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Newly Expanded - The stories behind who wrote 45 of your favorite holiday classics
By Don Stone

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 We hear them every year. Most, we know all the words to and have sung them since we were children. Christmas songs have become so ingrained in our memory that we never think about or wonder how they came to be such a natural part of the Christmas season.
  Its an interesting mix of traditional hymns from the middle ages to pop songs from America's favorite singers.
  We dug deep to find how 40 of these beloved songs came to be such a major part of our personal lives and culture... starting with "Away In A Manger," which is often the first song that children are taught. It was originally published in 1885. The publication of the song was in a Lutheran Sunday school book. This created the misconception that the lyrics were actually written by Martin Luther himself. The author is unknown. The music was composed by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895.

~ Away in a Manger ~

   Away in a Manger
is often the first carol that children are taught. It was originally published in 1885. The publication of Away in a Manger was in a Lutheran Sunday school book and this created the misconception that the lyrics were actually written by Martin Luther himself. The author is unknown.
The music was composed by
William J. Kirkpatrick
in 1895.


~ Blue Christmas ~

While most people think 'Blue Christmas' was originally recorded by Elvis Presley, the first time it hit No.1 on the charts was 1949, eight years before the 'King' would make it one of his most popular recordings. Although the song was performed by a couple of big bands and orchestras in 1948, the first major successful recording of 'Blue Christmas' came from Country superstar Ernest Tubb in 1949. The Grand Ole Opry Star was best known for 'Walking The Floor Over You' (1941) and 'Waltz Across Texas' (1965). Tubb's original version also contained an extra verse not included in the 1957 Elvis recording - "I'll have a blue Christmas I know dear/ I hope your white Christmas brings you cheer/And when you say your prayers on this Christmas Eve/ Will you feel the same dear as when you prayed with me."
Presley recorded it in 1957 for his Elvis' Christmas Album. It wasn't released as a single until 1964, when in the US it was backed with "Wooden Heart" from Elvis' soundtrack to his film G.I. Blues, but from 1965 and on, it was backed with "Santa Claus Is Back In Town."
Elvis performed this song for the first time on his December, 1968 comeback television special. Recorded in June, the special aired on December 3 and helped revitalize his career. His performance of "Blue Christmas" is the only video footage that exists of Elvis singing a Christmas song. Before he begins the song, Elvis states: "I'd like to do my favorite Christmas song of the ones I've recorded."

The Chipmunk Song ~

   Ross Bagdasarian was a novelty writer in a non-novelty world. Making a living as a quirky songwriter during the McCarthy era didn't pay regularly, but Ross was bent on following his own twisted dream. He had one major triumph - He had written the hit, "Come Onna my House" for Rosemary Clooney in 1951. But mostly his recording career up to that point was "cheesy instrumentals" as he described them and some weird "drunk at a bar yacking over stupid piano riffs."
He was remanded to the other side of the recording booth as a recording engineer.
   Bagdasarian loved the dials and buttons and little gauges and lights;
getting a kick out of playing with the technology of recording.
Now, back in Ross's day, the one major evil to be avoided at all costs was recording outside of a non-standard speed. The drag of a dirty capstan head or an extra revolution per second due to a power surge would leave a music recording worthless, changed in speed,
key, and register.
It became a waste of tape, unusable.
But, that being said, it sure sounded silly. Naturally, Ross had to play with it.
   By deliberately recording on the slowest speed possible on his reel-to-reel, he found he could sing normally, and sound like a freak on helium if he sped the recording to normal speed on playback. Using this novelty voice as the background singers for the chorus, Bagdasarian recorded 'Witchdoctor,' and hit the top of the charts in 1958.."
Ooo, eee, ooo ah ah ting tang. Walla walla, bing bang!"
Ross scattered to find a means of extending his 15 minutes of fame, and, to his great credit he managed to do so within the very same year. He created the personas of three obnoxious drunks who sang harmony, sped the tape up, and voila, the chipmunks were born. Bagdasarian, at normal speed, played the hapless manager of the Chipmunks, the fictional David Seville. The chipmunks (Alvin, Simon and Theodore) were named after the two heads of Liberty Records, Al Bennett and Si Warnoker, and the session's engineer Ted Keep.
'The Chipmunk Song', released for the Christmas season of 1958, sold 5 million copies that year, and it got two Grammys in 1958, "Best Comedy Performance"
and "Best Recording for Children".
It lead to a weekly television show and numerous albums still selling to this day.

