High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Wall of Sound for Christmas!

 My previous post featured 

 The Sounds of the Seasons 

 (the Four Seasons & friends). 

Now I proudly present actual
sounds of the season, but they
aren't traditional carols and hymns.
They're secular songs that bring back
fond memories of Christmases in the 60s.

 Let's get the party started  

 in Spectorian splendor with a 

 Wall of Sound for Christmas! 


It's ranked #1 on Rolling Stone's list of
Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs.

Written by Phil Spector along with famed husband
and wife Brill Building composing team Ellie Greenwich
and Jeff Barry, "Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home)"
by soulful songbird Darlene Love was the only single
released from Spector's 1963 compilation album
A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records.
The LP showcased the label's artists singing mostly
secular holiday songs enhanced by Spector's
 lavish, multi-layered production style
known as the Wall of Sound.

Renamed A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector,
the album was released the day that President Kennedy
was assassinated. The long play sold poorly at the time
as did Darlene's single which remained uncharted.
"Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home)" has since
become one of Darlene Love's signature songs.
Listen to lady Love's powerful pipes as she
 rides Spector's Wall of Sound like a
champion surfer conquering a
50-foot wave at Waimea Bay!

 "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" 
 Darlene Love (Christmas 1963, uncharted) 
 from album A Christmas Gift For You 
 From Philles Records (Phil Spector) 


Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote the Christmas
song "Little Saint Nick" and the Beach Boys
adapted it to the melody of their car hit
"Little Deuce Coupe." "Little Saint Nick"
was released on a single two-and-a-half
weeks after the assassination of JFK.
Like many other great records that
were introduced when the nation
was mourning the death of the
president, "Little Saint Nick"
had problems gaining radio
exposure and chart action.
The record reached #3
on Billboard's special
Christmas Singles Chart
but missed the Hot 100.

During the 1964 holiday season, a revised
version of "Little Saint Nick" appeared on
The Beach Boys' Christmas Album.
Over the years the festive song
has become a seasonal favorite.

 "Little Saint Nick" - The Beach Boys 
 (Christmas 1963, highest chart position 
 #3 Billboard's Christmas Singles/#69 Cash Box


In the mid 60s, Motown's most popular acts
also released Christmas recordings. The label's
hottest girl group, The Supremes, waxed the
holiday ballad "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me."

The song was released in November 1965 on
the Supremes' album Merry Christmas and
in December on a single as the B side of
"The Children's Christmas Song," another
track from that Harvey Fuqua produced LP.

 "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me" - The Supremes 
 (Christmas 1965, highest chart position #5 
 Billboard Holiday Singles Chart 
 from album Merry Christmas


Very little seems to be known today about
Judy Brown, a pop vocalist who recorded
a handful of singles in 1961 on the tiny
Skyla record label. Judy's voice sounds
similar to that of Kathy Young who,
along with her group the Innocents,
had a hit with "A Thousand Stars"
at Christmas time 1960.

One year later, during Christmas season 1961,
it was Judy's turn to cry "Dear Santa...
(send me a boy to love)."

 "Dear Santa" - Judy Brown 
 (Christmas 1961, uncharted) 


The soul group known as the Intruders helped lay the  
foundation of The Sound of Philadelphia. Crafted by  
Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, TSOP was one of the
most successful hit making formulas in pop history.

"Every Day is a Holiday," the uncharted B side
of "Old Love" (#35 R&B), was one of my
favorite songs on the 1968 Intruders album
Cowboys to Girls.  The antithesis of sweaty,
gritty James Brown funk and intense deep soul,
the joyful, light, breezycool "Every Day is
a Holiday" lent itself nicely to the holiday
spirit during Christmas season 1969.

 "Every Day is a Holiday" - The Intruders 
 (Christmas 1969, B side of "Old Love") 


Last but not least, one of my earliest childhood
memories. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
was recorded in 1952 by 13 year old Jimmy Boyd.

I had just turned three years old when my
parents bought me that children's 45 rpm
record and I played it every Christmas
throughout the Fifties.

Little Jimmy's singing is sweet and pure, light years
away from today's music. When I listen to this old
record it takes me back to the safe, secure world
that I grew up in 60 years ago.  I feel very lucky
to have been around to experience the waning
years of The Age of Innocence that is no more.

