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Today here's a short, but much requested past column (now definitively updated, with a special thanks to Brian) on Disneyland's Main Street Christmas music loop as we get into high gear for the holiday season. - Al

Main Street Christmas Music Loop

I get the same e-mails every year about this time (and yes, almost always in all-caps) usually requesting/demanding/begging an immediate response:

AL! BUDDY! MY PAL! DO YOU KNOW WHAT ALBUMS THEY USED TO MAKE THE DISNEYLAND MAIN STREET CHRISTMAS MUSIC LOOP??? MY (insert name of relative here) WHO IS (insert rather unpleasant medical condition of said relative here) WANTS TO GET A COPY OF THIS BEFORE THEY (insert usually bleak future state of said relative here).

Since I get a LOT of e-mail (way beyond Viagra offers) I really don't get the chance to respond personally to them all. But I do try and keep in mind the many requests and try to provide some kind of an answer eventually here in the column.

For the original run of this piece I did some Googling on the above demand, plea, request to see what I could find. Part of the answer was easy thanks to a wonderful resource out there, but the real devil laid in finding all the missing details.

If you haven't visited Kirsten Wahlquist's Disney Music Loops website yet you should, as she has done an outstanding job of rounding up this unusually hard to get information. She has listings for 49 of the music loops at the Disneyland Resort and if you click on the Main Street link there you can find the page for the Christmas version, which as I understand first played in the park in 1972.

She'd found an amazing amount of information, but her original listing was incomplete. We completed the list, showed you all the albums the songs came off of, and Kristen finally had a finished set of titles for her site.

 But NO they won't sell it to you.
This is how I would package it for sale at the park.

I finally located the last few hardest to find tracks, copied them onto my iPod and was able to compare them as I was sitting in the park's hub during the loop's playback. Everything checked out except for a few trimmed intros. Talk about reverse engineering!

Disneyland's Main Street Christmas Loop (1972)
No. Song Title Artist Label
1. The Christmas Tree David Rose Capitol
2. Twelve Days of Christmas David Rose Capitol
3. The First Noel A Music Box Christmas Columbia
4. Toyland David Rose Capitol
5. Do You Hear What I Hear? Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas Columbia
6. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas Columbia
7. Zu Bethlehem Geboren A Music Box Christmas Columbia
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas Columbia
9. The Christmas Song David Rose Capitol
10. Silver Bells Raymond Lefevre Kapp/4 Corners of the World
11. Jingle Bells Raymond Lefevre Kapp/4 Corners of the World
12 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing A Music Box Christmas Columbia
13. Caroling, Caroling Hollywood Pops Orchestra Capitol
14. Deck the Halls Felix Slatkin Liberty
15. O Tannenbaum A Music Box Christmas Columbia
16. Petit Papa Noel (Little Father Christmas) Raymond Lefevre Kapp/4 Corners of the World
17. Jingle Bell Rock Hollyridge Strings Capitol
18. Jingle Bells A Music Box Christmas Columbia
19. Christmas Waltz David Rose Capitol
20. The First Noel Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas Columbia
21. Carol of the Bells Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra Capitol
22. Ihr Kinderlein Kommet Felix Slatkin Liberty
23. Ihr Kinderlein Kommet A Music Box Christmas Columbia
24. White Christmas Lawrence Welk Dot
25. I'll Be Home for Christmas Lawrence Welk Dot
26. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lawrence Welk Dot
27. Still, Still, Holy Melody A Music Box Christmas Columbia
28. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Lawrence Welk Dot
29. Deck the Halls Lawrence Welk Dot
30. Lobe Den Herren A Music Box Christmas Columbia

First, here's the little that is available on CD: The Lawrence Welk version of "Rudolph" can be found on the "Christmas Memories" CD, his "Deck the Halls" and "Hark" tracks can be found on the "22 Merry Christmas Favorites" disc, both from Ranwood. All eight of the music box selections can be found on Rita Ford's Columbia CD "A Music Box Christmas" and the lounge version of "Jingle Bell Rock" can be found complete on a Collector's Choice CD. I've included links below to all them:

      

One previously very hard to locate track, "Caroling, Caroling" by the Hollywood Pops Orchestra, was finally available a few years ago as an 89-cent WMA download from Wal*Mart's online music store, but the store may no longer be available.

