America Domani looks back at the icon’s holiday classics.
Few artists have had a career quite like Tony Bennett. Since 1952, Bennett has released over 70 albums, his last being 2021’s Love For Sale with Lady Gaga. For 70 years, Bennett dazzled listeners with his pristine voice, recording everything from show tunes to pop standards, big band music, and jazz. Naturally, Bennett also released his fair share of Christmas music.
For generations of Italian Americans, Bennet has long provided the soundtrack to the Christmas season. In 1968, he released his very first Christmas album, Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album. Always one for collaboration, he released Christmas with Tony Bennett and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2002 and A Swingin’ Christmas (Featuring the Count Basie Big Band) in 2008. Each record ultimately joined the ranks of the best holiday albums ever made.
While all of Bennett’s Christmas tunes are worth a listen this season, America Domani is looking back at the singer’s five greatest Christmas tracks.
You can listen to our collection of Tony Bennett Christmas Songs on Spotify
“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
“Santa Claus is Coming To Town” has been recorded by countless artists. However, no one is quite able to capture the joy and celebration inherent in the song quite like Bennett. The track – as with the rest of the Snowfall album – was impeccably arranged and conducted by the great Robert Farnon.
“Christmas Time Is Here”
Originally written and performed by fellow Italian American Vince Guaraldi for A Charlie Brown Christmas, “Christmas Time Is Here” is one of the most emotionally complex Christmas songs out there. While the lyrics describe happiness, cheer, and snowflakes in the air, the score has always had a melancholic feel, suggesting that this joy is really quite fragile. Bennett and the Count Basie Big Band perfectly get at the lonesome, longing heart of the song in their 2008 recording of the track.
"My Favorite Things”
Sure, “My Favorite Things” is not actually a Christmas song, but that never stopped Bennett from recording it for two of his holiday albums: first for Snowfall and then with the Count Basie Big Band. Both versions are utterly delightful.
Here at America Domani, we’re of Bennett’s belief that the track fits right at home with all other Christmas listening.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
On “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” it is a swingin’ Christmas indeed. The Count Basie Big Band soars on the up-tempo jazz number, and Bennett’s voice is playful and full of hope. It’s a refreshing interpretation of the often-melancholic Christmas song. If anyone’s going to make it home for Christmas, it’s Bennett.
“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” (with Antonia Bennett)
This classic track was composed in 1937 by Irving Berlin and debuted in the musical On the Avenue. While it’s not technically a Christmas song – there is no mention of the holiday in the lyrics – it captures much of the beauty that surrounds the season. For A Swingin’ Christmas, Bennett recorded the track with his jazz singer daughter Antonia. Their warm voices complement each other and evoke the coziness of Christmas.
Listen to this and other America Domani Christmas playlists on Spotify!
Natalli Marie Amato
Natalli Amato is a music and lifestyle journalist from Sackets Harbor, New York. Her bylines include Rolling Stone, Vice, and The Boot. She is also the author of several collections of poetry.