Most people associate Blue Christmas with Elvis Presley, but the song had been around a decade before “the King” recorded it. Check out the story behind this rock-and-roll holiday classic…
Blue Christmas is a Christmas song written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson. The heart-broken tale of unrequited love during the holidays had long been considered a Christmas staple of country music, having been recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1948. Elvis Presley effectively made Blue Christmas a steadfast rock-and-roll holiday classic by recording it in his signature style in 1957.
The song has since been recorded by a host of rock and country artists, as well as those of other genres. Blue Christmas was a 1960 Hot 100 entry by the Browns (Jim Ed, Bonnie, and Maxine). The song was also featured in the children’s Christmas special, The Year Without a Santa Claus. The song has been covered by artists such as Céline Dion, The Beach Boys, Dean Martin, indie band Bright Eyes, and Billy Idol in his 2006 Christmas album Happy Holidays, and Andrea Bocelli for his 2009 holiday album My Christmas in a duet with Reba McEntire. There have been more than 65 significant recorded versions. It has won 4 awards for wonderful song lyrics, meaning and tune. Elvis Presley’s famous recording of the song appeared on his 1957 LP, Elvis’ Christmas Album. Presley’s version was also released as a single for the first time in 1964. Ernest Tubb’s version of the song included an extra verse not used by Elvis’ later version.