"White Christmas" is a 1942 Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. The version sung by Bing Crosby is the world's best-selling single with estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide. Other versions of the song, along with Crosby's, have sold over 150 million copies.
Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song. One story is that he wrote it in 1940, in warm La Quinta, California, while staying at the La Quinta Hotel, a frequent Hollywood retreat also favored by writer-director-producer Frank Capra, although the Arizona Biltmore also claims the song was written there. He often stayed up all night writing—he told his secretary, "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written—heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" The song "White Christmas", was actually written by Irving Berlin while staying overnight with a friend in Banning, California. It was on New Year's Day in 1940 when Irving looked out the window only to discover a light snowfall. Snow occasionally falls in the San Gorgonio pass and while in Banning, Irving wrote the words to "White Christmas" because of the surprise of the snow which came during the early morning hours, covering Banning.
The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by Crosby's estate and was loaned to CBS News Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011, program. He subsequently recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers and for Decca Records in just 18 minutes on May 29, 1942, and it was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm discs from the musical film Holiday Inn. At first, Crosby did not see anything special about the song. He just said "I don't think we have any problems with that one, Irving." The song established and solidified the fact that there could be commercially successful secular Christmas songs—in this case, written by a Jewish-American songwriter, who also wrote "God Bless America.".
By the end of October 1942, "White Christmas" topped the Your Hit Parade chart. It remained in that position until well into the new year. It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy—"just like the ones I used to know"—with comforting images of home—"where the treetops glisten"—resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. A few weeks after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Crosby introduced “White Christmas” on a Christmas Day broadcast. The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song. The recording is noted for Crosby's whistling during the second chorus.
In 1942 alone, Crosby's recording spent eleven weeks on top of the Billboard charts. The original version also hit number one on the Harlem Hit Parade for three weeks, Crosby's first-ever appearance on the black-oriented chart. Re-released by Decca, the single returned to the No. 1 spot during the holiday seasons of 1945 and 1946 (on the chart dated January 4, 1947), thus becoming the only single with three separate runs at the top of the U.S. charts. The recording became a chart perennial, reappearing annually on the pop chart twenty separate times before Billboard magazine created a distinct Christmas chart for seasonal releases.
"We Need a Little Christmas" is a popular Christmas song originating from Jerry Herman's Broadway musical, Mame, and first performed by Angela Lansbury in that 1966 production.
In the musical, the song is performed after 'Mame' has lost her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and decides that she, her young nephew Patrick, and her two household servants "need a little Christmas now" to cheer them up. The original lyrics include the line, "But, Auntie Mame, it's one week past Thanksgiving Day now!" Since the time the song was written the phenomenon of Christmas creep has resulted in the normal holiday season beginning much earlier than it once did, which has led to more recent recordings changing the line to, "But, Auntie Mame, it's one week from Thanksgiving Day now!"
"Silver Bells" is a popular Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
"Silver Bells" was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951. The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards on September 8, 1950 with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra and the Lee Gordon Singers which was released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to re-film a more elaborate production of the song.
"Silver Bells" started out as the questionable "Tinkle Bells." Said Ray Evans, "We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his first wife said, 'Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?'" The word is slang for urination.
This song's inspiration has conflicting reports. Several periodicals and interviews cite the writer Jay Livingston stating that the song's inspiration came from the bells used by sidewalk Santa Clauses and Salvation Army solicitors on New York City street corners. However, in an interview with NPR co-writer Ray Evans said that the song was inspired by a bell that sat on an office desk shared by Livingston and himself.
The song charted in the United Kingdom for the first time in 2009 when a duet by Sir Terry Wogan and Aled Jones recorded for charity reached the Top 40, peaking at no. 27.
"Old Toy Trains" (sometimes titled "Little Toy Trains") is a Christmas song written and originally recorded by Roger Miller for his son, Dean Miller,. It was released in late 1967 as a single for Smash Records ending an eight-year ban on Christmas single releases by the label..
An uncredited review in Billboard gave Roger Miller's original version a positive review, saying that "Miller has composed one of his most moving and touching ballads for all ages which he performs to perfection"..
This song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945. It was written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions. Although the song's lyrics make no mention of Christmas, it is played on radio stations during the Christmas season and is often covered by various artists on Christmas-themed albums.
