“The Percy Faith Music of Christmas orchestral arrangements are very lush, featuring strings, harps, bells, plenty of reverb, and those smooth-as-silk 1950s studio singers.”
To all who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas to you! This iconic Hulings album cover is a snapshot of mid-century Christmas, reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell kind of wholesomeness. Interestingly for someone so well-known for his all-American Christmas music, Percy Faith was originally from Toronto and was Jewish. Who knew?
The Percy Faith Music of Christmas orchestral arrangements are very lush, featuring strings, harps, bells, plenty of reverb, and those smooth-as-silk 1950s studio singers. Much of his music might now fall into the “easy listening” category, but at the time, he and arrangers like him were exploring mellow, new territory. As a violinist who became a conductor after his hands were badly burned, Faith entered the world of arranging music for broadcast radio as it was coming up in the early 1930s. He moved down to Chicago in 1940 when he started working for CBS and then NBC, and went on to write arrangements for singers including Tony Bennett and Doris Day, and won two Grammys.
The 1954 Hulings cover for the album really is the classic one, and it’s prominently signed with a pink-red “Hulings” near the bottom right of the frame. Percy Faith is dressed as Santa, but with the costume beard pulled off under his chin, showing that he may now be back to the role of Dad for the little girl who’s just fallen asleep in holiday bliss with her new doll. Hulings has thrown a curve ball in putting the girl in pink pyjamas and her doll in teal patchwork as a way of contrasting the traditional red and green.
Wishing You Joy
If you’d like a taste of the album, you can grab some egg nog and a present to open and listen to “Joy to the World” here.