The first festive album by Eric Clapton, Happy Xmas, is off to a strong start on the US charts, before we’re even out of October. The album debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s seasonal Holiday Albums chart, which is published weekly from mid-October to early January each year. It first appeared in the magazine in 1963. Billboard reports that it had first-week sales of 6,000 units, nearly all of which were from album sales.
As reported by UDiscover Music, the album combines Clapton’s versions of familiar festive staples such as ‘Away In A Manger (Once In Royal David’s City)’ and ‘Silent Night’ with lesser-known seasonal tunes and the new track ‘For Love On Christmas Day.’ Co-produced with regular collaborator Simon Climie, the set was released on 12 October and also contains a version of ‘Jingle Bells’ dedicated to the memory of the Swedish DJ-artist Avicii, who died in April 2018. The album features other Clapton associates such as guitarist Doyle Bramhall II and seasoned drummer Jim Keltner.
On the festive listing, it deposes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas at No. 1, as the Monkees’ new Christmas Party album arrives at No. 3. Michael McDonald also a new title on the chart at No. 4 with Season Of Peace: The Christmas Collection. Happy Xmas also debuts at No. 168 on the regular Billboard 200 album chart.
The holiday release extends Clapton’s span on the Billboard album charts in his own name to 48 years, since his self-titled debut album debuted in 1970. In all of his artistic incarnations, that run is 53 years, since the Yardbirds’ For Your Love made the American bestsellers in July 1965.
Clapton announced last week that he will play three shows at his beloved live location, London’s Royal Albert Hall, on 13, 15 and 16 May next year. The concerts are set to be his only UK concerts of 2019.
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