Looking for holiday music to help warm the hearth, chill the eggnog or ring in the new year? Yes, there's the traditional ("Silent Night"), and there's the contemporary traditional (José Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad"). But we can also look no further than GRAMMY winners for some joyful tidings. While they may not be standards just yet, don't bet against them when St. Nick's hitting the chimneys in 2025.
GRAMMY Winner: Alison Krauss (27 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: "Only You Can Bring Me Cheer (Gentleman's Lady)" (iTunes>)
Included on A Very Special Acoustic Christmas, part of the charitable A Very Special Christmas series, and written with brother Viktor Krauss. Other GRAMMY winners featured on the album are Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Wynnona, and more.
GRAMMY Winner: Stevie Wonder (25 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: Someday At Christmas (iTunes>)
Released in 1967 when Wonder was in his mid-teens, this collection includes the jaunty "What Christmas Means To Me" and traditional songs such as "Silver Bells," "Ave Maria" and "The Little Drummer Boy."
GRAMMY Winner: U2 (22 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" (iTunes>)
From the very first A Very Special Christmas in 1987 comes this U2 cover of the Darlene Love song from Phil Spector's groundbreaking A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector album.
Other GRAMMY winners featured on the album are Bon Jovi, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, and Bruce Springsteen.
GRAMMY Winner: Aretha Franklin (18 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: This Christmas (iTunes>)
Interject a bit of soul into your holiday proceedings with this collection, which includes "Ave Maria," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "Angels We Have Heard On High," and a personalized reading of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" from the Queen of Soul herself.
GRAMMY Winner: Ray Charles (17 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: The Spirit Of Christmas (iTunes>)
The album cover for this holiday classic features Charles with a sleigh full of gifts, and the album is packed with a sleigh full of merry tunes, including "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town" and "Winter Wonderland."
GRAMMY Winner: Eric Clapton (17 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: "Christmas Tears" (iTunes>)
Looking for a live Christmas? Try A Very Special Christmas — Live From Washington, D.C., which features five tracks from Clapton, including teamings with Blues Traveler's John Popper, Mary J. Blige and Sheryl Crow.
GRAMMY Winner: Chet Atkins (14 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: Christmas With Chet Atkins (iTunes>)
AllMusic.com calls it "one of the most underrated holiday platters of all time." Certainly it beats the cold-cut platter. Atkins was the king of country guitar and one of the architects of the countrypolitan sound, and he turns those forces into a Christmas present for you.
GRAMMY Winner: Tony Bennett (16 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: Snowfall — The Tony Bennett Christmas Album (iTunes>)
This 1968 collection of holiday music features Bennett swinging through a selection of holiday numbers, including "White Christmas" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Also included is "My Favorite Things" from The Sound Of Music, offering a pleasant serving of doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodle.
GRAMMY Winner: Paul McCartney (15 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: "Wonderful Christmastime" (iTunes>)
As was always the way with former Beatlemates McCartney and John Lennon, "Wonderful Christmastime" was the sweet, celebratory counterpoint to Lennon's angrier, cautionary "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." While Lennon railed, "And so this is Christmas/For weak and for strong/For rich and the poor ones/The world is so wrong," McCartney sang, "The moon is right/The spirit's up/We're here tonight/And that's enough." Both are becoming holiday standards. And the spirit is definitely up for McCartney as he'll be honored as the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year in January.
GRAMMY Winner: Michael Jackson (13 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: The Jackson 5 Christmas Album (iTunes>)
This 1970 disc was the second official album release for the Jacksons. It contains mostly classic Christmas tunes, and may have been the last opportunity Michael had to be a kid.
GRAMMY Winner: Carole King (4 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: A Holiday Carole (iTunes>)
This 55th GRAMMY nominated album is a family affair as three original songs were co-written by King's daughter Louise Goffin, including "Christmas Paradise" and "New Year's Day." A Holiday Carole features three generations of vocals as King sings with her grandson and Goffin on "Chanukah Prayer."
GRAMMY Winner: Cee Lo Green (4 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: Cee Lo's Magic Moment (iTunes>)
From the man who crooned "F*** You," Cee Lo's Magic Moment is surprisingly joyful. Green chides those who aren't in the holiday spirit on "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which features a cappella group Straight No Chaser, and is one of several collaborations with artists such as the Muppets, Christina Aguilera and Rod Stewart.
GRAMMY Winner: Michael Bublé (3 GRAMMYs)
Holiday Cheer: Christmas (iTunes>)
Bublé garnered a 55th GRAMMY nomination for this 2011 release, which features definitive holiday favorites as well as duets with GRAMMY winner Shania Twain ("White Christmas") and Thalia ("Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad"). As 2011's second best-selling album, Christmas is bound to be stuffed in tons of stockings this holiday season.
What music will you be playing this holiday season? Leave us a comment.
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