First-ever Christmas album debuts in Billboard Top 10
More than 50 years after his passing, the legendary Louis Armstrong is back on the charts with the release of his first-ever Christmas album, Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule via Verve/UMe. The collection debuted in the Top 10 across multiple Billboard charts, dated November 26th, including Top Holiday Albums where it bowed at No. 9 and launches in the top 10 on Jazz Albums at No. 4, Traditional Jazz Albums at No. 4, Top Album Sales at No. 7, Top Current Album Sales at No. 6 and Vinyl Albums at No. 7. It debuted at No. 122 on the Billboard 200, becoming Armstrong’s highest charting album since Hello Dolly spent six weeks at No. 1 in 1964.
“Louis Armstrong’s first album of holiday-associated songs is an auspicious aural example of why he was a man for all seasons, singing and playing his Promethean trumpet in the cause of happiness,” states Wynton Marsalis, president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation (LAEF). “Whether you’re seven or 70, these evergreen selections featuring the great composer/arranger Benny Carter, and the incomparable vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Velma Middleton are illuminated by Pops’ down-home vocals. His reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ with my New Orleans homeboy, Sullivan Fortner on piano, is a swinging Crescent City Christmas card. If anybody can bring joy to the world, Louis Armstrong can!”
“Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation is thrilled to see this iconic music from our favorite artist earn a spot on today’s music charts, and we are thankful that Verve chose to share this compilation around the world,” shares Jackie Harris, LAEF executive director. “When the Foundation transferred the Armstrong archives to Queens College in 1971, we wanted to put his vast collection of music, papers and memories in a place where they could be easily accessed and presented for the world to enjoy. Just seeing how this holiday record is being embraced is proof positive that LAEF’s archival placement is something to celebrate.”
“It’s been an amazing honor to work with our colleagues at UMe and the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation team to get Mr. Armstrong’s first holiday album out to the world,” comments Jamie Krents, President, Verve, Impulse and Verve Forecast Records. “Seeing him back on the Top 200 albums chart after almost fifty years is an absolute thrill for all of us at Verve.”
“Louis Armstrong’s timeless holiday tunes are among the best of the season and we’re thrilled to bring them all together for his first-ever Christmas album,” adds UME President & CEO Bruce Resnikoff. “It’s an incredible achievement that more than 50 years after his passing, Louis Armstrong is back on the charts. It’s a testament to his remarkable talent and a wonderful early holiday gift for everyone.”
Now available to stream in both standard audio and immersive Dolby Atmos audio or purchase on CD, red vinyl and limited edition picture disc, the 11-track album boasts Satchmo’s six Decca Christmas singles from the ‘50s, including “Cool Yule,” “Christmas Night in Harlem,” and the swinging “‘Zat You Santa Claus?” and also features duets with two of Pops’ favorite vocal partners, Velma Middleton (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”) and Ella Fitzgerald (“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”). Rounding out the record is the artist’s signature hit, “What a Wonderful World,” which has become something of a yearlong hymn of hope and celebrates its 65th anniversary this year.
“A Visit From St. Nicholas” has been vividly brought to life with a beautiful animated video to usher in the holiday season. Produced and directed by Tom Readdy and Lucy Dawkins at the award-winning creative house Yes Please Productions, the video was animated in a vintage storybook style by animators Sam Shaw, Jac Clinch and Chris Bowles.