Monday, January 3, 2022

Chart success!

Guaraldi's score for A Charlie Brown Christmas has been popular ever since it debuted back in 1965, so it's no surprise that sales increase every year, as we approach the holiday season. What is surprising is that the album's popularity — as measured by sales, and recorded by Billboard magazine's various charts — has been increasing dramatically during the past several years.

The album didn't achieve any Billboard ranking until 1987, when (finally!) it debuted on the Top Holiday Albums chart. Two decades later — for the week ending January 27, 2007 — it peaked at No. 2 on that chart.

Its performance on the Billboard 200 (album) chart is more noteworthy, as this chart clocks all genres. A Charlie Brown Christmas always has posted respectable numbers during the final month of each year, but it finally reached the Top 10 — at #10 — just a year ago, on January 2, 2021.

Ah, but its performance this past holiday season has been spectacular.

The album entered the Billboard 200 chart on the week ending November 13, at #159. It rose to #63 the following week, then #51, and then #21. It hit #10 on December 11. Then it rose to #9 the following week, and #8 on Christmas Day.

Then — wait for it — the album hit #6 (!) on January 1, 2022. That's amazing.

(I suspect all those variants LPs, which have become an annual tradition, had a great deal to do with that ranking.)

UPDATE: With the holidays behind us, I guessed it would drop much lower the following week ... but that didn't happen. A Charlie Brown Christmas still placed a very respectable #8 for the week concluding January 8.

But this isn't even the best news.

Billboard's Hot 100 tracks the popularity of individual songs; way back in the day, that was measured by the sales of 45 singles. These days, as explained by Billboard, "The week's most popular songs across all genres [are] ranked by radio airplay audience impressions, as measured by Nielsen Music; sales data, as compiled by Nielsen Music; and streaming activity data provided by online music sources."

Guaraldi's only song to hit the Hot 100 was "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," which entered that chart — at #94 — on December 8, 1962. During a 19-week run that finally concluded on April 6, 1963, it peaked at #22 on February 23.

That song remained a Hot 100 Guaraldi one-shot ... until now.

The just-released Hot 100 chart — also dated January 1, 2022 — reveals two new debuts: "Linus and Lucy," at #37; and "Christmas Time Is Here," at #48.

UPDATE: "Christmas Time Is Here" rose to #41 for the week dated January 8, although (alas) "Linus and Lucy" vanished from the chart.

More than half a century after they were released.

This truly has been a magical Guaraldi Christmas!

[Note: The chart links above always default to the most recent week; you can dial back to any previous week by clicking on the blue circle calendar icon, directly below the chart title.]

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