Today is an anniversary of sorts in the ClayNation. On November 16, 2004, Merry Christmas With Love, Clay Aiken’s first Christmas album was released by RCA.
The beautiful holiday album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums chart with first week sales of 270,100 units. This fete gave Merry Christmas With Love the biggest debut week sales figure for a Christmas album since the Soundscan era began in 1991. Additionally, the album opened at #4 on the U.S. Billboard 200. This chart tracks all album sales regardless of genre. These numbers give Merry Christmas With Love the highest debut for a holiday album since Celine Dion’s album six years earlier.
Amazingly, the album is still has the highest debut sales of a holiday album in Soundscan history. No one has beaten the record yet! Merry Christmas With Love reached platinum in only 6 weeks. The album has sold over 2 million units worldwide.
Clay received many awards for MCWL.
- 2004: Won – Best Selling Christmas Album
- 2005: Won – Best Selling Christian Album
American Christian Music Awards
- 2005: Won – Outstanding Yule CD
Even with all its success, Merry Christmas With Love had mixed reviews by the critics. All of them enjoyed Clay’s voice, but a few thought the album was to “old-fashioned”…. ?!?
Christmasreviews.com had a great review of the album. The author, a self-professed AI junkie, wrote a detailed review that included:
… Aiken has released Merry Christmas With Love, a lovely, heartfelt holiday card to his millions of adoring fans. The release definitely plays to Aiken’s strengths; this is no frivolous pop froth. Aiken sings these Christmas classics with the gusto of a seasoned holiday music icon, somewhat reminiscent of Sinatra or Como. Aiken is often compared with Harry Connick, Jr., and it’s a fair comparison. The arrangements are relatively straightforward, and Aiken’s stylings are old-fashioned, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Although Aiken’s clean voice is accompanied by considerable engineering magic and background vocals, the production is largely restrained and tasteful. No annoying gimmicks clutter the fine music here.
Clay is in great company when you see the list of the best-selling Holiday albums of the different years in 2000. I tried to find as many numbers as I could for each album, but I was not able to find all the details for all the albums. The following are the numbers that I could find.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2000 was Dream a Dream, by Charlotte Church. The album went platinum after 2 seasons.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2001 was Now That’s What I Call Christmas, by various artists. The album went platinum in two seasons
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2002 was Now That’s What I Call Christmas, by various artists. See 2001
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2003 was Harry for the Holidays, by Harry Connick, Jr. The album went platinum during the second holiday season. It reached #12 on the Billboard Charts.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2004 was Merry Christmas with Love, by Clay Aiken.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2005 was The Christmas Collection, by Il Divo. The album charted at #12
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2006 was Wintersong, by Sarah McLachlan. 20,000 units sold the first week.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2007 was Noel, by Josh Groban. It sold less than 70,000 the first week, but exploded after a performance on Oprah.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2008 was Noel, by Josh Groban. It is 5 times platinum.
- The best-selling Holiday album of 2009 was My Christmas, by Andrea Bocelli. It sold approximately 100,000 the first week.
Clay’s debut sales figure might be challenged this year. Susan Boyle’s new holiday album, The Gift will get great numbers. We should get the totals today. Mariah Carey also has a new album, Merry Christmas II You. Sales are predicted to be around 56,000.
It is amazing that Merry Christmas With Love by Clay Aiken is still holding the record for most holiday albums sold in the debut week. I am glad that so many people loved the album.
Do you have a favorite song from the album?
The information for this article came from Reality TV World, Billboard, Amazon, Wikipedia and Paul Grein at Chart Watch.
I really love MCWL, It instantly get's me in the Christmas spirit. Favorite song? Hmmm…..nope, just can't pick one. O Holy Night. Don't save it all.., Merry Christmas with Love..it's too hard to choose.
I LOVE all the songs on this Christmas CD by Clay Aiken, but have to say that Mary Did You Know has got to be my favorite. Thanks for all the stats!!
Great article Musicfan. Clay really has done amazingly well with Merry Christmas With Love. It's truly a beautiful CD. It's a classic. No doubt about it. I hope eventually Clay does another Christmas CD, cause we all know Clay absolutely owns Christmas music… He sure is in good company, isn't he?
As for what song is my favourite on MCWL…that is really hard to pick, because I do love them all…For me "O Holy Night" is absolute perfection. But I love them all..and "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day"…"Mary Did You Know", …you know the list!!!!!!!!! I could go on and on and just name the whole CD.
I love MCWL it's actually the "old fashioned" renditions that I enjoy – it sounds like Christmas music should SOUND – nothing overblown or over the top. Clay's Silent Night is perfection – sweet and reverent. Its simplicity is what makes it special.
Wishing all the best for Susan Boyle – if someone is going to top Clay's first week sales I would want it to be someone like Susan totally unassuming but oh, so talented (kind of like Clay).
Thanks for the article!
What is my favorite Clay Aiken song from MCWL? It's not just one, Mary Did You Know, Oh Holy Night, Christmas Song, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!!
What a great article. MCWL is a great classic Christmas Album. It is really too bad that it is not released any more at Christmas. Have not seen a copy for at least 2 years in the stores. But, you can still buy it at Amazon.
What is my favorite song? Very hard to pick a favorite, as I love them all. But, I can think of a couple that stick out for me. O Holy Night and Mary Did You Know.
I love Love MCWL. Its an Amazing CD, and to me no one sings better Christmas songs than Clay.
I listen to this CD over the years over and over, I just love the whole thing and its hard to pick just a few favorites all the songs are beautiful done and if I pick just a few favorites it would be.. MCWL, MDYK, OHN, DSIAFCD, and WAYDNYE. Okay these are just some favorites but really love them all.
Thanks musicfan for the article.
I totally love this cd and play it all year. It is hard to select, but I think I would pick Mary Did You Know as my favorite. Thanks for the great article on this fabulous cd.
I can't pick just one favorite. I have 3. Oh Holy Night, Mary Did You Know and Don't Save It All For Christmas Day.
Well I am glad that Clay had the record so long, if anyone had to beat him I am glad it was my other favorite singer Susan Boyle, I love Both Clay and Susan….