This is an anniversary week of sorts in the ClayNation. Merry Christmas With Love, Clay Aiken’s first Christmas album was released by RCA the week of November 16, 2004.
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 has one of the highest debut sales of a holiday album in Soundscan history. 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 too “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 last 10 years. 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.
2003 – Harry for the Holidays, by Harry Connick, Jr. The album went platinum during the second holiday season. It reached #12 on the Billboard Charts.
2004 – Merry Christmas, With Love, by Clay Aiken Sold over 2 million albums worldwide.
2005 – The Christmas Collection, by Il Divo. The album charted at #12
2006 – Wintersong, by Sarah McLachlan. 20,000 units sold the first week.
2007 – Noel, by Josh Groban. It sold less than 70,000 the first week, but exploded after a performance on Oprah.
2008 – Noel, by Josh Groban. It is 5 times platinum.
2009 – My Christmas, by Andrea Bocelli. It sold approximately 100,000 the first week.
2010 – The Gift by Susan Boyle. It reached #5 on the soundscan/Billboard list.
2011 – Christmas by Michael Buble This album sold 2,431,000 in 9 weeks.
2012 – Merry Christmas, Baby by Rod Stewart. Latest numbers report that the album has sold 858,000.
It is amazing that Merry Christmas With Love by Clay Aiken is still one of the top selling 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.