Now comes the hard part - finding all those other albums. (Younger folks may not remember we used to listen to music by dragging a needle over a spinning slab of vinyl. Some people, like Bette Midler, even made dapper hats out of them.)

One LP in particular was very difficult to get any information on, "Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas." This is the cover of Columbia Records number CS 9543.

He had kids???

John Gregory arranged and conducted it, and it was produced by Teo Macero. It isn't easy to find on ebay (only promo singles from this LP seem to pop up), but if you look hard enough out there online (really hard!) you can probably find it.

No. Song Title Artist
5. Do You Hear What I Hear? Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas
6. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas
20. The First Noel Ed Sullivan Presents Music of Christmas

While Lawrence Welk's "Rudolph," "Deck the Halls" and "Hark" tracks made it to CD, the other two songs from the original Dot catalog number DLP 25397 "Silent Night and 13 Other Best Loved Christmas Songs" can only be found on LP. (The album was later repackaged with the same title on the Ranwood label. Below is the original cover.)

Buy a lot of plush.

eBay does offer some listings for this. The Lawrence Welk Christmas Website has terrific pages on the available CDs and also has a very complete listing of all the different versions of the many Christmas songs that were recorded by Welk and his performers over the years and what albums they landed on.

No. Song Title Artist
24. White Christmas Lawrence Welk
25. I'll Be Home for Christmas Lawrence Welk
26. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lawrence Welk
28. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Lawrence Welk
29. Deck the Halls Lawrence Welk

Here's the listing for Raymond Lefevre from the SpaceAgePop.com website:

Raymond Lefevre gave Paul Mauriat a run for his money in the easy listening instrumentals biz, as the two kept pushing tunes into the Top 40 charts in the late 1960s. Mauriat grabbed the only #1 instrumental of the period with "Love is Blue," but Lefevre beat him out in several Eurovision song contests and had several other big hits with "La La La (He Gives Me Love)," "Soul Coaxing," "Puppet on a String," and "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Lefevre's easy listening version of Gilbert Becaud's "The Days the Rain Came" briefly hit the U.S. Top 40 list in 1958, but most of the time, Lefevre was focused on French audiences. He arranged and conducted nearly as many albums for the French label, Barclay, as Percy Faith did for Columbia/CBS in the U.S. Unlike Mauriat and Franck Pourcel, Lefevre stuck for the most part to standard easy listening orchestrations, and he was less likely to incorporate rock rhythms or rhythm sections.

Saucy Elf.

His 1968 "Merry Christmas" album was originally released on Kapp/4 Corners of the World catalog number FCS 4257 (the rather frisky cover above), and then reissued a few years later on Budda Records BDS-5099 with two songs removed. Of course one of the two songs removed on the Budda album was "Petit Papa Noel" (French singer Tino Rossi had the original vocal hit) which makes getting the Budda disc moot. Fortunately ebay's listings for this album let you see which is which for the most part.

There is an almost identical arrangement of "Petit Papa Noel" by Paul Mauriat, which generates a lot of email each year from readers who feel that is the correct track. To my ears (after comparing them both with the actual loop) the Lefevre track still seems to me to be the one used.

No. Song Title Artist
10. Silver Bells Raymond Lefevre
11. Jingle Bells Raymond Lefevre
16. Petit Papa Noel (Little Father Christmas) Raymond Lefevre

From Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia we learn about David Rose:

David Rose was a British-born American songwriter, composer, arranger, and orchestra leader known as "one of the most popular and distinctive mainstream instrumental pop composers" of the 20th century. He was famed for compositions such as "The Stripper," "Holiday for Strings," and "Calypso Melody," and he also wrote music for the television series "Little House on the Prairie" (of which he was musical director) and "Bonanza."

