Ghosts Of Christmas Past features Christmas/Holiday albums that have been previously released and are returning in 2017 in either new packaging or with new tracks or in a new format. Or any combination of those. Straight up reissues are on the naughty list, however.
Like aluminum trees glazed with shiny tinsel and stockings filled with oranges as well as assorted nuts still in their shell, Elvis's "Blue Christmas" has been a fixture of my Christmas memories for much of my life and he's been a fixture in the Christmas Music section of the record store for much much longer as Elvis' Christmas Album (YT) was first released in 1957 and was later followed by Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas (YT) in 1971. And the songs on those albums have been repackaged, remastered and reissued with alternate versions and updated additional instrumentation for going on sixty years now. The gallery of cover art above is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Elvis Presley Christmas music albums that have been released through the years. This year, two more albums have been added to the Presley Christmas Canon.
Following the huge yet fan-polarizing success of both 2015's If I Can Dream and 2016's The Wonder of You, featuring Presley's vintage vocals remastered and augmented with all-new instrumental backing by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra*, Presley's heirs and Sony Legacy decided to return to the same well with The King's evergreen Christmas recordings.
On October 6, 2017, Elvis Christmas, featuring thirteen songs, was released. The album debuted on Billboard's Holiday Album Chart dated October 28, 2017, at number 6 just ahead of his own The Classic Christmas Album (2012) at number 7. Presley was also at number 11 on that week's chart with It's Christmas Time, a compilation from 1999 and at number 19 with Merry Christmas...Love, Elvis, originally released in 2013. I've listened to Elvis Christmas twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it. The marriage of The King's voice with the orchestral music does not diminish my cherished memories of the music one.single.bit. And ordinarily, I'd find such recordings of this ghoulish and exploitative nature an unforgivable atrocity, but I've really enjoyed listening to this album. I'll have to listen a few more times to be more certain, but I think at least initially I might prefer some of these recordings to the originals though I'm sure my father, were he still here with us on this big blue marble, would vehemently disagree. Dad's honorary title and unpaid position as the biggest fan of The King and His music in the family has been inherited by his favorite granddaughter and my only daughter, Devyn. I wonder what she thinks of this album? Guess we'll have to wait until Christmas Day to find out. (Dev, I know you're reading this so please disregard that last sentence which may be misconstrued as a revelation of what you may or may not find under the tree on Christmas morning.) But wait, there's more.
In one of the recording industry's biggest, most egregious and ongoing offenses against us, the music fans who are the sole reason for its existence, Elvis Christmas was released as a Deluxe Edition with four additional songs, bringing the total up to seventeen for just a couple bucks more on November 24, 2017. The Deluxe Edition of Elvis Christmas had the effect of bringing the album (for charting purposes, Billboard considers both releases as one single charting album) up from its previous position at number 40 on the Holiday Albums chart dated December 9, 2017, to number 16 on the chart the following week behind It's Christmas Time at number 13 and ahead of The Classic Christmas Album down at number 29. The four additional tracks bring nothing new to the previous incarnation of the album for me except about fourteen and a half minutes. For obsessives and completists only.