Eric Clapton Celebrates Christmas With First Full-Length Holiday Album: Exclusive

Eric Clapton
Dave Kaplan

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton will release his first full-length Christmas album, Happy Xmas, on Oct. 12. 

The Bushbranch Records/Surfdog Records set, which features a cover illustration of Santa Claus by Clapton, is Slowhand’s 24th studio album and his first since 2016’s I Still Do. 

The album’s 14 tracks are a mix of standards -- including “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” and "Away in a Manger" -- and lesser known holiday tunes, along with an original new track, “For Love On Christmas Day.” Claption's rendition of “Jingle Bells" is dedicated to "the memory Avicii," due to the singer's admiration for the late DJ.

"I had in my head that these holiday songs could be done with a slight blues tinge, and I started to figure out how to play the blues lines in between the vocals,” said Clapton, who co-produced Happy Xmas with longtime music producer Simon Climie. “I got it down and one of the most identifiable songs on the album, the one that became the foundational style, is ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’”

Clapton previously was featured prominently on A Very Special Christmas Live from Washington, D.C., which came out in 1999. The album, which benefited the Special Olympics, featured Clapton on five tracks performed at a holiday-themed December 1998 concert held by President Bill Clinton to herald the 30th anniversary of the Special Olympics. 

Happy Xmas is available for preorder starting today (Aug. 17). 

Happy Xmas Track List

1. White Christmas
2. Away In A Manger (Once In Royal David’s City)
3. For Love On Christmas Day
4. Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
5. Christmas Tears
6. Home For The Holidays
7. Jingle Bells (In Memory Of Avicii)
8. Christmas In My Hometown
9. It’s Christmas
10. Sentimental Moments
11. Lonesome Christmas
12. Silent Night
13. Merry Christmas Baby
14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas