This is the 32nd holiday season since Elvis went to trim that big Christmas tree in the sky, but he still has the most popular holiday album of all time. Elvis' Christmas Album, originally released in 1957, has sold more than 12 million copies.
Presley's album logged three weeks at #1 in December 1957, before surrendering the top spot to Bing Crosby's holiday perennial Merry Christmas. But Elvis returned to #1 the following week, in what seemed very much like a passing of the torch-or in this case, a Christmas candle. The Bing-to-Elvis hand-off represented a move from old to young, from Tin Pan Alley to rock'n'roll, from "White Christmas" to "Blue Christmas."
Christmas albums have been an integral part of the holidays for more than 60 years but there is no authoritative list of the most popular Christmas albums of all time. This list is based on a combination of Nielsen/SoundScan sales figures and RIAA.
Three of the top 20 holiday albums were released before 1960. Bing Crosby's 'Merry Christmas', the forerunner before renaming to 'White Christmas', was issued in 1945.
These are the USA most popular Christmas albums of all time:
- Elvis Presley, Elvis' Christmas Album, 12 Million copie sold. The original edition of this album, which spawned Presley's holiday perennial "Blue Christmas," topped the chart for four weeks and has sold 3,000,000 copies, according to the RIAA. In 1970, RCA released a revised "budget" edition, which dropped four gospel songs from the original and added two songs, including Presley's 1966 holiday hit, "If Every Day Was Like Christmas." It has sold 9,000,000 copies, per the RIAA. This grand total combines the two tallies.
- Kenny G, Miracles--The Holiday Album, 7 million copies sold. (#1 in both 1994 and 1996)
- Mannheim Steamroller, A Fresh Aire Christmas, 6 million copies sold, 1988.
- Mannheim Steamroller, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, 6 million copies sold, 1984.
- Celine Dion, These Are Special Times, 5 million copies sold, 1988.
- Barbra Streisand, A Christmas Album, 5 million copies sold, 1967.
- Johnny Mathis, Merry Christmas, 5 million copies sold, 1958.
- Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas, 4.9 million copies sold, 1994.
- Josh Groban, Noel, 4 million copies sold, 2007.
- Various Artists, A Very Special Christmas, 4 million copies sold, 1987.
- Bing Crosby, White Christmas, 4 million copies sold, 1945 > 1957.
Elvis Presley is also listed at #17 with "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas", 3 million copies sold, 1971.