Over 50 years later, it continues to delight a new generation of young fans with "The Chipmunks Go To The Movies" in 2007. The Chipmunks' album "Undeniable" was released the following year. Its 2009 sequel, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," grossed $443,140,005 worldwide.
The project has earned five Grammy awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, and three Kids' Choice Awards, and has been nominated for three Emmys.
A third film installment, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," was released in theaters in 2011. And a fourth installment, titled "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" is due out for Christmas, 2015.
A CGI-animated TV series revival, titled "ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks", premiered on Nickelodeon on August 3, 2015.

See Alvin and The Chipmunks
singing "The Chipmunk Song, Christmas Don't Be Late)

Click Here

~ The Christmas Song
(Chestnuts Roasting
On An Open Fire)

 "The Christmas Song" was written by a native Chicagoan and made famous by a singer/songwriter who grew up in Chicago. The writer was Mel Torme, also known as "The Velvet Fog." 
The singer was Nat King Cole. 
Written in 1946 on one of the hottest July days on record in Los Angeles, Mel and his writing partner, Robert Wells, were assigned to write title songs for two movies, ironically neither of which were holiday themed.  Wells was trying to fight off the unbearable heat by writing down everything he could think of from his childhood winters in New England.
Mel saw the notes Wells had written on a pad of paper - "Chestnuts roasting...Jack Frost nipping...Yuletide carols...Folks dressed up like Eskimos" and saw lyrics to a song.  Wells dismissed the notion that it was a song and suggested that they focus on the task at hand - writing the music for the movies.  Mel insisted they should continue with what Wells had started.  Forty minutes later, "The Christmas Song" was complete.
Mel then took the song across the city to his friend Nat King Cole's house.  Nat immediately loved it and sensing a hit, he asked Mel if he could record it before Mel offered the song to anyone else.  Within a week, Nat had gone to the studio and recorded it.  Released October 1946, the song stayed in the top ten for two months, then hit the charts again in 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1954. 
Now considered a holiday classic,
"The Christmas Song"
was significant at the time because it was the first holiday standard that was recorded and introduced by an African American.
 Although it has been recorded by more than a hundred other artists, including Torme himself, the song will be forever linked to the voice of Cole.  In much the same way that the holiday season isn't complete without hearing Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas," millions feel the same way about "The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole. 

Go to Nat King Cole' live performance of the original version of "The Christmas Song" from 1946.
Click Here

~ Deck The Halls ~

The music to Deck the Halls is believed to be Welsh in origin and was reputed to have come from a tune called "Nos Galan" dating back to the sixteenth century.
In the eighteenth century Mozart used the tune to Deck the Halls for a violin and piano duet. J.P. McCaskey is sometimes credited with the lyrics but he only edited the Franklin Square Song Collection in which the lyrics were first published.
The first publication date of Deck the Halls is 1881. The author is unknown but the words are said to originate in America.

