4. 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' (1965)
It's pretty ironic that cool, laid-back West Coast jazz – music designed to advertise the easygoing luxuriance of California living – should come to be most commonly associated with poor lil' existentially bumfuzzled Charlie Brown standing around in the falling snow, complaining to Linus about how Christmas gets him down. On songs like "Skating" and "Christmas Is Coming," the Vince Guaraldi Trio nails a perfect balance of buoyant anticipation and wintry introspection. It's become some of the most visually evocative American music. Said Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, "The way they walk and bounce a little bit – he captured that in his music."