Vince Guaraldi’s hip soundtracks are loved by many of us who’ve grown up with Charlie Brown. But among the 15 Peanuts TV specials and one feature movie he scored, not to mention many imaginative non-Snoopy efforts, A Charlie Brown Christmas is Guaraldi’s most enduring album.
First broadcast in 1965, the half-hour Christmas special has grown into an annual rite of the holiday season. Forty years after its debut, it’s one of the most popular Christmas albums of all time, jazz or otherwise, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that couldn’t hum “Linus and Lucy” (the Peanuts theme). There are many reasons for the album’s popularity, but at the heart of it is those catchy tunes–Guaraldi’s gift was that he could make the songs simple enough for a child to understand and beautiful enough for an adult to appreciate.