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" 
 Jimmy Boyd (Christmas 1952 
 highest chart position #1) 

 I hope you enjoyed this 

 Wall of Sound For Christmas 

 ...some of the best holiday 

 records from years past. 




  1. Look how cute you are! I'm glad you have such happy memories. I also grew up with the song, 'I Saw Mommy..." but my parents had a different version. I wish I could remember who sang it. I love that song.

    I looked up Darlene Love and she is still singing! I liked her song. I remember the Beach Boys one but not the rest of the songs.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Tom. Love and hugs to you.

    1. Hi, Belle! Looks like you're the early bird on this post and I thank you for setting aside your Christmas preps and coming to my party!

      Composed by British songwriter Tommie Connors, the song you mentioned was originally titled "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus." (Sounds like a combination Halloween-Christmas song, right? :) Jimmy Boyd recorded it first and a long list of others covered it. If you grew up listening to it, you might have been exposed to the version by Molly Bee who released her record that same year - 1952. The song was also recorded by the Ronettes, Andy Williams, Teresa Brewer and Mitch Miller, to name some of the old timers who released it.

      Yessum, Darlene Love remains one of the most respected vocal artists of our lifetime, one who was too often overlooked back in the early and mid 60s when she was one of Phil Spector's Blossoms and very much in demand as a session singer. Darlene's voice was used on countless records released by other artists. It's nice to see her getting her props in the 21st century. Darlene has appeared on David Letterman singing "Christmas" every year since 1986 and Dave has indicated that her annual performance is his favorite part of Christmas.

      Thank you again for sharing the Christmas spirit with me today, dear friend Belle. I wish you and your family a very merry one!

      God bless!

  2. Hi there Shadykins. Oh, I just love that sweet photo of you in your cute pyjamas, and little slippers. I used to love the Phil Spector sound. Wasn't it fabulous. I also grew up with I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus, and I love hearing the Ronettes version even now! I think the version I remember as a child would have been by The Beverley Sisters, who were a very famous singing group over here in the 50's. Lovely to see our Belle here again today. If she does read this, I wish her and all her family a very happy and peaceful Christmas. I also remember the song by the Beach Boys, but not the others. Thank you for picking out a good mix of Christmas songs for us today my friend. Wishing you and Mrs Shady and very happy and joyful Christmas. Smooches.

    1. SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES, dear Thisisme! Thank you for popping across the pond for a visit, my friend.

      The title of that song makes me wonder how English folks distinguished between "mummy" meaning "mommy" and "mummy" (Boris Karloff wrapped in bandages stalking young women :)

      Thanks for bringing up The Beverley Sisters, the British vocal trio that released a version of "Mummy Kissing Santa" in 1953. I see their single charted at #6 there in the UK and that they did equally well with "Little Drummer Boy" in 1959.

      Yessum, it is always a pleasure to have Belle here. Now if Des Harding and a couple other old friends would return to blogging we could cry, "The gang's all here!"

      I trust that Eleanor has touched down in Peru by this time. I know she'll have a wonderful adventure there. I hope you have a splendid Christmas, dear friend Thisisme. Thank you again for coming over to spend some time in the Shady!

  3. Ho ho ho Shady! A fine group of songs. I am grateful to have grown up during the 60s as you were the 50s. Simpler times and great tunes. My personal favorite Christmas song was Snoopy and The Red Baron. Over and over and I wish you and Mrs. Shady a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2014! Xx

    1. Hey hey hey and ho ho ho, BB! It's nice to see your face in my place, dear friend!

      I'm glad you mentioned that hit record by the Royal Guardsmen because it was a great memory maker from Christmas 1966 and January 1967 and a major seasonal hit at the Shady Dell. "Snoopy" entered the Billboard chart the week before Christmas and lingered an impressive 12 weeks, reaching the #2 spot, held back from #1 by the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" which stubbornly refused to relinquish the top spot 7 weeks in a row.

      Thanks for your visit and comment, dear Barb. I hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy Christmas!

  4. Kathleen Mae SchneiderDecember 20, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    The Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" and the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" were familiar on this post, I think because I still hear them played often on radio and in stores this time of year. I think Brenda Lee's version of the second song is the one used most frequently.

    Your obvious delight with the play balls in the early photo is an identical expression of children everywhere and in all times with the original creative and interactive toy. My two at that age loved simply rolling a ball back and forth to one another or Bob and me - nothing electronic, nothing advertised, just plain fun and good for their coordination too.

