November 1. It’s the day after Halloween, but it’s also that dreaded day when radio stations around the U.S., specifically Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits ones, could make that call to flip their station to all-Christmas music. The horror! The holiday tunes are coming earlier than ever this year, so I guess it makes sense to highlight what’s happening before the mistletoe madness begins. Here are three singles I’m looking forward to hearing on the air as that great flip of formats marches on:
EMELI SANDÉ – “Winter Wonderland”
Label: Capitol Records / Adds Date: n/a
Here’s a gal who is having a great 2013 in America, responsible for three top 40 singles across the various airplay charts – two on her own, “My Kind Of Love” and “Next To Me”, along with the Labrinth duet “Beneath Your Beautiful”. Originally featured on an EMI sampler from last year, Sandé’s take on the nearly 70-year-old song sees a reissue this year as a part of the soundtrack to the upcoming film The Best Man Holiday, which opens on November 15. It was recorded as part of the 1 Mic, 1 Take series along with other acts like Graffiti6 and Tristan Prettyman. Understated but powerful, she’s at her best on this with that dramatic, soul-drenched voice of hers. It definitely has the potential to become the biggest Urban hit of the season.
KELLY CLARKSON – “Underneath The Tree”
Label: RCA Records / Adds Date: November 4 (AC)
Over the years, the former American Idol winner has issued renditions of Christmas classics on several compilations, including “My Grown Up Christmas List” and “O Holy Night”; now comes the ultimate test. Clarkson’s first full-length album of both original songs and remakes, Wrapped In Red, is the most anticipated holiday-themed release of the season; it hits stores tomorrow, October 29. Her first single from the effort is a masterpiece, channeling Darlene Love and Phil Spector‘s Wall Of Sound era in a perfect pop record. Produced and co-written by Greg Kurstin, the future multi-format smash is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. By the end of this holiday season, you may be asking, “Uh, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” who?”
MATTHEW MORRISON – “This Christmas”
Label: 222 Records / Adds Date: October 28 (AC)
You know him best from the television show Glee as the lovable Will Schuester, but earlier this year, Morrison released his first album with the newly formed 222 Records (from Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine), a standards album entitled Where It All Began. It did not chart. This latest single from the actor and singer comes from a forthcoming six song EP, A Classic Christmas, which looks to be a digital-only release available on November 19. Morrison’s version is a pretty faithful take on the Donny Hathaway release of four decades ago, with a lush brass section and a fantastic saxophonist paired with his vocal. Look for this one to garner a bit on Adult Contemporary play like his original 2011 single, “Summer Rain”. (No stream is up at this time.)
For even more early Christmas singles, check out all these tracks delivered to radio in the past few weeks along with their intended formats for play or are being prepped for release overseas:
CHARLIE WILSON – “I Still Have You” (Urban AC)
COURTNEY RAU – “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (AC)
HEART – “All Through The Night” and “Please Come Home For Christmas” (AC / Classic Rock)
OWL CITY featuring TOBYMAC – “Light Of Christmas” (Christian AC / Christian CHR)
ERASURE – “Gaudete” (Europe – December 16)
LEONA LEWIS – “One More Sleep” (Europe – December 2)
RICHARD & ADAM – “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In (On Christmas Day)” (Europe – December 16)
THE BIG REUNION – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” (Europe – December 16)
Also watch out for singles from Christmas albums and EPs by Ariana Grande, Mary J. Blige, Susan Boyle, Tamar Braxton, Trace Adkins and more coming soon.
For more ho, ho, hot tracks from the snowy side of pop music, keep it locked on PGTC by clicking the “Get Social!” tab above or the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page.