Sunday, December 23, 2012

On the turntable this Sunday...Christmas Portrait

Christmas Portrait is the first Christmas album recorded by The Carpenters (and the only one issued during Karen Carpenter's lifetime), originally released on October 13, 1978 (A&M 4726).

The album sold one million copies and included a revised version of the group's signature Christmas song, "Merry Christmas Darling". It also includes one of two versions of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town". (A slower version, recorded in 1974, as well as other unused songs recorded during this album's sessions, were issued on the Carpenters' later Christmas album, An Old-Fashioned Christmas.)

The CD version of Christmas Portrait, issued in 1984, is a compendium of selected tracks from the Carpenters' two Christmas albums into one 74-minute program, with tracks from each interspersed in the running order; "Ave Maria" was remixed at this time in order to include a choral track that went missing in 1978 and was later found.. (A CD of the original LP content was briefly issued exclusively in West Germany around the same time.) In 1996 (1998 in the US), a two-CD set titled Christmas Collection was issued internationally, containing Christmas Portrait and An Old-Fashioned Christmas together in their original respective tracklists. Richard Carpenter remixed most of the album tracks for Christmas Portrait due to deteriorated masters.

In December 2011, the album re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart at No. 150 and eventually achieved a new chart peak position of No. 126.

In December 2012, the album again re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart and attained a new chart peak position of No. 117.

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