    Although I wasn't aware of Darlene Love or Phil Spector, I am impressed by their expansive sound. "Christmas" certainly showcases Darlene's energetic and capable voice, and I also enjoyed the sax solo in the song.

    Thanks for stretching my repertoire of holiday music. Have a wonderful Christmas in sunny Florida, and a Shady New Year celebration too!

    1. Hi, Kathleen! Thanks for stopping by, dear friend! Yessum, I do have an expression of delight on my face in that old picture. A toy as simple as a ball can offer hours of play time fun and satisfaction. You don't have to plug it into the wall or buy new batteries for it. In my later youth I was quite good at games and sports that used a ball, and that early photo shows me busily and happily developing my coordination.

      I'm glad you are discovering and enjoying Phil Spector's recording style. In the coming year I will be devoting a significant number of posts to "Spectorian" recordings of the mid 60s, some that were produced by Spector himself and others that imitated his "Wall of Sound" studio methods.

      As I noted in the text, Spector's Philles Christmas Album hit the street the day President Kennedy was assassinated. How's that for bad timing? I am finding tons of great recordings that were released around the time of the assassination. Many of them came and went unnoticed as a nation grieved.

      Thank you again for attending my Christmas bash, dear friend Kathleen. I wish you and Bob and Lis and Mother Margaret the happiest Christmas ever and all the best in 2014!

  5. The Phil Spector Christmas album is one of my favourites! Wishing you a Merry Christmas Shady.

    1. Hi, Sarah! It's great to see you again, my dear friend! I agree that Phil Spector's Christmas album is a very exciting production, one of the most significant albums of the 20th century. It was an experiment by Spector. His roster of girl groups sang traditional Christmas songs. The recordings were then Spectorized with a Wall of Sound, making them similar to the hit girl group singles he had produced. As great as it was, Christmas Gift to You sold poorly at the time of its original release because it coincided with the JFK assassination.

      Sarah, your friendship means a lot to me and I am very thankful to have it. Thank you very much for visiting and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. Well Shady, so much for SDS this time. I'm running about 2 days behind this year. I think it was that ice storm that set us back! I know...that sounds lame!

    And, who is the cute kid in the cowboy PJ's? Haha!

    But, hey-what a great post,and, I agree... some of the best Christmas songs ever are showcased in this post. I always liked the Beach Boys 'Little Saint Nick'. The boys were such a great group, and I think they pulled that song off! You could get up and dance like a goof to that one! Darlene Love was so good at everything she sang, and her 'Baby Come Home' was great. I didn't realize it ranked so high on the scale. Phil Spector really produced the hits!

    I didn't recognize the Judy Brown record, but it was very good, and I enjoyed the slide show and vintage pictures on her video. And The Intruders were a good group, but too, I didn't recognize their song.

    You saved the best for last. Everyone could sing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. It was a staple, and that kid's voice rang out! Yes, how fortunate we are to have lived the Christmases of the late 50's and the 60's. Oh, the smell of pine trees, jingle bells, fireplaces, and warm spices, that was real! Had we known those years were waning, we might have been able to bottle some of them up for later, lol! Well, we have some of the best memories ever, and, that's for sure, Shady!

    So, off I go for more trouble to get into. Well, I've had to work extra hard this week...time for year end stuff, and those who wait until the last minute to take care of things. But, I'm trying to get some rest, and, I will have a few days off next week-YAY! Thank you for this post, it was uplifting, really like Darlene Love's song! Hope you get some cool Christmas weather-we're staying fairly cool, fine and dandy!

    I'm trying to get a little something on MTG in the next day or two, but just in case I don't see you in a day or two, I'll go ahead and wish Mrs. Shady and you, a very Merry Christmas! ♫ Be safe!

    1. Hi, dear Suzanne! What a wonderful series of remarks this was from you! I really appreciate all the time and thought that went into them.

      That cute little kid in the PJ's is Scootie Shady! (LOL) Hey, I couldn't be more thrilled that you enjoyed this post so much. You get extra Shady points for liking Darlene Love, my featured artist. Her "Baby, Please Come Home" has to be the coolest and most exciting Christmas record I've ever heard. It's too bad her single and the whole album it came from sold poorly. I could fill a dozen posts with excellent recordings that failed because they were released around the JFK assassination.

