Song: "The Spirit of Christmas"
[ listen ]
Song: "Sleigh Ride"
[ listen ]
I guess it's about time I posted a Liberace record on my blog. Known as "Mr. Showmanship" due to his flair for wildly eccentric performances in concert and on TV, Liberace appears as "Frosty the Showman" on the cover of this delightful Christmas record from 1976. The album's liner notes, included below, describe the warmth and hospitality Liberace offers to each and every guest who's lucky enough to spend Christmas Eve at his home—though it's hard to imagine anyone being put at ease by a person wearing a gold lamé Santa Claus suit. Liberace's holiday record features lots of his trademark tickling of the ivories, as exemplified here on "Sleigh Ride." But on several tracks, like "The Spirit of Christmas," which features Liberace's brother George on violin, the virtuoso pianist demonstrates his vocal abilities as well—though he does sound a tad disingenuous singing "it's better to give than to receive" (wink, wink). Throughout his long career, Liberace denied rumors that he was gay—even suing a British newspaper that referred to him as "fruit-flavored"—but his good friend Betty White recently confirmed that the talented entertainer was indeed a homosexual. And what a fabulous homosexual he was! I've always admired Liberace's flamboyant indulgence in lavish extravagance; it's too bad he lived at a time when he could have lost everything simply by admitting he loved men. You can read all about the amazing life and career of Wladziu Valentino Liberace on Wikipedia here, and find photos and info about the recently-closed Liberace Museum in Las Vegas here.