10 Best Christmas Duets
While artists are often handcuffed to those they can or can’t record a duet with on a studio album, Christmas duets present an opportunity to involve musicians not traditionally involved with country music, or artists who have been forgotten. Kenny Rogers might be the king of country music duets. It’s a difficult chore to choose between his works with Dolly Parton and Wynonna Judd, so we chose one of each for this list of Christmas duets. Martina McBride, Elvis Presley and Kenny Chesney also make our 10 Best Christmas Duets list more than once.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
This Christmas song is a popular remake for country stars over the last 10 years. McBride’s version features Dean Martin overdubs, and it shows. There isn’t the same ‘in the room’ chemistry, but the vocal performances are still warm enough to merit inclusion on our list of 10 Best Christmas Duets. In 2006, this version reached No. 35 on the country charts. Other versions from Dolly Parton with Rod Stewart, and Norah Jones with Willie Nelson also charted. Find this one on the 2007 reissue of McBride’s White Christmas album.
“The Angels Cried”
Two of the most dependable voices in country music teamed up for this Christmas duet from Alan Jackson‘s 1993 Christmas album, Honky Tonk Christmas. Jackson has proven himself to be a modern day Bing Crosby when it comes to Christmas, and Alison Krauss — who was just 22-years-old at the time — can lend her voice to just about anything and leave it feeling like a warm Christmas memory.
Willie Nelson also made our list of top traditional Christmas songs in country music with this song from 1979. He’d written it 16 years earlier for the late Roy Orbison, and Chesney brought it to a new audience on his 2003 album. The younger singer’s heavy timber is a surprisingly pleasant compliment to Nelson’s emotional quiver. Both men seem to feel every word of this song, making it an easy choice for our list of the 10 Best Christmas Duets.
The legendary duo’s versatile Christmas hit can also be found on our Top 10 Christmas Party Songs list and on their 2002 album It Won’t Be Christmas Without You. Certainly it’s no surprise that the greatest country duo of all time lands a song on our list of the best Christmas duets. There’s really no good reason to dislike this holiday song.
This song is found on Buble’s Christmas album released in 2011. Shania Twain‘s baby doll interpretation of her part in the duet will have her longtime fans wondering if that’s really her singing with Buble, but she shows that there is still plenty of life left in those famous pipes — as if one ever doubted — as she frolics around on the high notes like a little kid swinging from the monkey bars. It’s doubtful country radio will give this Christmas song much attention, but it’s one every Shania Twain fan will love.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Carrie Underwood‘s duet with Elvis Presley is the first of two from the King’s Christmas Duets album to make our list of the 10 Best Christmas Duets. Despite dying six years prior to her birth, Presley seems to have his hand wrapped around Underwood’s waist in this caring duet. Their voices mix like pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
“The Greatest Gift of All”
Any of the 10 songs from the superstar’s album of holiday duets could have made our list of the top Christmas duets, but we chose this one because it was the highest charting song from an iconic Christmas album. Once Upon a Christmas has sold over two million copies in the U.S., and another five million in Canada, making it amongst the most popular Christmas albums of all time.
“Christmas in Dixie”
The original version of this song made our Top 10 Original Christmas Songs list, and it’s hard to argue that any version could top Alabama‘s original. After the band retired a few years prior to Chesney’s All I Want For Christmas is a Real Good Tan album, Randy Owen‘s voice on this Christmas duet was a more than welcome surprise.
The music video for this song makes it worthy of inclusion on our list of the 10 Best Christmas Duets. It’s a clever pairing of one of the all-time greats with perhaps country music’s most talented Christmas songstress. Few fans of “Blue Christmas” thought it could get any better than the King’s original, but McBride certainly adds a new dimension.
“Mary, Did You Know?”
When two all-time greats team up, it’s hard for things to go wrong. This version of “Mary, Did You Know?” from Rogers’ 1997 album The Gift is still amongst the most played Christmas songs on country radio, especially as the actual day draws near. Michael English first recorded this song in 1993, and Kathy Mattea did a version the following year. But Rogers’ and Judds’ take on it — adding a second voice to make it a Christmas duet — seems to bring this song to a higher level.