". He then goes on to perform "Santa Claus is Back in Town" a bit. It was edited later to match his remark to "Blue Christmas".
  • Mike from Franklin County, PaThe song was indeed used in the Rankin - Bass animated Christmas special ; but the series was called "A Year Without A Santa Clause" , not "The Christmas Without a Santa Clause" . In the animated series , Santa is standing outside his house , when a little blue bird flies to him and delivers the letter . We see Santa ( voiced by Micky Rooney ) read the letter ; and then we hear the little girl sings the words to the song . After the song is sung , the letter touched Santa's heart with tears for the child ; so right then , he decided that it was wrong to have cancelled Christmas . So he found the strength and courage to tell the Elves to load up his sled . Mrs. Claus was worried about his cold ; but Santa told her he "never felt better ; never felt stronger!" . So eventually , he boarded his sled , and delivered his Christmas gifts around the world .
  • Terry from Willmar, MnElvis started literally having a blue Christmas after he was driving around Bel Air with friends looking at Christmas decorations. He was living out there while filming one of his movies and homesick for Graceland. Anyway, they drove past a mansion which had been decorated entirely with blue Christmas lights. Elvis was so impressed that he told his companions, "That's how I'm decorationg Graceland next year." And he did. Not only the house but Elvis put lights all the way up the driveway from the front gate. Each year he kept adding more and more lights to trees and bushes. A blue Christmas.
  • Deviarte from Leeds, United KingdomFor reasons promotional and because we love music and Christmas we did a full web trawl of EVERYONE we could find who had had a hit with Blue Christmas and the year. This song has really endured even if Elvis did originally think it "dumb".

    Here they all are. Enjoy & lots of year-round festive cheer from everyone at
    Ernest Tubb 1948
    Doye O'Dell 1948
    Russ Morgan 1949
    Hugo Winterhalter 1949
    Russ Morgan and his Orchestra 1949
    Billy Echstine 1950
    Dinning Sisters with Bob Atcher 1950
    David Frizzell 1950
    Elvis Presley 1957
    Johnny Mathis 1958
    Chet Atkins 1961
    Jim Reeves 1963
    The Platters 1963
    Johnny Cash November 1963
    The Beach Boys 1964
    Brenda Lee 1964
    Beach Boys 1964
    Elvis Presley 1964
    The Ventures 1965
    Stonewall Jackson 1966
    Loretta Lynn 1966
    Dean Martin 1966
    Glen Campbell 1968
    Tammy Wynette 1970
    The Partridge Family 1971
    Merle Haggard 1977
    Robert Gordon 1979
    The Misfits 1978
    Ral Donner 1979
    Marie Osmond 1979
    Willie Nelson 1979
    Shakin' Stevens 1982
    Earl Thomas Conley 1984
    Seymour Swine and the Squeelers 1985
    Sawyer Brown 1985
    Lawrence Welk 1986
    Highway 101 1988
    John Denver 1990
    Laima 1991
    Anne and Nancy Wilson 1992
    Fats Domino 1993
    Wynonna 1993
    Frank Yankovic 1994
    Jingle Cats 1994
    Soul Collective 1995
    The Oakridge Boys 1995
    Low 1997
    Englebert Humperdinck 1996
    Joe Perry 1997
    Henning Stærk 1997
    Sheryl Crow 1997
    Joe Perry 1997
    Vince Gill 1998
    Celine Dion 1998
    Brian Seltzer Orchestra 1998
    Ricky Van Shelton 2000
    Jon Bon Jovi 2001
    Face To Face 2001
    Deana Carter 2001
    Bright Eyes 2002
    Dave Couse 2002
    Clay Walker 2002
    Harry Connick Jr. 2003
    The Perishers 2003
    Leon Redbone 2003
    Chris Isaak 2004
    Kate & Anna McGarrigle 2005
    Chaim Tannenbaum 2005
    George Canyon 2005
    Mike Denver 2005
    Flee the Seen 2006
    Billy Idol 2006
    Tom Keifer 2007
    Raul Malo 2007
    Carnie Wilson 2007
    Nicole Atkins 2008
    Melissa Etheridge 2008
    Dustin Kensrue 2008

  • Robert from Houston, TxThis has also been covered by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
  • Ray from Laughlin, NvWhen that recording session ended, Elvis said he thought it was a dumb song and should never be released. The comment was overheard by the female back-up singer, Millie Kirkham, who was there, and also very noticable in the background on the song.
  • Robin from Birmingham, AlFYI: For those who are looking for the "piggy" version of this song, you'll find its performer listed as "Sylvester Swine," not Porky Pig. (I imagine no one wanted to get in trouble with Warner Brothers--who had nothing to do with the song--by calling the "singer" Porky Pig.)
  • Susan from Washington, DcSorry, but the Porky Pig version is in a class by itself. If you haven't heard it, seek it out. I defy you not to laugh along with whoever that is in the background!
  • James from Vidalia, GaThis song was sung by a little girl to Santa in the Rankin/Bass Christmas Special "The Christmas Without a Santa Claus". That's the one featuring the stop-motion characters Mr. Snow and Mr. Sun. Very bizarre stuff. The 70s...heh!
  • Jude from Thomasville, GaFor several years, starting December 1st (i.e a LONG time ago), our local radio station would start playing "Blue Christmas" by Elvis. We heard it every morning on our way to school and it must be a pretty good song 'cause now it's not Christmas without it. Also, no one else's version sounds quite right, not even Porky Pig's..
  • Tiffany from Dover, FlI heard that song in a Radio Shack ad last year and it featured people crying over electronics. I don't know why, but it seemed funny!
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