Aretha made not one, not two, but three appearances on the Four Tops’ 1995 Christmas album, Christmas Here With You. She delivered 2 sung lines and a spoken line on the album’s title track “Christmas Here With You”, some vocals on “Silent Night”, and took over their cover of “White Christmas”. On their cover of Irving Berlin’s classic “White Christmas”, the most recorded Christmas song of all time, Levi Stubbs takes the lead as always, and then yields to Aretha just after 2 minutes in.
Needless to say, Aretha charges in. It’s as if Levi passes the baton to Aretha and she takes off running. She hits some highs, showing off the recovery and resurgence of her instrument since quitting smoking in 1991. She doesn’t necessarily show out, but she asserts her power. After delivering some lines solo, the harmonies of the Tops surround Aretha, and compliment her power. Levi returns for a few solo lines, until the song’s closer, where Aretha delivers and then re-delivers the final “be white”.
Listen to Aretha and the Tops bring some soul to “White Christmas”