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#ThrowbackThursday: “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *N Sync

Video Still From “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” Music Video

by Sean Smith 

When it comes to the music industry, it’s hard to argue that anyone had a more successful 2013 than former *N Sync member Justin Timberlake.

The year began with Timberlake saying to the world, “I’m ready” to release new music with a viral video surprise that left fans on the edge of their seats.  That mega announcement lead to the release of his third solo album The 20/20 Experience, which  became one of the biggest hits of the year, thanks in part to the success of it’s first single  “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay Z.  Following the track’s introduction on January 15th, it immediately filled the void left by his 6 year absence from music, and helped 20/20 go on to become the top selling album of the year.

2013’s musical aclaim continued beyond The 20/20 Experience when Timberlake was also featured on three tracks from the Magna Carta… Holy Grail album which Jay Z also released this past July. The two received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration as a result of their work on “Holy Grail.” Jay and JT capitalized on the success of their working relationship when they embarked on a summer stadium tour aptly names the Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour.

Then, as Legends of the Summer slowed  down and the seasons began to change, JT sped things back up by releasing his fourth album, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, in September. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. He is now in the midst of his second tour of the year, The 20/20 Experience World Tour, which runs through the end of August 2014.

As if all of that weren’t enough, he was also honored this year at the MTV VMA’s, receiving the coveted Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. During his performance that night he was joined on stage by his fellow *N Sync members for a reunion performance medley. The MTV platform allowed him to sum up the the showmanship that captivated us all year, and reminded us that it all began with one of the world’s favorite boy bands.     

In honor of the success Justin Timberlake has had this past year, along with the fact that Christmas is less than a week away, this week’s #ThrowbackThursday post remembers “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by JT’s former group *N Sync.

*N Sync released their very successful self-titled debut album to US music fans in March of 1998. It was citified diamond, with 10 million records sold in the US alone. They quickly followed that success up by releasing their second studio album, Home For Christmas later that same year. Both albums were so successful that it earned the group the rare honor of having two albums in the Billboard Top 10 simultaneously.

The lead single for the holiday themed Home For Christmas album was the original song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” The song was written by Justin Timberlake, fellow *N Sync member JC Chasez, and Viet Renn who also produced the track. It went on to become a hit,  reaching the #37 spot on the Top 40 Mainstream chart. The song’s video was also quite original in its own way, and featured the late Gary Coleman of Diff’rent Strokes fame. The premise of the video is that Santa Clause is sick and cannot deliver presents on Christmas Eve. Learning this, Coleman recruits the popular boy band to fill Santa’s boots for the night, and carry out the festive duty of delivering gifts and spreading Christmas cheer.

Goofy video concepts aside, time has revealed that “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” means a great deal to both the legacy *N Sync, and the career of Justin Timberlake.  This is because, amongst the pop culture craziness of this holiday album and their debut album explosion, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” afforded Justin one of his first professional song writing opportunities in general. Isn’t it fantastic to see what that little bit of Christmas magic turned into this many years later?

So in honor of the very successful year that Justin Timberlake has had in 2013 , while also  keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, this week’s #ThrowbackThursday remembers “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by JT’s former group *N Sync. Enjoy!

*N Sync 

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”

From: Home For Christmas 

RCA Records

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