~ Do You Hear
What I Hear

Although the names of Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne may not be familiar, the pair had a string of successful songs in late '50s and early '60s with Regney writing the music and Shayne the lyrics. They include "Rain, Rain, Go Away," recorded by Bobby Vinton, and "Dominque" by The Singing Nun. Shayne also had several hits writing with others like "Goodbye Cruel World," by Bobby Darin, "The Men in My Little Girl's Life," by Mike Douglas and "Almost There," by Andy Williams.
Their masterpiece, however, is
"Do You Hear What I Hear?"
Regney (1922-2002) was a Frenchman trained as a classical composer who was drafted into the German army in World War II. He deserted and joined the French Resistance. After the war ended, he joined the French Overseas Radio Service and worked out of French Indochina until moving to Manhattan in 1952. Regney met Gloria Shayne while she was working as a pianist in a hotel dining room and married her a month later.
Regney and Shayne wrote "Do You Hear What I Hear" in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Regney drew the image of Jesus as a newborn lamb from Matthew 2:9 and 2:11 and took his lyrics to his wife to set in the reverse of their usual practice. But while it is often taken for a Christmas carol, for Regney and Shayne "Do You Hear What I Hear" is a hymn to peace by a man who had experienced the horrors of war. "I am amazed that people can think they know the song," Regney later said, "and not know it was a prayer for peace." Although the song has been recorded by Bing Crosby, Perry Como and over 120 others, Regney and Shayne's favorite recording was Robert Goulet's 1963 recording for its dramatic delivery and his climatic "Pray for peace,
people everywhere."
Many people mistakenly assume this Christmas classic has been around for years and that it is of European origin. But it was written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a powerful plea for peace
The song's message of peace is as desperately needed today as it was then.

See Robert Goulet's live performance of
"Do You Hear What I Hear"

Click Here

~ Feliz Navidad ~

Puerto Rico singer, Jose Feliciano, was coming off a huge hit with a remake of the Doors' "Light My Fire" when he recorded this. Belting out, "I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart," Jose's has become a Christmas Classic. The 1970 recording was produced by Rick Jarrard, whose idea it was to add the horns. It is one of the 25 most played and recorded Christmas songs around the world. Feliciano's original recording is the title track of his 1970 album.
Feliciano was born blind due to congenital glaucoma, September 8, 1945. He was five when his family moved to New York City. This bilingual holiday classic comprises a simple English verse with a Spanish chorus, "Feliz Navidad, prospero ano y felicidad"  that translates as "Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness." The song's composer told Billboard magazine: "If I had left in Spanish only, then I knew the English stations might not play it, so I decided to write an English lyric, 'I want to wish you a merry Christmas.' And then there was no way the stations could lock that song out of the programming."
Jose Feliciano's original version of the song first charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1998, peaking at #70. It returned to the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated the week of January 7, 2017 reaching #44.

Watch Jose Feliciano's live performance of "Feliz Navidad"-
Click Here

~ Frosty The Snowman ~

Imitation is the sincerest form of capitalizing on someone else's idea. So it went with the writing duo of Jack Nelson and Steve Rollins in 1949, as Gene Autry's performance of John Marks' "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
sold 2 million copies in its first season. Three things came to mind:
1) We could write something that stupid.
2) Those guys are making a fortune.
3) We want money, too.
Ipso facto, "Frosty."
Over the course of the winter, the pair had ascribed anthropomorphic qualities to any number of holiday trappings before they finally came across the concept of the irrepressible snowman.
They tin-pan alleyed a catchy tune from it, and before summer was warm they found themselves at the doorstep of Mr. Autry, promising him they had 'the next big thing' for the Christmas to come. Autry was an easy sale; he was hoping for a chance to follow up on last year's triumph, and snatched it up greedily.
Somehow, it worked. It was another hit - not a Rudolph by a long shot, but it did manage to burrow down into the public consciousness enough that Frosty joined the pantheon of Christmas icons.
Nelson and Rollins sold Autry another song at the same time - just in case.
And that's how the Easter ballad "Here comes Peter Cottontail" was born.
A few of the more popular versions of the song that gets regular airplay each holiday season are from 1963 by The Ronnettes and by Jimmy Durante from the 1969 animated Christmas television special.

