This is the first of three Christmas singles that I had time to transfer, digitally restore, scan, zip, and upload (sounds cruel when it's put that way, huh?).
I found this on eBay and thought "gee, what a find!" A rare single, a picture sleeve, luscious red vinyl, and in MINT condition!
I reached for my Goldmine Christmas Record Price Guide after I had won the auction. What I found was only mildly disheartening.
This was originally released by the Manhattans in 1966 (on the Carnival label - Carnival 524). The copy I had won (and what you see before you) is a reissued version on the Star Fire label from 1979.
Some quick research tells us that The Manhattans were formed in 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey. After graduating from high school and serving in the military, the five members won a recording contract with Carnival Records two years later.
Between 1965 and 1968, they recorded for Carnival and had five Top 25 singles on the R&B charts. During the midst of this run, they released this great Christmas single.
Side A is "It's That Time Of Year", a slow, soulful single that will make you want to slow dance by the Christmas tree lights.
Side B is "Alone On New Year's Eve", a mournful tale about the woes of having no one at midnight on December 31st. The Manhattans' doo-wop style is in full effect with great lead vocals by George Smith.
Their chart success caught the eye of the legendary King Records and signed them to their Deluxe Records subsidiary for several years. Then George Smith tragically fell down a flight of stairs and was replaced by Gerald Alston. This changed the course of the group.
In 1973, they signed with Columbia Records and continued their R&B chart success - 26 singles charted during the Columbia years from 1973 to 1989. Their biggest two hits were 1976's "Kiss And Say Goodbye" (the SECOND single ever to go platinum) and 1980's "Shining Star":
After their contract with Columbia expired, the group began to go their separate ways. A new lineup of the Manhattans is still active and recording CDs. Several of the original members have reformed and even appeared on those PBS doo-wop special they show on pledge drives!
You take Manhattan:
The Manhattans - Christmas 45 - SINGLE