First recorded for RCA Victor in 1945 by Vaughn Monroe, It became a popular hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers music chart in late January and through February, 1946. Woody Herman's competing recording, featuring himself on vocals and a notable trumpet solo by Sonny Berman, peaked at #7 on the Billboard chart.
2012 — Rod Stewart, on his album "Merry Christmas, Baby". Stewart's version reached No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in December 2012. The song remained in the No. 1 spot for a total of five weeks, tying it for the longest leading rendition of a holiday title in the history of the chart.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" is a Christmas song written in 1951 by Meredith Willson. The song was originally titled "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas". The song has been recorded by many artists, but was a hit for Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra on September 10, 1951, and released on RCA Victor as 47-4314 (45 rpm) and 20-4314 (78 rpm). Bing Crosby recorded a version on October 1, 1951, which was also widely played.
A popular belief in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, holds that Willson wrote the song while staying in Yarmouth's Grand Hotel. The song makes reference to a "tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well..."; the park being Frost Park, directly across the road from the Grand Hotel, which still operates in a newer building on the same site as the old hotel.
It is also possible that the "Grand Hotel" Wilson mentions in the song was inspired by the Historic Park Inn Hotel in his hometown of Mason City, Iowa. The Park Inn Hotel is the last remaining hotel in the world designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and is situated in downtown Mason City overlooking central park.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" was later incorporated into the pre-Broadway version of the score of Willson's 1963 musical Here's Love and can be heard on that show's original cast recording, where it is sung in counterpoint to a new melody and lyric, "Pine Cones and Holly Berries."
Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1961 album Christmas with The Chipmunks and 1981 album A Chipmunk Christmas.
The Sesame Street character Big Bird (performed by Caroll Spinney) sang the song as part of medley on the 1975 album Merry Christmas from Sesame Street.
Johnny Mathis recorded the song for his 1986 album Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis; this version gained popularity after its inclusion in the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Gradually, Mathis's recording began to receive wide radio airplay, and for the past several years this version has been a Top 10 Christmas hit.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" is featured in the DVD version of Very Merry Christmas Songs, which is part of the Disney Sing-Along Songs franchise.
The song was briefly featured in the 2003 film Duplex, in a scene showing how much Alex and Nancy had to sell in order to obtain enough money for a hired hitman.
The original recording by Jimmy Boyd, recorded on July 15, 1952 when he was 13 years old, reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart in December 1952, and on the Cash Box chart at the beginning of the following year. It later reached Number 3 in the UK Charts when issued there in November 1953. The song was commissioned by Saks Fifth Avenue to promote the store's Christmas card for the year, which featured an original sketch by artist Perry Barlow, who drew for The New Yorker for many decades.
The song describes a scene where a child walks downstairs from his bedroom on Christmas Eve to see the mother kissing "Santa Claus" under the mistletoe.
Boyd's record was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston when it was released on the grounds that it mixed kissing with Christmas. Boyd was photographed meeting with the Archdiocese to explain the song.
After the meeting, the ban was lifted
A traditional Jamaican folk song; the best-known version was released by American singer Harry Belafonte in 1956 and later became one of his signature songs. The song originated as a Jamaican folk song. It was thought to be sung by Jamaican banana workers, with a repeated melody and refrain (call and response); to each set lyric, the workers made a response. There were numerous versions of lyrics, some likely improvised on the spot by the singers. The song was probably created around the second half of the nineteenth century or the first half of twentieth century, where there was a rise of the banana trade in Jamaica.
The song was first recorded by Trinidadian singer Edric Connor and his band "Edric Connor and the Caribbeans" on the 1952 album Songs From Jamaica; the song was called "Day Dah Light". Belafonte based his version on Connor's 1952 and Louise Bennett's 1954 recordings.
In 1955, American singer/songwriters Lord Burgess and William Attaway wrote a version of the lyrics for the Colgate Comedy Hour, in which the song was performed by Harry Belafonte. Belafonte recorded the song for RCA Victor and this is the version that is best known to listeners today, as it reached number five on the Billboard charts in 1957 and later became Belafonte's signature song.
AULD LANG SYNE is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Scouting movement, in many countries, uses it to close jamborees and other functions.
The song's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by" or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".
The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "In the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "Once upon a time..." in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.
Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man." Some of the lyrics were indeed "collected" rather than composed by the poet; the ballad "Old Long Syne" printed in 1711 by James Watson shows considerable similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burns' later poem, and is almost certainly derived from the same "old song".