Motown has been part of America’s holiday music canon for decades, and two songs loom large: If you’re out gift-shopping or clicking a Christmas playlist this time of year, the Temptations’ “Silent Night” and the Supremes’ “My Favorite Things” invariably will be floating your way.
Now those perennial yuletide chestnuts are getting a breath of fresh life with a pair of sentimental, spirit-of-the-season music videos.
Debuting Nov. 22, the mostly animated features are part of an ongoing Universal Music project to create official videos for several holiday standards. Clips for Christmas songs by Brenda Lee, Burl Ives, Bobby Helms, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are already out, and the Jackson 5’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is due Nov. 25.
The Tempts and Supremes videos have a nostalgic ‘60s flair, with retro-style animation and footage evoking an era when those Detroit groups reigned atop the charts.
The Supremes were in the thick of a hectic, hit-heavy, globetrotting year when they cut their album “Merry Christmas” in 1965. The group’s Mary Wilson has fond memories of the record, including the track that’s getting a new video treatment.
“I absolutely love ‘My Favorite Things’ from our Christmas album,” Wilson told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, in a statement. “It’s so great that the song remains a holiday favorite after all these years — and how much fun it is to now have an animated video. Flo, Diane and I were so happy to sing all of these wonderful holiday songs and we had so much fun shooting the album cover up in the mountains.”
The Temptations recorded two enduring versions of “Silent Night”: a long, soulfully harmonized 1980 rendition that is more widely played these days, and a traditionally arranged 1968 track topped by Eddie Kendricks’ celestial falsetto, the song featured in the new video.
“We released ‘Silent Night’ as a single with ‘Rudolph’ during the holidays in 1968, and also featured it on our first Christmas album in 1970. It has remained a fan favorite for over 50 years,” the Temptations’ Otis Williams said in a statement.
The Temptations’ “Silent Night” video accompanies Universal’s recent vinyl reissue of the group’s album “Christmas Card,” which includes a limited white-vinyl edition.
The new Supremes and Temptations videos were created by Ride or Cry, a Los Angeles agency that was also tapped for a series of animated Motown-history clips to mark the label’s recent 60th anniversary.
Contact Detroit Free Press music writer Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.