In 1956, Jackie Gleason released a Christmas album with his orchestra

The Jackie Gleason ''Merry Christmas'' album sold for $5 in the mid Fifties!

While chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, finding the right music to play is crucial. Whether you're roasting or preparing to cook your Christmas feast, you should add a Jackie Gleason album to your holiday playlist.

We all know Gleason from his incredible work on The Honeymooners, his self-titled production The Jackie Gleason Show, and numerous other projects, but did you know that he also had a successful music career? In fact, he released several albums and even made history with Music For Lovers Only, which focused on romantic jazz instrumentals.

Yet, one album has received nothing but praise since its release. In 1956, Gleason and his orchestra gave a gift to music lovers that many generations have heard. They released their holiday album, Merry Christmas, a body of work that added a twist to popular classic Christmas songs and included original recordings.

Many referred to it as "one of the warmest holiday albums of all time."

An advertisement for the album in The Arizona Republic newspaper said, "Jackie Gleason's Merry Christmas album, just issued by Capitol Records, contains many hauntingly lovely melodies with unique orchestral arrangements and Keith Textor Singers. A delightful expression of a merry, merry Christmas wish, this new LP High Fidelity Recording is $5."

The 14-track project includes remixed versions of classics like "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Winter Wonderland" and more. It can be heard on streaming services like Apple Music and YouTube. 

It didn't top the charts like his first album, but it got many fans in the holiday spirit.

Gleason wasn't just a comedian and actor; he had an ear for music, influencing many warm musical styles today. He left behind the greatest gift of all: his legacy.

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15 Comments

DannyZ 12 months ago
Jackie's Christmas records are on constant rotation during the holiday season at my house
RobertK 14 months ago
Jackie Gleason had an awesome orchestra! Their music had a certain style, somewhat romantic and mood-setting. I could hear a song and tell it was Jackie's orchestra without knowing the artist. Many years ago, I bought a big box of 45's at a yard sale and there were many Jackie Gleason records. I still put them on our old jukebox at Christmastime. The song "Christmas in Paris" is really a unique, almost haunting!
Runeshaper 14 months ago
That’s AWESOME! Jackie Gleason was so talented. I need to check out this album.
JeffPaul76 14 months ago
Yes, I knew about Jackie Gleason's Merry Christmas album, I think my family even had it. I know we had Music for Lovers Only, because I played it a few times.
harlow1313 14 months ago
As a teenager in the early seventies, my family lived to the east of Philadelphia, so we picked up three grainy New York stations. The Honeymooners came on at eleven o'clock on channel eleven, and I always watched.

If I now see the the show's introductory credits, with that big moon hanging over NYC, and that lush impassioned musical piece, I immediately go time tripping, back to those days. Kind of powerful stuff.
Tampammm harlow1313 14 months ago
Same here,,,grew up and raised in New Jersey. When that theme comes on the TV with the big moon, nothing can sound any better to me!
WilliamJorns 14 months ago
$5.00 in 1956 would be worth $51.65 in 2021 dollars (this from an on-line inflation calculator I use).
So yes, that's a lot of money for a record album.
JeffPaul76 WilliamJorns 14 months ago
What about 2022 Dollars?
ncadams27 14 months ago
$5 was a lot for an album in the mid-fifties. I recall albums being about $2-$3 (stereo was more).
Andybandit 14 months ago
I didn't know Jackie Gleason was a singer.
ncadams27 Andybandit 14 months ago
He wasn’t a singer, he had an orchestra.
justjeff 14 months ago
While Jackie Gleason couldn't read music (just like Steve Allen), both could "imagine" melodies and had them transcaribed and arranged for them.

In fact, Gleason composed the theme to the Honeymooners ("You're My Greatest Love") [a "lush" version is here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whnCK7_Dx34] as well as the theme to The Jackie Gleason Show ("Melancholy Serenade") https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSBnEZnb-V4
along with as two incidental themes used in his "American Scene Magazine" segments: "It's Such a Happy Day" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cdN3o2smUk and "La La La La La La La La" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3JtGaJH3FE
MrsPhilHarris justjeff 14 months ago
I would say his Christmas a,bum is lush. Lot’s of strings.
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