The 25 Greatest Christmas Albums of All Time

From Bing Crosby to Bob Dylan, Motown to Death Row, we rank the best Yuletide listens ever

12

The Ventures, 'The Ventures' Christmas Album' (1965)

The Ventures Christmas Album
Courtesy Capitol Records

This should be a train wreck at the beach: Sixties surf-rock versions of Christmas songs inanely augmented with jingling bells and other thematic accouterments. But it's quite excellent. The Ventures infuse the predictable playlist with clever rock & roll flourishes – opening their hot version of "Rudolph Red-Nosed Reindeer" with an allusion to the Beatles' "I Feel Fine," giving "Frosty the Snowman" a shot of the Champs' "Tequila" and working their own "Walk Don't Run" into "Sleigh Bells." The stylistic invention and off-handed majesty never let up; their plaintively ringing "Silver Bells" is as pretty as a Velvet Underground benediction.

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