Elvis Presley

The History of Elvis Presley’s Iconic Song ‘Blue Christmas’

 Elvis Presley Blue Christmas known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” but his music has transcended genres and generations. In addition to his famous rock hits, he also recorded numerous holiday songs that have become cherished classics.

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

One of his most iconic Christmas songs is “Blue Christmas,” a melancholic tune that has become a staple during the holiday season. In this blog post, we will take a look at the history behind this beloved song and how it has left its mark on popular culture.

Elvis Presley’s Iconic Christmas Song

“Blue Christmas” was first released by Elvis Presley in 1957 as part of his Christmas album, “Elvis’ Christmas Album.” The song was written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson and was originally recorded by Doye O’Dell in 1948. However, it was Elvis’ rendition that made the song a timeless classic.

With its soothing melodies and haunting lyrics, “Blue Christmas” captures the feelings of loneliness and nostalgia that many individuals experience during the holiday season. It has become a favorite among both fans of Elvis and those who simply enjoy Christmas music. But what is the story behind this iconic song?

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

The Story Behind ‘Blue Christmas’

The inspiration for “Blue Christmas” came from a broken heart. Songwriter Billy Hayes wrote the lyrics after going through a difficult breakup. He turned to his friend and collaborator, Jay W. Johnson, to help him put the words to music. Together, they created a song that perfectly encapsulates the feelings of sadness and longing during the holidays.

When Elvis Presley heard the song, he immediately fell in love with it and requested to record his own version. His version was recorded in September 1957 and featured backing vocals by the legendary Jordanaires. The song was released just in time for Christmas and became an instant hit.

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A Look at Elvis Presley’s Holiday Hits

“Blue Christmas” was not the only holiday song that Elvis recorded. In fact, he released three full-length Christmas albums during his career: “Elvis’ Christmas Album” (1957), “Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas” (1971), and “Elvis Christmas Duets” (2008). These albums featured a mix of traditional Christmas songs and original compositions. Some of the most popular holiday songs by Elvis include “Santa Claus is Back in Town,” “Silent Night,” and “White Christmas.”

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

But it was “Blue Christmas” that stood out among all of his holiday hits. The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, but it is Elvis’ version that remains the most beloved and recognizable.

Why ‘Blue Christmas’ is a Classic

What makes “Blue Christmas” such a classic? One reason is undoubtedly Elvis Presley’s soulful and emotive voice. He had a way of connecting with his audience through his music, and this song was no exception. His distinctive voice combined with the poignant lyrics and captivating melody made for a perfect match.

Another reason for the song’s enduring appeal is its relatability. The feelings of sadness and longing that are portrayed in the song resonate with many people, especially during the holiday season. Whether they are going through a breakup or simply feeling lonely, “Blue Christmas” speaks to those emotions and provides comfort.

The Impact of Elvis Presley’s Christmas Music

Elvis Presley’s Christmas music has had a significant impact on the holiday music industry. With his unique blend of rock and roll and gospel, he brought a fresh take on traditional Christmas songs. He also introduced new original compositions that have become holiday staples, such as “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)” and “If Every Day Was Like Christmas.”

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

In addition to the impact on the music industry, Elvis’ Christmas songs also had a personal impact on his fans. Many people grew up listening to his holiday albums and continue to pass down the tradition to their own children. His music has become a part of many family’s Christmas celebrations, making it all the more special.

How ‘Blue Christmas’ Became a Fan Favorite

As mentioned earlier, “Blue Christmas” has been covered by numerous artists, but it is Elvis Presley’s version that remains the most beloved. The song has stood the test of time and continues to be played on radio stations and at holiday events every year.

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One reason for its enduring popularity is the fact that it is played during a specific time of year. This creates a sense of nostalgia and anticipation among listeners, making them look forward to hearing the song each holiday season.

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

Additionally, as mentioned before, Elvis Presley’s voice and interpretation of the song are what truly make it a fan favorite. He puts so much emotion into the lyrics that it is hard not to feel moved by the song. And with each passing generation, new fans discover and fall in love with “Blue Christmas,” ensuring its lasting impact.

Elvis Presley’s Unique Take on Christmas Songs

Elvis Presley’s Christmas music was unique in many ways. For one, he was able to blend different genres together to create a sound that was all his own. He seamlessly combined rock and roll, gospel, and pop to bring a fresh take on traditional holiday songs.

But it wasn’t just the music itself that was unique. Elvis’ performances of his Christmas songs were also unforgettable. His televised 1968 Comeback Special featured a memorable performance of “Blue Christmas” where he wore a red leather suit and interacted playfully with his backup singers. This performance has become iconic and is often referenced in popular culture.

The Legacy of ‘Blue Christmas’ in Pop Culture

Speaking of popular culture, “Blue Christmas” has left its mark in many forms over the years. In addition to being referenced in movies, TV shows, and commercials, the song has also been covered by countless artists.

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

One noteworthy cover is by country music legend Martina McBride, who recorded her version for her 1998 Christmas album “White Christmas.” Her powerful vocals add a new layer to the song while still staying true to the original.

Another memorable cover is by indie band Bright Eyes, whose version was featured in the hit movie “Elf.” The scene where Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) bursts into song while decorating the store window has become an iconic moment in the film, thanks in part to the use of “Blue Christmas.”

Behind the Scenes of Elvis Presley’s Recording of ‘Blue Christmas’

Elvis Presley’s recording sessions were always done with a live band, and “Blue Christmas” was no exception. The song was recorded at Radio Recorders Studio in Hollywood, California, with a group of seasoned musicians and backing vocals by the Jordanaires.

What sets this recording apart from others is Elvis’ own involvement in the production. He played the acoustic guitar on the track, something he rarely did on his other recordings. He also added in some ad-libs and improvised lyrics, making the song even more unique.

The History of Elvis Presley's Iconic Song 'Blue Christmas'

The Timeless Appeal of Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas

Despite being over 60 years old, “Blue Christmas” remains just as relevant and popular today as it was when it was first released. Its timeless appeal lies in its ability to evoke emotions and connect with listeners. It has become a holiday classic that will continue to be passed down through generations to come.

As we continue to celebrate the holiday season, let us remember the impact that Elvis Presley and his music have had in our lives. And if you find yourself feeling a little blue during this time of year, just remember that you are not alone, and there’s always a song like “Blue Christmas” to help you get through it.


Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ has stood the test of time and become an iconic holiday song that continues to be loved by many. Its heartfelt lyrics, combined with Elvis’ soulful voice, make for a perfect combination that resonates with listeners even after all these years. The story behind the song and its enduring impact on popular culture only add to its significance. As we continue to celebrate the holiday season, let us remember the legacy of this timeless classic and the man who brought it to life.

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