Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas Music

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Yesterday I covered Alternative Christmas Tunes, including pointers to the Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack for "A Charlie Brown Christmas." But there's a great story behind Guaraldi's soundtrack -- the jazzy sound almost prevented "A Charlie Brown Christmas" from making it to air, due to the network's preference for traditional Christmas music. Kara blogged about the story behind A Charlie Brown Christmas on Wednesday, and I thought I'd point _floss readers to the Guaraldi angle on story in time to check out his music for this Christmas season.

In 2006, NPR produced a great story about Vince Guaraldi's involvement in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Check out Behind Guaraldi's Timeless Holiday Soundtrack for an engaging history of this classic recording. Here's a sample from the story:

CBS "didn't think jazz fit properly," Mendelson recalls. The network also wanted professional child actors to do the voices of the characters, not the untrained youngsters Mendelson recruited.

He says the network also objected to the adult themes; they didn't think the topics of materialism and faith were appropriate for children.

Despite their concerns and after a few cosmetic changes, CBS aired the program. It was a hit.

Mendelson and Melendez went on to do 50 Charlie Brown specials, the most recent being last year's He's a Bully, Charlie Brown.

Guaraldi collaborated on 17 shows before he died suddenly at age 43 in 1976 — too early to see his songs become modern symbols of the holiday.

More stories on the topic: 'Charlie Brown Christmas' Keeps Giving, 'Great Pumpkin' Marks 40 Years on TV, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas': A Jewish Tradition?, and Wikipedia on A Charlie Brown Christmas (album).

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December 21, 2007 - 4:01am
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