This morning, Gunnar Nelson of the rock group Nelson and son of legendary singer Ricky Nelson called in to the K-EARTH 101 Morning Show to give our listeners an early Christmas present.
Gunnar presented us with a previously unreleased version of “The Christmas Song” sung by his father to debut on air for the very first time. He also told us about his family’s holiday traditions and how special the season was to them.
“My dad actually took Christmas very seriously…He lived for the road, but Christmas was sacred, so we always knew that was the time pop would be off the road,” said Gunnar. “It was really a time for togetherness for everybody.”
Though his father was always in the festive spirit during the holidays, Gunnar notes that dad never released a full Christmas album, but did record a few holiday songs during his career.
“I do not know why my father never did a Christmas album,” said Gunnar. “Something that the Nelson family owns, his version of ‘The Christmas Song’ – it’s beautiful, he always had that silky, smooth delivery. It was something that was never released by his label Capitol. I’d love for your listeners to hear it now.”
He also tells us the only time Ricky Nelson’s version of “The Christmas Song” was ever released was in the late ’50s when it was specifically released only for jukeboxes back in the day.
Listen to the debut of Ricky Nelson’s unheard rendition of “The Christmas Song” below:
Listen to Nelson’s rockin’ version of “Jingle Bell Rock” below (buy it on iTunes):
Listen to our interview with Gunnar Nelson to hear more about holiday traditions in the Nelson home, including an annual Christmas Eve dinner at his grandparents Ozzie and Harriet’s iconic TV (and real) house.