Watch The Original 1969 Full Movie
of "Frosty The Snowman"

Click Here

~ God, Rest Ye,
Merry Gentlemen ~

This is a traditional English carol dating back to the 16th or 17th century. It was first published in England in 1833, when it appeared in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.
Ancient and Modern also marked the first publication of "The First Noel," "I Saw Three Ships" and other great carols. The arrangement generally used for this carol today first appeared in the 1871 collection, Christmas Carols New and Old by Sir John Stainer and the Reverend H.R. Bramley. Apart From "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," their compilation also included Stainer's arrangements of what were to become the standard versions of "Good King Wenceslas," and "What Child Is This?" When the character Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol heard this cheerful carol, he grabbed a ruler and made the singer flee in terror.
Bing Crosby recorded the classic on June 8, 1942 with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra and Max Terr's Mixed Chorus. It was included on his Merry Christmas album of gramophone records released in 1945 on Decca Records. The collection consisted of ten songs on five 78 records, all of which had been previously released. Each one had a holiday theme with the exception of "Danny Boy." Prior to the long-playing album era, such assemblies were not common for popular music.
The album itself has sold over 15 million copies, and is the best-selling Christmas album of all-time.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the familiar Christmas carol is the confusion surrounding the punctuation of its title. The song, which originated in England in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, properly "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," "God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen," "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," or some other permutation? Journalist/music critic Harold Schonberg devoted an entire article to the subject in 1971, tracing the work's history through a myriad of nineteenth-century editions. Citing an 1893 reprint (which itself might have introduced an error) of the earliest known source of the words, a broadsheet in the Roxburghe Collection of the British Museum, Schonberg determined that the original was "God Rest You,
Merry Gentlemen.

~ Handel's 'Messiah' ~

The creation of Handel's Messiah was actually induced by George Frederick Handel's librettist, Charles Jennens. Jennens expressed in a letter to his friend that he wanted to create a Scriptural anthology set to music by Handel. Jennens' desire quickly turned into reality when Handel composed the entire work in only twenty-four days. Jennens wished for a London debut in the days leading to Easter, however, a doubtful Handel anticipated such a wish would not be granted. A year after the work was completed, Handel received an invitation to perform his music in Dublin to which he joyously agreed.
In his book, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Patrick Kavanaugh tells how Handel barely ate during the 24 days he wrote "Messiah." At one point, the composer had tears in his eyes and cried out to his servant, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself." He had just finished writing the "Hallelujah" Chorus.
Amazingly, "Messiah" came at a time in his life when the 56-year-old Handel was facing bankruptcy and complete failure. He also had serious health problems. Also, some Church of England authorities were apparently critical of him and his work. He seemed all washed up - with his future behind him. But writing "Messiah" proved to be the positive turning point in his life.
Handel was born in Germany. His father wanted him to study law, but George Frederick had an aptitude for music, which was clear early on. His mother bought him a harpsichord, which they kept up in the attic, secret from his father. By the time he was twelve, Handel wrote his first work. Later, after his father's death, he tried to study law, but he had no interest. So he studied music at the University of Halle.
In 1712, Handel moved to England and never returned to Germany. While he experienced various successes through various compositions, including operas and sacred operas (oratorios, based on biblical themes), Kavanaugh notes that his failures threatened to overwhelm Handel: "His occasional commercial successes soon met with financial disaster...He drove himself relentlessly to recover from one failure after another, and finally his health began to fail. By 1741 he was swimming in debt. It seemed certain he would land in debtor's prison."
But 1741 proved to be the turning point. On the one hand, he gave what he feared was his farewell concert. On the other hand, Jennens, gave him the libretto (a text) for a sacred work. It was essentially 73 Bible verses, every word coming from the King James Version of the Bible. 42 of the verses come from the Old Testament, including many passages from the Psalms and Isaiah. Thirty-one come from the New Testament.
A charity in Dublin paid him money to write something for a charity performance. "Messiah" was the result, and it
was very successful. According to one source, proceeds freed 142 men
from debtors' prison.

~ Happy Holidays ~

Most people know that Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas." But many are unaware that he also wrote the standard, "Happy Holiday." Berlin wrote both songs for the 1942 film Holiday Inn. In fact, he wrote all 12 songs for for the film.
It expresses simple good wishes for the holiday season. "Happy Holiday" was introduced by Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds in the movie in a scene when the Inn opens for the first time. While it is commonly regarded as a Christmas song, in the film it is performed on New Year's Eve, and expresses a wish for the listener to enjoy "happy holidays" throughout the entire year. The film received a 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song (Irving Berlin for "White Christmas"), as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Score (Robert Emmett Dolan) and Best Original Story (Irving Berlin).
Jo Stafford was the first to release "Happy Holidays" on a Christmas album, on her album of the same name in 1955.
Bing Crosby recorded the song on June 1, 1942, for Decca Records with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra, plus The Music Maids and Hal. Crosby also used the song as the introduction to his long-running A Christmas Sing with Bing radio shows. Andy Williams probably gets the more airplay each season. He did it in a medley with "The Holiday Season"), on his 1963 album The Andy Williams
Christmas Album.

