2. "Blue Christmas," Elvis PresleyRCA 447-0720 b/w "Wooden Heart"
Highest chart position: #1 US (1964)
Recorded September 5, 1957, Hollywood, CA
Although many assume it was written for Elvis, like most of his hits were, "Blue Christmas" actually dates all the way back to 1949, when Russ Morgan, Hugo Winterhalter, and Ernest Tubb all had hits with it. (The next year, Billy Eckstein scored with it as well.) And while it was included as a track on 1957's Elvis Christmas Album, it inexplicably never saw the light of day as a single until seven years later -- promo copies were issued only to DJs in '57, and only as a way to promote the entire album. Nevertheless, it rocketed straight to Number One at a time when the British Invasion, changing tastes, and lackluster performances were starting to make the King persona non grata in the Top Ten. His bluesy rendition -- a great way to pun on the title, really -- is still considered the standard, backed as it is by the Jordanaires, singer Millie Kirkham (the female voice you hear on the track), and the classic RCA backup band of Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana. Nailed in three takes, even!