A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector is the greatest Christmas album of all time


In 1963, Phil Spector was on a hot streak. Penning his first hit in 1958, the “Tycoon of Teen” had dozens of his top records on the Billboard charts and was revered as one of the most skilled producers of popular music in his day–known for his total control of the studio process and revolutionary new production techniques. His “Wall of Sound” method, which incorporated orchestral instruments alongside rock and roll guitars and extensive musical layering, created rich, impenetrable soundscapes that were ideal for radio broadcasts and were irresistible to the average listener.

“When I first heard it, it blew my mind,” said Brian Wilson, founding member and main creative drive of The Beach Boys, about Spector’s famous hit single, “Be My Baby.” “I thought it was the greatest record I ever heard.”

Naturally, it was a no-brainer when someone proposed that Spector cut a Christmas album–those of which generally sold incredibly well during the holiday season. So he assembled his now infamous Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians which played on countless top hits through the 1960s, and called upon his squad of pop groups and female artists that made his records hits with their spot-on vocal harmonies and beautiful solo performances.

The resulting album is a holiday masterpiece, an unstoppable festive force powered by Spector’s iconic dense production, now Christmas-ified, and the unrelenting, powerful vocal work of the Ronettes, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, and Darlene Love.

“When I’m singing it, I’m telling everybody to come to their loved ones,” said Love, lead singer of the track “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” “I’m inviting families to get back together again. This is the time to do it.”

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” the only non-Christmas standard recorded for the album, has now become a Christmas standard itself, and is played continuously on holiday radio stations and featured in holiday movies, television shows, and commercials–a testament to Love’s incredible vocal talent and Spector’s unmatched production skills.

A frequently-played favorite from the album is The Ronettes’ rendition of “Frosty the Snowman,” prominently featured in the 1990 gangster film GoodFellas during its notorious post-heist Christmas party scene.

Overall, the album is the greatest ever to come out of the holiday season, and is up there with The Beach Boys Christmas Album and A Charlie Brown Christmas.