Today on “Days to Remember” I wanted to write about Christmas tunes that we love and share during the holiday season.
Do remember the song called White Christmas?
The song is usually sung by Bing Crosby during the holiday season, which most people remember, but who wrote the song?
This 8-line song that paints a picture of holiday nostalgia was written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, where Bing Crosby sings it from the perspective of a New Yorker stranded in sunny California during Christmas.
Crosby recorded a version of the song for release as a single with the Kim Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra on May 29, 1942, a few months before the movie hit theaters.
At the advice of Bing’s record producer Jack Kapp, this original first verse was excised as it made no sense outside of the context of the film.
Now starting with the familiar, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” the song became a huge hit, going to #1 on the Billboard chart (measuring sales) in October, and staying in the top spot for 11 weeks, taking it through the first two weeks of 1943.
Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name, Christmas 123100’s Channel brings to you Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.
When was the song written?
According to Mark Steyn’s A Song for the Season, Berlin began writing this on January 8, 1942. The songwriter was in a hurry that Monday morning and shouted at his musical secretary, Helmy Kresa: “Grab your pen and take down this song. It’s the best song I ever wrote. Hell, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote.”
Steyn notes that “White Christmas” owes much of its enduring popularity to World War II, specifically the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to US involvement, because the song adopted a significance beyond the reaches of Hollywood: “Had America entered the war in Europe in 1939, ‘White Christmas’ might have been just a hit-record from a so-so movie. Instead, 1942 was the American serviceman’s first Christmas away, in the Pacific, under glorious sunny skies that only made home seem even more distant.”
Christmas was a painful time for Irving Berlin and his second wife, Ellin Mackay, who found their infant son dead in his bassinet early Christmas morning in 1928.
Although he was Jewish, Irving grew up celebrating the holiday by sneaking off to his neighbor’s house to enjoy the festivities. His daughter, Mary Ellin, told Mark Steyn: “My father believed in the secular American Christmas. There’s a lot of controversy about that, about whether there should be, apart from the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a general festive celebration that anyone can join in with.”
As we remember how the song made us feel when first heard it, may there be a white Christmas in your heart as you share the cheer of joy in your hearts with friends and family this holiday season.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell