As Charlie Brown himself might say, “Good grief!”
Fifty-five years after its release, Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to the classic animated TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas has reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the first time. Further, it’s one of a record-tying six holiday albums among the top 10.
Released in December 1965, the album rises 12-10 on the chart dated Jan. 2, 2021. The latest chart reflects sales and streaming data compiled in the week ending Dec. 24, 2020. A Charlie Brown Christmas earned 50,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. during the tracking week, a gain of 20% compared to the previous week, mostly powered by streams of its songs, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of A Charlie Brown Christmas’ 50,000 units earned in the week ending Dec. 24, SEA units comprise 37,000 (up 36%, equaling 48.17 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs), album sales comprise 12,000 (down 10%) and TEA units comprise 1,000 (up 11%).
The A Charlie Brown Christmas album was released in December 1965 alongside its CBS TV special (which premiered on Dec. 9, 1965). However, the album did not reach any Billboard ranking until 1987. That year, it debuted on the Top Holiday Albums chart, where it later peaked at No. 2 (Jan. 27, 2007). The album arrived on the Billboard 200 chart dated Dec. 5, 2009 — the same week the tally again began allowing older (catalog) titles to chart (after a break of 18 years). Since then, the set has become a fixture on the tally during the holiday season each year, along with many other enduring older Christmas albums.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of a record-tying six holiday albums in the top 10 on the Billboard 200. Michael Bublé’s former No. 1 Christmas is steady at No. 4 with 77,000 equivalent album units (up 33%), Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas jumps 10-5 (60,000; up 36%), Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song hits a new high, as it climbs 8-6 with 60,000 units (up 33%, surpassing its previous peak of No. 7), Carrie Underwood’s 2020 release My Gift (the newest holiday album in the top 10) falls 6-7 (57,000; up 21%) and Pentatonix’s The Best of Pentatonix Christmas jingles 13-9 (51,000; up 24%).
Since the Billboard 200 began publishing on a regular weekly basis on March 24, 1956 (as the then-named Best Selling Popular Albums chart), the most concurrent holiday albums in the top 10 has been six. That feat has occurred a few times, but most recently – before this week – 61 years ago, on the Jan. 5, 1959-dated chart. That week, Mitch Miller’s Christmas Sing Along With Mitch was tops and the entire top five were Christmas titles. It was joined that week in the top 10 by Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas (No. 2), Johnny Mathis’ Merry Christmas (No. 3), Tennessee Ernie Ford’s The Star Carol (No. 4), Mantovani’s Christmas Carols (No. 5) and Perry Como’s Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music (No. 9).
The A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special aired annually on CBS during the holiday season every year from 1965 through 2000. After that, ABC picked up the rights from 2001 through 2019.
In 2020, the Apple TV+ subscription service acquired the rights to the special — along with other classic animated Peanuts programs. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of many animated TV specials based on the Peanuts comic characters. It was followed by such familiar favorites as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973).
A Charlie Brown Christmas made its Apple TV+ premiere on Dec. 4. Apple teamed with PBS to bring the special back to free over-the-air TV with a commercial-free airing on PBS and PBS KIDS on Dec. 13.