What I Really Want For Christmas

A new Brian Wilson record is always cause for celebration, even if it turns out to be an album of Christmas music, his third such venture in 40 years. What I Really Want for Christmas features Wilson and the crack band he employed on SMiLE putting their spin on 10 traditional favorites, plus new versions of the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" and "The Man With All the Toys" and two originals cowritten with Bernie Taupin and Jimmy Webb. It's still a joy to hear Wilson singing the songs he's loved since childhood. If this is your kind of music, this is your kind of album.
– Billboard

What I Really Want For Christmas
2005  |  Arista Records

1. The Man with All the Toys
2. What I Really Want for Christmas
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
4. O Holy Night
5. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
6. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
8. The First Noel
9. Christmasy
10. Little Saint Nick
11. Deck the Halls
12. Auld Lang Syne
13. On Christmas Day
14. Joy to the World
15. Silent Night


Watch Brian in the studio produce his 2000 Holiday Song "On Christmas Day" with his band

Brian and his children in the studio having fun and singing "Silent Night" in this 2011 video

Brian has recorded a number of Holiday classics exclusively for his website over the years. Following is a collection of these songs, preceded by a Holiday Podcast hosted by Brian himself as he discusses each of the songs, along with track samples.


Click comic strip to view larger


The format for single-artist Christmas albums has remained static nearly since the dawn of the LP: a popular artist reprises his sound of the moment in a Christmas setting, sometimes mixing sacred material with secular, but always generating a time capsule that rarely holds up to repeated listenings. The Beach Boys recorded one of the best rock Christmas records of all time, and contributed an even rarer thing than a good holiday album – a new composition to add to the canon in "Little Saint Nick." Brian Wilson's first solo Christmas album (although he did attempt a second Beach Boys edition in the mid-'70s) was recorded with the same group that made his 2004 SMiLE LP, and it shows the influence of that record. The two new songs are intriguing because each pairs Wilson with a great rock lyricist.

The first, "What I Really Want for Christmas," finds Bernie Taupin thrusting some fine sentiments into a very SMiLE-like melody. The other is the odd title "Christmasey," written with Jimmy Webb, a bright song with a kinetic power that makes it the highlight of the record. Surprisingly, Wilson doesn't shy away from the sacred material – in fact, nearly half of the songs are hymns – and sings multiple verses of "Hark the Herald Angels" and "O Holy Night" like he's reading straight from the hymnbook (except for the excellent new vocal arrangement he writes for the beginning and outro of the former). Wilson's arrangements and treatments are very good; the long instrument list and sound will be familiar to Beach Boys fans who have long since memorized the credits on Pet Sounds and SMiLE.

 All Music