See Andy Williams' live performance
of "Happy Holiday"

Click Here

~ Hark the Herald
Angels Sing ~

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder of the Methodist church, in 1739. A sombre man, he requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was sung to a different tune initially.
Over a hundred years later Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed a cantata in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. English musician William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn's music to fit the lyrics of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" already written by Wesley.
 Three hundred and fifty years later, its still going strong. Think the latest Lady Gaga hit will last that long?

See Amy Grant's live performance of "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing?" along with Art Garfunkle and Dennis Weaver
Click Here

~ Have A Holly
Jolly Christmas ~

"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" is a 1962 Christmas song written by Johnny Marks, who also wrote "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree", "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," and Chuck Berry's "Run, Run, Rudolph."
It is most famously performed by Burl Ives. The song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members, for the first five years of the 21st century.
The song was featured in the 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which Burl Ives voiced the narrator, Sam the Snowman. Originally to be sung by Larry D. Mann as Yukon Cornelius, the song, as well as "Silver and Gold," was given to Burl Ives due to his singing fame
This version was also included on the soundtrack album for the special and later released as a single.
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" was re-recorded by Ives for his 1965 holiday album, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. This version of the song has a somewhat slower arrangement than the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer version and features an acoustic guitar solo introduction; it is this version that has since become the more commonly heard rendition on radio. The song's enduring popularity is evidenced by its reaching #30 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1998, as well as #21 on the US Country Digital Songs chart and #5 on the Holiday 100 chart in 2011.

See Burl I'ves' original video of
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas"

Click Here

~ Have Yourself A
Merry Little Christmas

Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, Hall of Fame writers who had written music for such movie classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Girl Crazy, were contracted by MGM to write the music for Meet Me In St. Louis, which starred Mary Astor, June Lockhart, Margaret O'Brien, and a twenty-two year old who had made her big screen debut five years earlier as a girl from Kansas with her little dog, Judy Garland.
 The plot in the movie called for Judy's character, Esther, to sing a song to her little sister, Tootie, who was worried that the family's impending move from New York City to Missouri would cause Santa Claus from being able to find her.  The scene was set on Christmas Eve night with Esther and Tootie looking out from an upstairs window onto a snow covered front lawn.
Martin and Blane felt the movie had taken
a sudden tender and sad turn and that the song Judy was about to sing should reflect the pain she was feeling.  The song's first lines were "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last; next year will be living in the past." They brought the song to Judy, who promptly refused to sing the song the way it was written. 
She sent the song back and requested that they put a more uplifting spin on it. 
The film's director, and Judy's future husband, Vincente Minelli, Liza's dad, also felt this way and required the songwriters to recreate the film's crucial musical moment.
 Judy based this request on the fact that during her time off from making movies, she had spent countless days entertaining troops across the world.  She knew from her interaction with the troops that they all just wanted to live through the war and return home.  Her instinct was that "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" would provide them with hope that they would return home.
Martin and Blane reworked the song with a more encouraging opening: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light; from now on our troubles will be out of sight." 
Judy approved of the new lyrics and saw it as the perfect anthem for all those troops who wanted more than anything else to be
home for Christmas.

