This holiday season, UMe has once again teamed up with legendary artists and estates to create official animated videos for some of the most beloved holiday songs in the Christmas canon from the likes of Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, The Jackson 5, Jimmy Durante, Marvin Gaye, and Nat King Cole.
Most of the animated videos were produced by Fantoons Animation Studios, with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Sleigh Ride” created by the team at Pixel Park; The Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” animated by Troy Browne and Chaz Bottoms, with puppets created by Adam Kreutinger and operated by puppeteers Alex Griffin and Jayden Libran; and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” directed by Tim Fox and animated by Daniel Crossan. The videos span a variety of styles and themes and feature animators from all over the world putting their unique spin on the holidays.
In addition to the animated videos, several engaging lyric videos have been created for The Beach Boys’ “The Man With All The Toys,” Bing Crosby’s “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” Dean Martin’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and Nat King Cole’s “The Happiest Christmas Tree,” which are perfect for holiday gathering sing-alongs.
“UMe has created a series of videos for many of UMG’s most cherished and enduring holiday hits as we partner with our artists once again to continue this tradition,” says Bruce Resnikoff, President and CEO of UMe, the global catalog company of UMG. “This year’s videos were created by directors and artists from around the world and embody the holiday spirit as these timeless songs have been reinterpreted in creative new ways.”
In the video for Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” viewers are taken on a Christmas voyage through the perspective of several generations of hopeful, hardworking family members, from the turn of the century to 1970s NYC to modern day, as they attempt to make it home for the holidays, while Bing serenades throughout the decades. In “The Little Drummer Boy,” a similar theme is told as a boy, away from his family, makes a meager living cleaning up backstage nightly.
On a particularly depressing evening, as Christmas is fast approaching and the distance from his family becomes all the more somber, the boy transforms some rusty buckets and pails into a drum kit and the theatre, strewn with Crosby references, and its inanimate inhabitants come to life as he offers his sole and modest gift of drumming. In Burl Ives’ “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” a new chapter is added to one of the most famous Christmas tales of all as Rudolph Jr. saves Christmas after the blinking Neurological Observational Sensor Equipment (N.O.S.E.) malfunctions, forcing Rudolph to spring into action just like his famous father.
Dean Martin is recruited by Santa and Mrs. Claus to handle Christmas duties while they sneak off for a tropical vacation in the hilarious video for “I’ve Got My Love To Keep You Warm,” which features Dean brought to life through an ingenious mix of photo collages and ‘60s-era animation. Meanwhile, in the video for The Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming Town,” a delightful hybrid of puppetry and animation, Santa more than embraces his duties and saves the world by gleefully delivering presents and the Christmas spirit around the globe to magically transform people and the areas that need his help the most. Ella Fitzgerald’s “Sleigh Ride” takes viewers on a striking visual adventure around the globe with many “Easter Eggs” to be found along the way from throughout Ella’s career.
Written and co-directed by David Calcano of Fantoons, the video for Frank Sinatra’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” beautifully tells Calcano’s personal story, which is really the universal story about missing home and family during the holidays after leaving one’s country in search of a better life, in his case leaving Venezuela for the U.S. The video, which states in the credits is “Dedicated To Those Who Had To Leave Their Home… Looking For A Better Life,” has gone viral in Latin America and has struck a chord with people around the world who have been sharing their own stories in the thousands of YouTube comments.
Jimmy Durante tells a different kind of story in the video for “Frosty the Snowman” which features a larger than life Frosty in this modern, whimsical take on the classic tale. The video for Marvin Gaye’s poignant “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” takes on a more solemn and serious tone as Gaye, depicted as a cab driver during the holidays, drives around the city and helps veterans, as the light on his taxi reads, get “home for Christmas.” Written and recorded in 1972 about supporting America’s prisoners of war and told from a soldier’s perspective, the song was released posthumously in 2019 on the Motown/UMe album, You’re the Man. The video premiered on Veteran’s Day in partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
To celebrate the unifying spirit of Christmas, Nat King Cole’s “O Come All Ye Faithful” has brought together 20 different visual styles from artists all over the world to tell “The Greatest Story Ever Told” with their distinctive interpretations. The story of the birth of Christ has been uniquely illustrated by 27 artists from 15 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela.
For those looking for more holiday entertainment, The Ed Sullivan Show’s Official YouTube Channel will be adding classic performances to The Ed Sullivan Show holiday playlist from its archives of seasonal favorites all month long, including “The Christmas Song” by Dolores Gray, “Baby’s First Christmas” by Connie Francis, “Jingle Bells” by Shari Lewis and her adorable sidekicks, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse; cherished standards “Ave Maria” by Joselito, a medley by Sandler & Young singing “Do You Hear What I Hear? / Silent Night / O Holy Night,” the Mexican Boystown Choir with “Auld Lang Syne;” and a holiday-themed medley from Bobby Sherman.
These videos are just some of the many ways that UMe is celebrating its unmatched Christmas catalog and helping to turn up the joy this holiday season. A variety of new thematic digital collections are available to stream now on your favorite streaming service and include the “Christmas For Kids” series, which features classic Christmas songs specially curated for children of all ages from the likes of Bing Crosby, Burl Ives and Peggy Lee; “Christmas Carols” from Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, and 98°; a pair of George Straight “Strait To Christmas” collections, “Classics” and “Holiday Jams;” and a variety of other sets from Dean Martin (“White Christmas,” “Let It Snow”), Nat King Cole (“Joy To The World”), and 98° (“Festive Christmas”).