Now considered among the greatest Christmas albums of all-time, ELVIS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM was originally mired in controversy. When the album was first released in 1957, many Americans considered Presley a menace to society, an amoral hip-shaking freak. The idea of this "punk" profaning Christmas and Christianity (the album, after all, includes four gospel songs) set off the type of uproar most publicists only dream about. Upon hearing Elvis' version of "White Christmas" (actually a close copy of The Drifters' earlier recording), songwriter Irving Berlin mounted a campaign to prevent radio play of the song. Deejays were actually fired for playing the track!
Nonetheless, ELVIS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM quickly ascended the pop charts and established itself among the handful of holiday perennials. Whether crooning a solemn classic like "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" or rocking through "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me," Elvis is clearly in command of the material, often sounding like he's having the time of his life. RCA reissued the album many times, adding and/or omitting numbers and resequencing the album. The original twelve-song version, starting with the raucous "Santa Claus is Back in Town" and ending with "It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)," is the best.