See Judy Garland's' original performance of "Have Yourself A
Merry Little Christmas" From
"Meet Me In St. Louis"

Click Here

~ Here Comes
Santa Claus

Gene Autry has played a pivotal role in three of the best-known Christmas songs. Two of them, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" were written for him, and his performances of them made them famous. The first, however - "Here comes Santa Claus" - he had a hand in writing, as well.
 According to Autry, he was inspired to the lyrics in 1947 while riding ahead of the Santa float on his horse down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, in the annual Hollywood Christmas parade. At the time he was at the top of his profession, and was a bit confused that, as he cantered around on his world-famous horse and waved, the kids could care less. They just looked past him, and down the street, screaming at the top of their lungs about their sighting: "Here comes Santa Claus! Here Comes Santa Claus!!"
So he put it to song with friend
Oakley Haldeman


~ I'll Be Home
For Christmas

Probably one of the most simplistic of all holiday songs, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" was penned by Walter Kent and James "Kim" Gannon. It contains an introduction, one verse, one chorus, and a mere twelve lines.  Originally from Brooklyn, Gannon called upon his every day experiences of watching families say good bye to their sons going off to war; churches filled to the maximum with parents praying for the safe return of their children; the rush towards the mailman with the hopes of a letter from an enlisted
family member. 
He also saw the fear in people's eyes when the telegraph delivery man showed up in the neighborhood; the news reports of the latest outbreak of war in places that had been mentioned in the last letter home; the streets filled with holiday decorations, but the feeling of joy
missing from the air.
 With all this in mind, Gannon could have easily tried to incorporate all these components into a complicated song. Instead, he wrote a simple, straight forward song about the pain of being away from home for the holidays. 
 When he finished his poem, Gannon took the song to composer Walter Kent, who put the right melody and feel to the words. Kent realized the song was about two things: a message from the family members left behind telling the soldiers that they missed them terribly and a message from the soldiers telling those family members not to give up hope and that the soldiers would return home soon.
In October of 1943, Bing Crosby recorded the song as a follow up to his enormous hit of 1942, "White Christmas." As big as "White Christmas" was, when "I'll Be Home For Christmas" was released, it initially received more airplay and produced more sales than the singer's hit of the previous year.  More than seventy years after its release, it remains one of the most requested songs every holiday season by members of our
armed forces.

Hear Josh Groban's
"I'll Be Home For Christmas"

Click Here

~ It Came Upon A
Midnight Clear

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear was written by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849. The carol started as a poem written by its author who was a minister living in Massachusetts at the time. The music for It Came Upon A Midnight Clear was composed a decade later by American musician Richard Storrs Willis in 1859 who was inspired by the words of the poem.

Hear Sixpence None
The Richer's version of
"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear"

Click Here

~ It's Beginning To Look
A Lot Like Christmas

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
is a classic Christmas song written in 1951 by Meredith Willson,
who wrote the Broadway play The Music Man, which included his famous songs "76 Trombones" and "'Till There Was You."
The song was originally titled "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas",
and celebrates that time when Christmas decorations appear in stores and public displays, which has been earlier and earlier in recent years. There are some dated references in the song, such as the "five and ten," which is a store selling inexpensive items. The "Hopalong boots" the child wishes for are a reference to those worn by the fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy, a popular TV show in the 1950s.
The classic has been recorded by many artists, but was a hit by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra on September 10, 1951 and released on RCA Victor as a (45 rpm) single (78 rpm). Bing Crosby recorded a version on October 1, 1951 which was also widely played.
Johnny Mathis recorded this in 1971 for his second Christmas album. His version was used in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and gradually received more airplay than Como's. Andy Williams and Dean Martin also recorded popular versions of the song. Michael Buble covered the song and released it on his holiday album, Christmas. His version debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated December 17, 2011.

See a performance of
"It's Beginning To Look A Lot
Like Christmas" from
"The Perry Como Show"
Click Here