      I am very happy to know you were touched by "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." It still brings tears to my eyes when I listen to it. It reminds me how good it felt to have two loving parents and to feel safe and secure. I wish more kids today could experience what you and I experienced back then. It was a sign of the times that Jimmy Boyd's innocent children's record was banned in Boston because the Roman Catholic Church said it mixed "sex" with Christmas. Jimmy had to go to Bean Town and meet with church leaders to appease them and get the ban lifted. Can you imagine? I wonder what church leaders of the early 50s would have thought of Miley Cyrus and her twerking!

      I'll be looking for your MTG post, although I need to advise you that I might not be Same Day Shady in commenting on it. Mrs. Shady and I are hosting 25 family members at our house on Christmas and I will be busy in the days ahead getting the house cleaned up. You know you can count on me to show up at your blog eventually.

      Thank you very much for your visit, dear Suzanne, and merry Christmas to you and Karo and Scootie Potter and all your loved ones!

  7. What a delightful Christmas mix you have here! I remember some of them and a few I hadn't heard before. I love Jimmy Boyd's "Mommy Kissing Santa.." Almost as much as the pic with you in your cute jammies! His voice reminds me of a young Wayne Newton. "Little Saint Nick" is truly a fav and I even have it sung by the Muppets! That always makes me laugh! The songs of '63 were a blur for me...we had just gotten back into our home in time for Christmas after having had a house fire in Nov. Just being home again was a joy. I'm glad many of the tunes were played year after "Christmas, (Baby please come home)...I really enjoyed hearing it again here! I hope you and Mrs. Shady have a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Hiya, YaYa! Thank you very much for spreading cheer with your visit and comments!

      Now that you mention it, Jimmy Boyd did sound like a very young Wayne Newton. Danke Schoen for pointing that out.

      I'm glad you enjoyed my most memorable holiday kiddie record, the pic of itsy bitsy Shady in his jammies and Darlene Love's soulful Christmas classic.

      The original audio on that Beach Boys' live performance of "Little Saint Nick" was awful. Luckily, the YouTuber who uploaded this clip did a great job of syncing the studio recording with the old video footage taken from Shindig.

      I can't imagine how hard it was for you and your family in November of 1963 to be driven from your home by fire with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the way. Add to that the emotional trauma caused by the presidential assassination and it's no wonder you and a lot of other people lost track of pop music around that time. I'm happy to learn that you were back in your house in time to celebrate Christmas that year.

      You're a delightful friend, dear YaYa, and again I thank you for making time for me. I wish you and Jack and Eddy, your mother, your brothers and all your grandkiddos a very merry Christmas!

  8. Merry, merry Christmas to you, Tom, and to Mrs. Shady also! I've always loved the Beach Boys' "Little St Nick" - let's face it, I've always loved the Beach Boys! Have a wonderful holiday, and best wishes for the new year! When things slow down a bit after Christmas, I'll be a more attentive blogger!

    1. Hi, karen! Your "friend credit" is always good here, kiddo, but thank you for expressing what you did here. It was very sweet of you. I consider our friendship one of the highlights of 2013 and I'm looking forward to sharing more with you here and on your blog in the coming year.

      I'm glad you are a fan of America's band, the Beach Boys, and enjoyed this performance of theirs on Shindig.

      Merry Christmas to you and L and to all of your delightful family members young and old coast to coast. Stay safe and God bless!

  9. Just had to stop by the Dell and wish all our Dell Rat friends a Merry Christmas. There's no better place to be on cold winter evening than the Shady Dell. I will all ways have the memory of making that walk up the steps and around the house pulling my coat collar up around my neck and shaking off the cold as I walked thur the door to feel the warm heat of the fire place. I will keep these memories with me till the day I leave this world. Merry Christmas Shady and Dell rats every were. A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. Hi, Greg! You are so right, good buddy. I'm right there with you experiencing the warm glow of the Dell fireplace on cold winter nights. John never let that fire go out and guys like us will never let the memories fade. I am still touched whenever I look at that picture of you kneeling next to the fireplace in the barn/dance hall that soon afterward was reduced to rubble.

      The Dell was magical all year round but never so much as at Christmas. Like you I will take those memories with me to the next life.

      Thank you very much for coming, Greg. I wish you and your family a joyous Christmas and a safe and happy new year. Thank you very much for your continued friendship and support in 2013 and stay tuned for more great music and memories in 2014!

