Interesting Facts About Our Favorite Holiday Songs
Christmas lights and holiday dinners are memorable. The feeling of going to sleep on Christmas Eve as a child is something we try to think back and recapture with varying success. But if there is anything that can bring us back to our fondest memories of the holidays, it's the music. From 19th century carols to Bing Crosby, most of the best Christmas music is deeply rooted in the past. Discover a couple things about some of the songs we just can't stop playing during the holiday season with these interesting facts about our favorite holiday tunes.
It doesn't take more than a split second for Bing Crosby's voice to pop into your head when we hear this song title. It is such an outrageously popular rendition that people often credit Crosby with creating the song itself. However, that distinction goes to none other than Irving Berlin, an unbelievably accomplished songwriter and composer himself. With one of the best composers and one of the world's most iconic singers in the studio, it's easy to see how "White Christmas" has become the best-selling single record of all time, selling over 100 million copies and giving rise to countless versions that in the end don't seem to ever compare to the original recording.
"O Holy Night"
"O Holy Night" always seems to start playing at the perfect moment during the holidays. When it does, it's hard not to get goosebumps, especially when that first chorus hits. There's no doubt that the version we're most familiar with, composed by a minister named John Sullivan Dwight, is guaranteed to be played as many times as possible during the Christmas season, but if you're a fan of the song, it's worth checking out the original version. The French poem, set to music in 1847 by Adolphe Adam, was translated by Sullivan. Unlike the "White Christmas" version by Crosby, "O Holy Night" has been successfully reproduced by many great singers over the years.
"Merry Little Christmas"
There's always been something bittersweet about "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and that goes way back to the plot of the musical for which it was made. The song was composed by Hugh Martin for the film, Meet Me In St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. In the film, Garland sings the song to cheer up her little sister, who is struggling with the fact that their father is planning to uproot the family and move them from St. Louis to New York. Garland, as well as the director and a few of her castmates thought a few of Martin's lines were too depressing. Martin decided to change the lyrics eventually, reworking many of the lines to give them a more uplifting tone.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas"
It's no surprise that Bing Crosby pops up on this list more than once, but once again, his famous voice lends itself to the creation of another songwriter (now listed as co-writer with Buck Ram), Kim Gannon. It's said that Gannon's song, written from the perspective of an American soldier composing a letter to his family, was criticized for being too melancholy for the holiday season. However, Gannon only needed the support of Crosby to get the song made. After creating one of the most famous Christmas songs the year before with "White Christmas", Crosby's support for the song was enough to get it into production. It's been one of the most famous songs ever since. Aside from being an outstanding Christmas song, Gannon also gave all the royalty rights for the song to the American Heart Association after he died, which continues to this day.