Looking back, I can't say I'm surprised that the Swedish Radio didn't buy my idea about a radio program dedicated to Elvis' Christmas music. After all, the script (and tape!) must have looked and sounded very amateurish to the poor bugger who opened my letter. But I still think he or she could've sent me a "no, thank you" note.
But fate can play some funny tricks, let me tell you. Nearly twenty years later I found myself working as a journalist at, yeah you guessed it, the Swedish Radio! And although my field was news reporting, I felt I had to act when one day there came a request from headquarters to come up with ideas for radio programs to be sent during the Christmas holidays.
Even though it was many years ago, I remembered my idea about an Elvis Christmas program, and came up with a synopsis that I sent to my bosses. A couple of days later I got the green light: yes I could do the programme, and yes, it was to be an one hour show broadcast on Christmas Eve at 19 PM. In other words, prime time!
I got lucky
I couldn't believe my luck and went to work writing a script that in all fairness must have been miles from the one I penned down in the early eighties. No big surprise why, I knew a lot more about Elvis now, and also a lot more about making radio.
This time around I wanted to tell the listeners not only what went on in the recording studio when Elvis cut the Christmas tracks or how the songs were received by fans and critics, but also how Elvis celebrated Christmas and certain episodes that took place during the Holidays.
I also decided to let Elvis talk about his Christmas 1956 (as featured on The Ed Sullivan Show) and getting drafted the Christmas after that (taken from a 1969 monologue from Las Vegas).
Mixed the way it should
I think the thing I was most satisfied with was how I ended the program. I first wanted to use the "Christmas Message From Elvis" followed by "Silent Night" (first issued on the Memories Of Christmas album in 1982).
But listening closely, it suddenly hit me that the intro playing under the Christmas message was the one from "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and not the one from "Silent Night". So what I did was mix it as it should be, ending with "I'll Be Home For Christmas" instead.
No live version available
The one thing that could've made the program even better was a live version of "Blue Christmas." Not a single one was available at the time, at least not officially.
So when I told the listeners about Elvis singing that particular song live during the 70's whether it was Christmas or not, I had to illustrate that with the '68 version of "Blue Christmas" instead. Now, as you all know, FTD has supplied us with quite a few live versions of Elvis' favourite Christmas song.
The track list
To wet your appetite, here is the track list for Merry Christmas Baby – Elvis Presleys julmusik (Elvis Presley's Christmas music):
Peace In The Valley (Ed Sullivan Show version)
Santa Bring My Baby Back
Santa Claus Is Back In Town
Santa Lucia (seen as a Christmas song in Sweden)
If Every Day Was Like Christmas
Santa Claus Is Back In Town ('68 version)
Mama Liked The Roses
O Come, All Ye Faithful (alternate version)
Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees
The Wonderful World Of Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (alternate version)
Blue Christmas ('68 version)
Christmas Message From Elvis/I'll Be Home For Christmas
I can still remember how happy and proud I felt on Christmas Eve that year when my program aired on nationwide radio (it was recorded a couple of days earlier). It was one of my greatest Elvis moments, and still is!