Original 'Charlie Brown Christmas' musician still playing those tunes 50 years later

From the pathetic tree that can’t hold a single ornament to the main character’s trademarked hopelessness, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has endured for decades as an absolute holiday essential.

See Full Article

But maybe even more enduring than the memorable lines and Snoopy’s dancing is the instantly recognizable music behind the half-hour cartoon.

Now, exactly 50 years after it first aired on television, one of the special’s original musicians is hitting those notes again for what feels like the first time.

"I have to figure out how I did it,” drummer Jerry Granelli told CTV Atlantic. “There's things with the brushes that I did. Because they're skating, so I'm using the brushes like “tch-tch-shh, tch-tch-shh."

Granelli, now 74 and living in Halifax, is the last living member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the group that originally composed the show’s tunes in 1965. He says he never imagined hearing those songs so many years later – and he wasn’t alone. Even CBS executives were lukewarm about the product at the time it was released.

"There was only one animator who stood up in the meeting,” Granelli recalls. “Everybody was like, nobody will see this. And he said, ‘Are you kidding? They're going to be watching this for fifty years.’”

The cartoon is undoubtedly a classic, but the music may have evolved to become even more popular, considering “A Charlie Brown Christmas” just became the top-selling jazz album of all time.

Granelli says the music has the ability to reach people in a fundamental way -- a feeling of joy he says he feels at every concert he performs.

And he can tell the audience feels it as well.

"This thing sweeps over everybody, and everybody is into it, and everybody listens to the hour-and-a-half jazz concert."

With a report from CTV Atlantic's Todd Battis



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Neil Patrick Harris says he's 'settling' into new Vancouver 'digs'

    Entertainment CTV News
    It looks like Neil Patrick Harris may have finally found a place to stay in Vancouver, months after putting out a call on Twitter for help finding digs on Canada’s west coast. On Wednesday, the U.S. Source
  • 'The Simpsons' needles Trump ahead of 100-day milestone

    Entertainment CTV News
    FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds depictions of himself on, "The Simpsons" and a photo with boxer Mike Tyson, given to him by an attendee during a campaign stop at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, N.H. Source
  • Metropolitan Museum of New York weighs mandatory admission fee

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Metropolitan Museum of New York and the city government are weighing charging admission for the first time in the museum's nearly 125-year history. The New York Times reports (http://nyti.ms/2p6QAqb ) that Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed the idea of having the Met charge admission for visitors from outside of New York City. Source
  • Indie film 'Maudie' becomes Atlantic Canada's hottest movie

    Entertainment CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The small-budget biopic of folk artist Maud Lewis has become an unlikely Atlantic Canadian blockbuster. "Maudie" is the region's No. 2 film, with a higher per-screen average last weekend than the top-grossing The Fate of the Furious, according to Mongrel Media, the film's distributor. Source
  • Atwood pleased with 'The Handmaid's Tale' adaptation: 'It's just excellent'

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- A TV adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale" is getting rave reviews ahead of Sunday's Canadian premiere on Bravo, including from the novel's author, Margaret Atwood. "I'm very impressed with what they've been doing. Source
  • Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna dies of cancer at age 70

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW DELHI - A hospital official says Vinod Khanna, a dashing Bollywood actor turned politician, has died of cancer in Mumbai. He was 70. Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, says Khanna died Thursday due to bladder carcinoma. Source
  • 5 must-see Canadian films at Hot Docs

    Entertainment CTV News
    What makes for a compelling documentary? Often it’s the subject matter, illuminating a person or topic that we know little about, or alternatively, it delves into a popular issue or personality, uncovering stories and issues we hadn’t considered. Source
  • Rapper Kevin Gates gets 30 months in prison on gun charge

    Entertainment CTV News
    CHICAGO -- The Billboard chart-topping rapper Kevin Gates has been sentenced to 30 months in an Illinois prison after pleading guilty to a gun charge. The 31-year-old Gates — whose legal name is Kevin Jerome Gilyard -- of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Source
  • 'Putting my guts on the page': Calgary called graphic novel hub by high-profile creators

    Entertainment CBC News
    Calgary has joined Vancouver and Toronto as a hub of creativity in the graphic novel medium, according to several high-profile content creators and an influential ACAD instructor. "Calgary has a really long history of developing different sorts of artist communities that are mutually reinforcing and mutually supporting," Alex Link said. Source
  • Lyme disease behind Shania Twain's vocal issues?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Shania Twain fears Lyme disease may have been behind vocal issues that sidelined her career for years. The country star developed dysphonia, a vocal cord disorder often caused by stress, but she recently discovered a bacterial infection may have been behind the drama. Source