Two of the hard and fast rules of the music business holiday season are that you know you’ve made it is when you’re asked to record a Christmas album; and that most festive songs are recorded at the height of summer, or certainly not when there’s any snow or tinsel in sight.
Motown was never backward in getting the label’s big stars into the studio to make a Yuletide disc, and the Miracles had that honour bestowed on them for the first time when Christmas With The Miracles was released in 1963. Featuring their versions of such chestnuts (roasting on an open fire) as ‘Winter Wonderland,’ ‘Let It Snow’ and ‘White Christmas,’ it made Billboard’s special Christmas charts several times through the 1960s.
By 1970, it was time for another seasonal offering from Smokey Robinson and the group, and on 23 November that year, The Season For Miracles was new in record stores. This was less two months after the group, by now featuring Smokey’s name above the title, had released their latest studio LP, A Pocketful Of Miracles. In a relentless schedule of productivity that, in turn, was just five months after the group’s preceding concept album of love songs, the April release What Love Has…Joined Together.
This time, the group set about such favourites as ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You),’ this last with old friends the Temptations. There were also some newer selections, including two holiday offerings written by Stevie Wonder, ‘I Can Tell When Christmas Is Near’ and ‘It’s Christmas Time.’ The album spent the 1970 Christmas season on the dedicated Yuletide chart, reaching No. 13.
Get in the festive mood by following the Christmas With Motown playlist.