In our house, the period from November 1st to January 2nd is affectionately known as Vince Guaraldi Trio Season. Guaraldi’s iconic jazz score to A Charlie Brown Christmas celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, even as the Peanuts comic strip marks 70 years of existence. Craft Recordings is heralding these nice round numbers with a special one-time vinyl pressing of A Charlie Brown Christmas, available September 25th.
This first Charlie Brown soundtrack is already one of the best-selling jazz album in history, trailing only Miles Davis and Kind of Blue. It’s been released in multiple forms over the years, and the big draw of the new edition is the not-quite-3D lenticular album cover. Featuring a classic illustration by Charles Schulz, the artwork shows Charlie, Lucy, and Linnus holding hands. Just twist the LP to the side, and the Peanuts gang will seem to dance around the tree.
You’ll want to dance yourself if the bass notes of “Linus and Lucy” start rumbling from your speakers, and when a beloved classic like “Christmas Time Is Here” begins, you may find yourself straining to hit those high notes. So much of the joy of Charlie Brown is wrapped up in the music. Lee Mendelson agreed. The producer of the Peanuts TV specials died last year, but he deserves almost all of the credit for hiring Guaraldi. He famously said,
“There was no doubt in my mind that if we hadn’t had that Guaraldi score, we wouldn’t have had the franchise we later enjoyed.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas arrives on September 25th, and pre-orders are already dancing around the tree. This is the third 70th anniversary Peanuts release of the year, following on Peanuts Greatest Hits and Peanuts Portraits. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown received its first-ever vinyl release last fall.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Artwork: