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Rock Flashback: Leon Russell’s “Slippin’ Into Christmas”

Although [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Leon Russell[/lastfm] has been a working musician for 50 years and lacks neither critical accolades nor impressive credits, his best year by the numbers was 1972. His album Carney spent a month at #2 that summer. In August, a show in California was recorded; when it was released the next year as Leon Live, it would become a Top-10 hit, too. In the fall of 1972, “Tight Rope” became his highest charting single.

But before 1972 came to a close, Russell had one more hit up his sleeve.

Russell’s “Slippin’ Into Christmas” featured “his usual Tulsa session men plus ace guitar man [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Freddie King[/lastfm],” according to the sleeve notes on promotional copies of the record. “Flipside is another laid-back Russell composition, ‘Christmas in Chicago.'”

The single was recorded in August, and it was tipped in Billboard and other music trade publications in November. On a Christmas chart in December, Billboard would place it at #4. But the laconic blues of “Slippin’ Into Christmas” doesn’t fit the cheery singalong mode of the most popular Christmas singles, so it never became a holiday perennial. I don’t believe it’s ever gotten an official CD release.

Russell returned to Christmas music in 1995 with Hymns of Christmas, an album of piano instrumentals with orchestra backing. But “Slippin’ Into Christmas” is the one you want. It’s a mighty fine listen this time of year.

The B-side, “Christmas in Chicago,” is pretty cool, too.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.

  • RainbowRay

    A nice song, it’s better then “Slipping into a Coma”, right? A nice smooth Jazzy tune!

    I’d like to share with you some YOutube links that I remember from Childhood! Enjoy!


    Blue Christmas Scene From TheYear Without a Santa Claus.MOV

    I remembe this song and special from childhood (“The Year WIthout A Santa Claus”)

    There’s Always’s Tomorrow

    (This one’s taken from that classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”). I bought on DVD and dream of sharing it with our family one day, right Fiona honey?

    Put One Foot In Front of The Other (lyrics)

    This one is taken from “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” and is also from my childhood (I also have this on DVD). It’s also a great and “creative” way to help young children to walk and I plan to use it because I LOVE my creativity.


    “Sharing is caring and caring is sharing; living is giving and givign is living”

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