Of all the things I've learned about Christmas music, the one major constant is this: people never forget the Christmas music they listened to as a child.
In many cases, people will search for those old Firestone albums to bring back memories from Christmases gone by. Some look for that specific kiddie Christmas album put out by Peter Pan Records to share with their own brothers & sisters as a Christmas memory jogging gift.
Some people pay top dollar for these memories. Our case in point: the album you see before you.
Paul & Paula were in fact Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, two college students in Texas when they recorded "Hey Paula" as a way to help the American Cancer Society raise funds. Someone at Mercury Records was listening and signed them to a recording deal in 1963.
Their song went to number #1 on the Billboard charts, placed in the top ten on the R&B charts, and caused a wave of male/female pairings at other record companies (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell at Motown, Jerry Butler & Betty Everett at VeeJay, etc.). Some people think the term "one-hit wonder" began with this duo...
They released this album for the holidays in 1963 and it's chock full of good wholesome safe teen pop. I almost went into sugar shock when I first heard it. After a while, all the tracks start sounding the same and it doesn't do a thing for me.
People consistently have paid top dollar for this album on eBay, one auction ending at $120! I can only assume that the winner of the auction had this album as a kid and wanted another crack at the Christmas memories they have locked away. I'm glad I didn't pay that much for this album - I downloaded it over at FaLaLaLaLa.com thanks to MisterMiller who posted it. Thanks MisterMiller!
Epilogue - Paul & Paula recorded two albums in 1964 and were virtually ignored thanks to The Beatles and the British Invasion. They slogged on and in the middle of a 1965 Dick Clark road show tour, Paul quit and headed back to college as Ray. Dick Clark stepped in and sang with Paula for the rest of the tour ("Heyyy Heyyy Paula ... Heyy Heyy Dick!")... oh to hear that audio!
On to the next new Christmas album in my collection...