Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
“You’ve Got a Lot of Nerve” is the response of some startled Bob Dylan aficionados to recent reports that the rock-and-roll legend is planning to release a collection of Christmas songs in October.
But perhaps the news shouldn’t be as surprising as these Dylan fans have found it to be. Back in the 1970s, the Jewish-born Dylan (né Robert Zimmerman) converted to Christianity for a time before falling away from his new faith in the next decade. And besides, his Christmas album appears to be composed predominantly of secular Christmas songs like “Winter Wonderland” rather than traditional Christmas hymns.
Rock icon Bob Dylan will sing the old yuletide standards “Winter Wonderland” and “Little Drummer Boy” on his first-ever Christmas album, with royalties going to charity, his record label said on Wednesday.
Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart” album is due out on Oct. 13, nearly six months after the release of his last studio album, “Together Through Life,” which topped the charts.
Speculation about the Christmas album began surfacing a few months ago, but were initially met with disbelief by some Dylan aficionados, as the singer was not known to record Christmas songs, and his latest albums have featured original material.
Dylan will donate all his U.S. royalties from album sales to the charity group Feeding America, and in a statement he said he hopes it brings “food security to people in need.”
Feeding America said it expects to provide meals to 1.4 million people this holiday season with the album proceeds.
Columbia said Dylan plans to donate his international royalties to two charity organizations that give meals to needy people in Britain and the developing world. But details on that partnership are still being worked out.
“Christmas in the Heart” is Dylan’s 47th album, and it will include songs like “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Must Be Santa,” said his longtime label, Columbia Records.
Dylan, 68, recently finished a concert tour of minor league ballparks. The singer behind the songs “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” received a Pulitzer Prize last year for his influence on music and culture.