In the fall of 2023, children of the 1970s and 1980s gasped, cheered, and cringed when they heard there was about to be a new Cher Christmas album. Title, simply Christmas, this was the first time the pop and techno queen would take on yuletide classics.
Here is a look at her first single from the album, “DJ Play a Christmas Song“:
At age 77, Cher was either trying to regain relevance or say goodbye to fans. Maybe both.
The tactic of leaning on yuletide cheer to revive a dying or dead music career has proven successful for some artists in the past, but fallen flat for others. Either way, the allure of Christmas cheer providing a boost is one that many washed-up performers have found difficult to resist.
Here is a rundown of some of the most famous (infamous) Christmas albums that stars have tried to ride back to relevance in the past. How will Cher’s Christmas album measure up to these? Check back in 50 years or so!
Tony Bennett – Christmas (1986)
The legendary singer was 60 years old when he released this album, which helped introduce him to a new generation of listeners.
Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (1994)
Carey released this album at age 24, but was struggling in her career at the time. The album revitalized her popularity.
Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart (2009)
This was Dylan’s first Holiday album and was released when he was 68, reaching #1 on the folk charts.
Neil Diamond – The Christmas Album (1992)
Diamond released this struggling to stay relevant at age 51. Sales exceeded 6 million copies.
Aretha Franklin – This Christmas (2008)
The iconic singer released this album at age 66 during a lull between studio albums, and it was an immediate hit with generations of fans.
Gladys Knight – A Christmas Celebration (2014)
Knight recorded this album at age 70, her fourth Christmas release, which peaked at #14 on the R&B Albums charts.
Barry Manilow – A Christmas Gift of Love (2002)
Manilow released this Christmas album at age 59 after his heyday in the 70s and 80s. It reached #12 on the charts.
Johnny Mathis – The Christmas Album (2002)
Mathis was 67 when he recorded this album, which spent several weeks at #1 on the Christmas charts. Just listen to those Christmas bells!
Willie Nelson – Pretty Paper (1979)
Nelson was 46 when he recorded this popular Christmas album.
Dolly Parton – Once Upon a Christmas (1984)
Recorded at age 38 when her chart success began to wane, this album went platinum.
Kenny Rogers – Christmas (1981)
His Christmas album was released when his career started to decline in the early 80s at age 43. It sold over 5 million copies.
Linda Ronstadt – A Merry Little Christmas (2000)
Recorded at age 54 after leaving Capitol Records, this album went platinum and earned a Grammy nomination.
Neil Sedaka – The Miracle of Christmas (2008)
The veteran singer/songwriter released this album at age 73, bringing him back to the holiday music scene.
Carly Simon – Christmas Is Almost Here (2002)
This album came out when Simon was 57 and far removed from her 70s/80s fame, but still made the top 40 charts.
Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby (2012)
Released at age 67 after his popularity had faded, this album sold over 1 million copies.
Barbra Streisand – A Christmas Album (1967)
Streisand recorded this album at age 25, but took a hiatus from live performing at the time. The release brought her back to the spotlight.