So '70s.

I can confirm the album shown above (from Capitol Records) has the correct songs on it. ebay does have listings for it occasionally. Do note there's also an earlier MGM LP listed sometimes, but it's a different recording entirely. Like the Ed Sullivan LP if you look hard enough out there online (really, really, hard!) you can probably find this title.

No. Song Title Artist
1. The Christmas Tree David Rose
2. Twelve Days of Christmas David Rose
9. The Christmas Song David Rose
19. Christmas Waltz David Rose

From the Felix Slatkin webpage:

FELIX SLATKIN was an arranger, conductor and violinist. He was active in Hollywood during the 40's, 50's and early 60's. During his career he won wide acclaim and respect for his innovative and inspired contributions to many recordings. In the 40's, Slatkin was the concertmaster of the 20th Century Fox studio orchestra. He later conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and also formed the Concert Arts Orchestra, recording with both ensembles. He was Frank Sinatra's concertmaster and conductor of choice during the Capitol years of the 50's. Also during the 50's, Slatkin produced and conducted two outstanding albums of military music on the Capitol label.

He later recorded several albums for Liberty leading the "Fantastic Strings" at the height of the "Stereo Action" period. Like many studio musicians, he was also virtuoso performer in his own right. He recorded as a classical violinist, and he and his wife, cellist Eleanor Aller -- also a studio regular for whom John Williams wrote a prominent part in the score of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"-- founded a legendary American classical group, the Hollywood String Quartet. Felix Slatkin and Eleanor Aller had two sons. Leonard Slatkin is Conductor Laureate of the St.Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra. Frederick Zlotkin (Fred uses the original Russian spelling of the family name) is Principal Cellist for the New York City Ballet and is the cellist for the Lyric Piano Quartet.

99 cent Store

The 1961 "Seasons Greetings" red album shown above (Liberty LMM-13013/LSS-14013) has an interesting history, detailed on the following webpage:

The graphics on the album cover show the song "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day." I have a copy of an abridged reissue of that album which references the original and has the same song listed on both the cover and the label. However, the actual song on the album is "O Come Little Children" or "Ihr Kinderlein Kommet". I'm curious as to whether the original issue of the album has the correct song or the mistake. If it has the mistake, it would be fascinating to know the history of how it was made. If the original is correct, then we know that more than twelve songs were recorded and only a partial release issued, making the album with the error a neat collector's item.

Incidentally, if you wanted to add the information to your site, the reissue that I have is from 1980, titled "Seasons Greetings, The Fantastic Strings of Felix Slatkin (not the "Holiday" Strings as on the Sunset reissue), contains ten cuts and carries the catalog number of LM-1070. (It eliminates "O Holy Night" and "Away in a Manger" which were listed on the original). The reissue is stereo even though it has the "LM" number which could be interpreted as "mono" for the "M".

eBay usually has both albums listed.

No. Song Title Artist
14. Deck the Halls Felix Slatkin
22. Ihr Kinderlein Kommet Felix Slatkin

Finally, the last track "Carol of the Bells" by the Hollywood Bowl Symphony is on "The Music of Christmas" album. It's available from ArkivMusic in a licensed CD-R release, or via an out-of-print CD on Amazon, link below.

No. Song Title Artist
21. Carol of the Bells Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra

One thing I learned from this project is that Google is only half the search - you gotta use eBay for the rest of it.

Oh-kay - that should do it for today. Remember your support is vital, your donations to PayPal help keep the bills paid. We're only here due to all of your kind efforts.

See you at Disneyland!

Al Lutz may be e-mailed at [email protected] - Please keep in mind he may not be able to respond to each note personally.

2004/2010 Al Lutz


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