Rock and Roll Christmas
As we get near the end of this first era of rock and roll that we cover, we have groups like The Beach Boys. They take the vocal harmonies of doo wop and the beat of rock and roll to a new place, where there are sand, surf, cars, and girls. And, oh yes, don’t forget Santa Claus. It’s one of the great Christmas music golden oldies.
The song “Little Saint Nick” was written by group members Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Santa’s sleigh could be kind of like a hot rod. Why not? The line ”Run run reindeer” was a reference, perhaps, to Chuck Berry’s song “Run Rudolph Run.” Anyway, the song was first released as a single on December 9, 1963, and peaked at No. 3 on Billboard Magazine’s special seasonal weekly Christmas Singles chart. That Christmas the nation mourned and focused on the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy. However, the single went into the Top Ten of six major markets and in the Top Twenty of several other cities. Eventually, over the years and with the song’s inclusion on the classic 1964 The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, “Little Saint Nick” became a million-seller — and a Christmas standard. The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album was in some ways a response to Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift to You from Phillies Records. Of course, they did it with their own flare. The first side contained original songs, including “Little Saint Nick,” and the B-Side had traditional songs. The group had formed in 1961 with brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. This is rock and roll at its finest.