  10. These are the best Christmas songs. I think my favorite is Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". "Meet me in St. Louis" also happens to be my favorite Christmas movie.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi, Ashton! I love Judy Garland and recently purchased For Me and My Gal, a DVD which includes the musical short Every Sunday starring a very young Judy and a very young Deanna Durbin. The late great Deanna will be the focus of my next post.

      Thank you very much for stopping in for a Christmas eve visit, dear friend Ashton, and merry Christmas to you and your family!

  11. I have to follow you because you leave the nicest comments. (Ulterior motive: You follow me back. You could be my two hundredth follower, which would make my Christmas.)

    Janie Junebug

    1. Love and hugs to you, Janie Junebug! I was delighted to see that you chose to follow me here at SDM&M and I wasted no time hopping over to your blogspot and signing on the dotted line - a 10 year contract with an option for renewal! :)

      Isn't Christmas wonderful? We all have the power to generate little Christmas miracles and make a difference in the lives of others. You proved that tonight with your kind words and actions.

      May you enjoy the happiest Christmas ever, dear friend Janie, and please come back soon. I love having you here!

  12. Merry Christmas, Tom! You probably won't even read this until after the holidays, but listening to Spike Jones' "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" today on Las Cruces' oldies station prompted me to stop by. Also I wanted to express my holiday wishes.
    I enjoyed Darlene Love, Beach Boys, Supremes, Jimmy Boyd as in previous years. I also reminisced my first Christmas 45 purchase in last week's blog, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". (Don't cry-yi baby!). The only other one I every bought was Stevie Wonder's "Someday At Christmas".
    Darlene Love always rocked on that song, and I was unaware of her Letterman appearances yearly, but you left out her other significant Christmas contribution. I was especially happy to see Darlene make her active debut(?) as wife to Danny Glover in the "Lethal
    Weapon" movies. Never forget that, as Trish, she had the distinction of being the worst cook for any holiday dinner---maybe even every night. Nothing was funnier than Riggs's comments on being invited to have dinner at Murdock. I can't imagine anyone being that bad for a turkey dinner. But then, I wasn't there.
    Anyway, I hope you and Catherine and the rest of the family have a wonderful Christmas. I hope you aren't too exhausted cleaning up after 25 relatives.
    Merry Christmas to all the other bloggers here, too--Belle, Greg, etc. Everyone have a nice holiday. Looking forward to a happy, heatlhy and prosperous year ahead, everbody!
    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Hey, I'm here, good buddy! Friends make time for friends and I didn't want to miss replying to your outstanding comment.

      You say you were listening to a Spike Jones record today? Were you by any chance tuned in to Dr. Demento? :)

      I'm glad you enjoyed my Christmas lineup the last two weeks, particularly the magnificent but poor selling holiday classic by Darlene Love. Hey, I gotta admit that I looked like a deer caught in headlights as I read about Darlene being an actress because I never paid much attention to the Lethal Weapon movies. You see, Mrs. Shady hates action films and she makes me watch weepy chick flicks with her until I'm all verklempt! It sometimes makes me yearn for my bachelor days when I was my own boss and could watch Three Stooges marathons without fear of getting clobbered with a frying pan. :)

      Yes sir, tomorrow will be a busy day and it's near midnight here so I better shut down for the night. You can keep listening to the SDM&M jukebox all you want. I'm a heavy sleeper! :)

      Thank you very much for coming over, Ron. I hope you'll make a New Year's resolution to make these visits a habit. You are a V.I.P. here!

      Merry Christmas, good buddy!

  13. ive always loved the wall of sound effect and its always great when modern artists use it well. ie The morning benders song 'excuses'. My mum used to play christmas records as we'd open our presents on christmas day so alot of these songs are wedged into my memory somewhere. And what an adorable photo of you at 3 years old!

    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Catherine! It was also a tradition at my house to put away the rock 'n' roll for a couple of weeks and play festive seasonal music night and day. It set the mood and enhanced the experience of opening pressies Christmas morning.

      If you enjoy Phil Spector's Wall of Sound you'll be happy to know I am beginning a two year long, 15 part series next month in which I will present the greatest "Spector Sound" recordings. It will include works produced by the great one himself plus soundalike recordings made by those who imitated him.

      Thank you very much for your friendship and support in 2013, dear Cat. Let's build an even better friendship in the coming year.

      It's soon midnight in your part of the world. Happy new year to you, dear friend!


You talkin' to me?