Harry Connick, Jr.
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Christmas Music Playlists with Harry Connick, Jr. Songs
When Your Heart Finds Christmas Harry Will Waiting On A Nearby Stereo
Factfile - Harry Connick, Jr.
- Connick Jr contributed This Christmas to the 1990 Holiday compilation A Jazzy Wonderland.
- His first Christmas album came in 1993: When My Heart Finds Christmas. It was the best selling Holiday album in the US that year and went on to be awarded triple Platinum certification and is the 11th best selling Holiday album of the SoundScan era (since 1991).
- In 2002 he dueted with Lee Ann Womack on Baby It's Cold Outside for her album The Season for Romance.
- In 2003 he released his second festive album, Harry for the Holidays. It was the best selling Christmas album of the year and has since been certified Platinum.
- His third Christmas album, What a Night! was released in 2008 and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Holiday Album chart.
- Connick Jr. is the narrator in The Happy Elf (2005). As well as singing on the title song of the soundtrack he wrote the musical score.
- His favourite Christmas song is Sleigh Ride.
Although the music industry does not appear to be creating crooners to the same extent as it once did there are still several of note who appear to have Christmas in their hearts. Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. certainly fit the bit with the latter’s debut Christmas album ‘When My Heart Finds Christmas’ also ranking as his bestselling album. And that is nothing to scoff at given that Connick has sold in excess of 25 million records over his career. A casual look though the singer’s back catalogue will show that he has peppered his releases with festive recordings. The first of these arrived as far back as 1989 on the soundtrack to the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ in which he and his trio performed all the tracks including a wonderful rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’. The following year he contributed a cover of Donny Hathaway’s ‘This Christmas’ for a compilation called ‘A Jazzy Christmas’ which would later resurface on his second Christmas LP ‘Harry For The Holidays’.
Harry’s first full length Christmas album was released in 1993 and over a bumper 14 tracks ‘When My Heart Finds Christmas’ displayed a deep insight into how a festive release should sound. That was obvious from the off with the jazz leaning ‘Sleigh Ride’ offering a jaunty opening to an album full of big swinging numbers. As well as the tried and tested songs Connick contributed 4 original numbers with the knockabout classic ‘(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus’ proving to be a priceless addition to the Christmas canon. On the covers front Harry acquitted himself with distinction where his strong vocals were matched by a 70-piece orchestra. Elsewhere when the singer switched to religious matters he was joined by a 40-strong choir and the singer’s own distinctive piano playing. ‘Ave Marie’ and ‘O Holy Night’ are both impressive, rich in detail and among the finest renditions of these songs in the last couple of decades. Connick recorded a TV special in the States to promote ‘When My Heart Finds Christmas’ with a guest appearance from soul singer Aaron Neville. ‘The Harry Connick Jr. Christmas Special’ was released on VHS in time for Christmas 1994.
Apart from a 2002 duet with Lee Ann Womack on ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, for her ‘The Season For Romance’ album, it would be a full decade before Harry Connick Jr’s Christmas album number two would come along. ‘Harry For The Holidays’ would be another huge seller and is regarded by many as the crooner’s best album. Again the singer did not hold back on production with a 16-piece big band present throughout each of the generous 16 tracks. There were originals aplenty (written by the host), radical reworks of old favourites like ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and a duet with George Jones that moved beyond Christmas and onto the New Year on ‘Nothin’ For The New Year’. Such was Connick’s mood at the time that much of the renditions were given an overflowing sense of swing so ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ sounds like something that might have been turned out by a Brazilian samba band with moving parts aplenty. With all the glorious bluster around there was still time for quieter moments in which Harry also excelled. ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ might have been adorned by some odd brass interludes but it still sounded imperious. One of Harry’s originals ‘The Happy Elf’ was so successful that it inspired an animated movie of the same name in 2005. Connick was brought in to narrate the piece and also wrote the score which included the title song and 2 shorter ditties called ‘Smile On Christmas Day’ and ‘Bluesville’.
In 2008 ‘What a Night! A Christmas Album’ would become Connick’s third Christmas album and like its predecessors it was big, bold and successfully balanced new material with knowing harks back to Christmas past. This time he turned it into a family affair with his daughter Kate joining him on ‘Winter Wonderland’. Elsewhere ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year’ was given a swish swing sound which meant that there were long musical detours to add to the sense of occasion. And Connick’s biggest gift to Christmas is surely the way he can take the old chestnuts and turn them into something wildly different like when ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ takes on the feel of a jazz workout suited to a crowded smoke filled room. Of the originals ‘Santariffic’ is a standout with joyous brass parts and Lucien Barbarin superbly playing the role of a cocky Santa Claus. Harry celebrated the release of his 3rd Christmas album by performing at the famous turning on of the Christmas lights ceremony at the Rockefeller Centre in late 2008.
A 2013 movie called ‘When Angels Sing’, with Harry Connick Jr. in the lead role, is the story of a modern day Grinch that has his eyes open up just in time for the season of good will. It was previewed at SXSW in March 2013 with a limited theatre release in the run up to Christmas 2013. Although Connick’s was a non-singing part the soundtrack was awash with great Christmas pieces from a variety of stars who turned up in the movie including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Lyle Lovett.
I have always sang the songs that moved me the most... Not unlike a Shakespearean actor that goes back to the greatest words ever written, we go back to the greatest songs.
Harry Connick, Jr
Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas Album & Single Covers