Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

'One of the greatest honors of my life': Charlie Hall plays vital role in The Philly Specials

Charlie Hall
Charlie Hall

By now, you may know the faces of The Philly Specials, the trio of Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Jordan Mailata, whose voices have echoed throughout the City of Brotherly Love over the last two Christmas seasons.

But who is the man behind the music?

Charlie Hall, the drummer for the 2017 Grammy Award-winning band The War on Drugs, has made the magic happen for The Philly Specials' Christmas albums.

"I don't think any of us had any idea how special this was going to be," Hall said. "It is pretty unimaginable, but it also feels like the most natural thing I have ever done."

How did the member of a local rock band become a producer for The Philly Specials?

It all started in 2017 when The War on Drugs performed at former Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin's Make the World Better benefit concert. Hall, Barwin, and Kelce formed a friendship that would come in handy down the line.

Fast forward to 2022 when Barwin reached out to Hall with the idea of producing a Christmas album with members of the Eagles' offensive line.

"The idea was coming from a very sincere, pure place," Hall said. "They didn't want to make a Christmas record as a joke; they wanted to make something great."

Along with Hall, Barwin, now the Eagles' Director of Player Development, has been an integral part of this two-year project.

Per Hall, the albums would not have been possible without Barwin.

"He is an amazing connector of people," Hall said. "He has such a huge heart. This is a reflection of his humanity and his incredible power to bring people together."

The Philly Specials!

The journey began in the 2022 offseason when The Philly Specials and various guests started recording their debut album – A Philly Special Christmas.

As the music guru of the group, Hall wanted to put the players in the best situation to use their voices in ways they never had before.

"They all have amazing voices, so it's truly just a matter of making sure they are comfortable," Hall said.

The former teacher has been a guiding light for everyone he has worked with outside of his music career.

Hall has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and other nonprofit organizations.

"For me, mentoring is a really important aspect of my professional and personal life," Hall said. "I love making music, but I also love bringing people together from all different backgrounds."

The 2022 Christmas album raised $1.25 million for various Philadelphia charities and was a hit around the city.

With the success of the first album, the group decided to produce another one, once again led by Hall.

This year, they started recording earlier in the summer and added more songs to the album. Yes, they wore Christmas sweaters in July!

"We had a lot of fun last year," Hall said. "This year, we wanted to make it bigger and better."

Production wrapped up in early September so that the team could focus on the 2023 season and the songs could be submitted for the physical records.

The biggest question surrounding the second album was how these three NFL linemen could continue to make classic Christmas songs unique?

The album consists of songs such as "The Christmas Song," "All I Want For Christmas Is You," and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

"These are songs that already exist in their perfect form," Hall said. "How can we make these songs special and give them a new form? It is partially because of the incredible musicians we brought in and how we looked at each song through a different lens. We knocked it out of the park."

One of Hall's favorite moments of this year's production was the recording of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Second-year defensive tackle Jordan Davis, an 11th-hour addition to the album, joined Johnson, Kelce, and Mailiata for the signing of this classic Christmas tune.

"The song is the four of them singing individually and then all together which encapsulates what this whole thing is about," Hall said. "Jordan (Davis) rose to the occasion. He smashed it. It was this beautiful, tender moment."

For The Philly Specials, this is all about giving back to the community.

Money raised from this year's album will go to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, among other nonprofits. This year's album has already raised $2.5 million.

"It's one of the greatest honors of my life," Hall said. "We are affecting so much positive change in the community. It is the most awesome part of this project."

Still looking for a last-minute holiday gift? A limited number of albums signed by Johnson, Kelce, and Mailata are available at the Official Eagles Pro Shop at Lincoln Financial Field.

Jason Kelce and Charlie Hall.

Related Content