Clay Aiken – Still Holds The Record

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.

Billboard Awards:

  • 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”…. ?!? 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.

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