During the holiday season, many musicians get together for celebratory concerts or benefit shows. In essence, these are concert Christmas parties that usually feature large all-star lineups of popular artists.
The posters for these shows can double as music paraphernalia and Christmas décor. In this article, I will look at three major Christmas concert series and their corresponding posters: The Beatles Christmas Show, the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball.
The Beatles Christmas Shows
When people think of holiday artists, The Beatles may not immediately come to mind. However, they wrote an original Christmas song, recorded seven Christmas fan-club records, and performed two massive Christmas concert series. These shows took place during the 1963 and 1964 holiday seasons and showcased many popular British Invasion acts of the time. The posters for these shows are time capsules that mix Christmas with music history.
One notable act from the 1964 lineup was The Yardbirds. At the time, Eric Clapton was still a member of the band, and this is where he met The Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison. This meeting is significant in rock music history, as the two became lifelong friends and their relationship resulted in many classic songs and collaborations.
In later years, Clapton featured on many of Harrison’s most famous works – including The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and his 1970 solo album, “All Things Must Pass”. They also co-wrote the song “Badge” for Cream’s “Goodbye” album. When Clapton fell in love with (and later married) Harrison’s then-wife, Pattie Boyd, he wrote “Layla” about her.
The two remained friends and would often perform together until Harrison’s death in 2001. This gives extra importance to the 1964 Christmas show poster, as it represents the birth of this legendary musician friendship.
The Warren Haynes Christmas Jams
More recently, Warren Haynes (best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule) has been hosting an annual Christmas benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity. Over the years, these live December jams have accumulated an impressive list of guest performers – including Peter Frampton, The Doobie Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gregg Allman, and members of The Grateful Dead.
These concerts have been a yearly tradition for over 30 years, so there are many posters to choose from. Some of my personal favorites are by John Warner Studios.
In 2013, there were two Christmas Jam concerts on back-to-back nights. For these shows, Warner made two separate posters that create a bigger picture when put together. Side by side, they depict a Christmas-themed pinball machine, complete with guitars and snowflakes.
In 2015, Warner designed a festive poster with a stained-glass look. It featured the Christmas Jam logo of a guitar with large angel wings.
The posters for these shows mix jam band artwork aesthetics with holiday iconography. To see more of the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam posters, as well as past lineups, check out their website here.
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball
Another holiday concert tradition is the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, which puts together a lineup of some of the year’s most popular artists. Also known as the Z100 Jingle Ball, it originally took place every December in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Since 2013, it has become an annual nationwide concert tour.
An artifact from the Jingle Ball’s early years is the 1997 poster, which features artwork by Peter Max. The performers listed include Aerosmith, Sarah McLachlan, Beastie Boys, Fiona Apple, and The Wallflowers.
In years since, the Jingle Ball concerts have continued to bring big lineups onstage to celebrate the holiday season. For information about this year’s Jingle Ball (which was a virtual event), visit their website here.
Many more holiday shows
These are just three examples of significant all-star holiday concerts. Many artists over the years have performed or toured to celebrate this festive time of year, providing us with many concert posters to proudly display every December. If you have a favorite holiday show/poster, let me know in the comments!