~ It's The Most Wonderful Time
Of The Year

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album. However, the song was not released as a promotional single by Columbia Records that year, as they instead opted to promote his cover of "White Christmas" as the official promo single from the album.
The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season, focusing primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. Among the activities included in the song is the telling of "scary ghost stories," a Victorian Christmas tradition that has mostly fallen into disuse, but survives in the seasonal popularity of numerous adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Other activities mentioned include hosting parties, spontaneous visits from friends, universal social gaiety, spending time with loved ones, sledding for children, roasting marshmallows, sharing stories about previous Christmases, and singing Christmas carols in winter weather.
In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year": "George Wyle, who is a vocal director, who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets and trios and things that I did with all the guests, he wrote a song just for the show - I think the second Christmas show we did - called "Most Wonderful Time of the Year".
So I did that, you know, every Christmas, and then other people started doing it. And it's become over 30 years a big standard. I think it's one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time now."
In the issue of Billboard magazine dated November 28, 2009, the list of the "Top 10 Holiday Songs (Since 2001)" places the Williams recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" at No. 5. (ASCAP) ranked it at No. 4 in 2010.
The song was selected as the theme song for Christmas Seals in both 2009 and 2012.

See A Collage of Songs From Andy Williams 12 Years of Christmas Specials Including A Performance of "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"
Click Here

See Amy Grant's live performance of her popular version of
"It's The Most Wonderful Time
Of The Year"

Click Here

~ Jingle Bells ~

Born in the small town of Medford, Mass., James Pierpont showed great musical promise as a singer, songwriter, and organ player throughout his youth and into early adulthood.  His father was the pastor of the town's Unitarian church with James being called upon to assist with the choirs and musicians
in the church. 
James was given the task of writing music to use with a Thanksgiving service his father would preside over.
As James was working on his musical assignment, he became distracted by a bunch of young boys who were playing outside his window.  The boys were riding their sleds down a nearby hill. 
James decided to take a break and watch the boys and began to recall times in his youth when he raced sleds and sleighs with strands of bells attached to them... 
Bells that would "jingle" as he raced
the sleds and sleighs.
The sled races inspired James and he began to write down a melody.  Unfortunately, James did not have a piano, so he had to trudge through the snow and walk to the home of Mrs. Waterman, the only home in Medford with a piano. 
He explained his story and Mrs. Waterman let him sit down at the piano and play the tune.
When he finished, he went home and began to write down words to
go with the melody. 
Using the images he had seen earlier
in the day and his recollections of his youth, James put the finishing touches on "One Horse Open Sleigh," the original name of the song that would soon become
known as "Jingle Bells."
"One Horse Open Sleigh"
was debuted on Thanksgiving at the Medford Unitarian Church's
annual service. 
At that time, Thanksgiving was the most significant holiday in New England, so a large number of people heard the song.  So many people heard it and liked it, that they requested it be performed again the following month at the church's Christmas celebration. 
The Christmas performance exposed the song to hundreds of out of town visitors who liked the song so much, they brought it back to their
own home towns. 
Because they had heard the song on Christmas Day, they assumed the song was written about Christmas, not Thanksgiving. Though it wasn't published until 1857 following James' move to Savannah, Georgia, and wasn't renamed "Jingle Bells" until 1859, the song captured the imagery of an ideal rural Christmas
with snow, sleighs, and jingle bells that provided the inspiration for hundreds of greeting cards, books, movies, and even other holiday songs, like Bobby Helms'
Jingle Bell Rock."

See A Mickey Mouse Animation Video of "Jingle Bells"
Click Here

~ Jingle Bell Rock ~

"Jingle Bell Rock" is an American popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957 (after it was recorded in October 1957). It has received frequent airplay in the United States during every Christmas season since then. "Jingle Bell Rock" was composed by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe. Beal was a Massachusetts-born public relations professional and longtime resident of Atlantic City, NJ, and Boothe was an American writer in the advertising business.
"Jingle Bell Rock" has been performed by many, but Helms' version is the best known. The song's title and some of its lyrics are an extension of the old Christmas standard, "Jingle Bells". It makes brief references to other popular songs of the 1950s, such as "Rock Around the Clock", and mentions going to a "Jingle hop". An electric guitar played by Hank Garland can be heard playing the first notes of the chorus of "Jingle Bells".
Helms' original version charted at No. 13 on Billboard's Most Played C&W chart. It also crossed to the pop charts, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart, and at No. 11 on Cashbox magazine's January 11, 1958 chart.
As of November 25, 2016, total sales of the digital track of Helms' original Decca recording stand at 780,000 downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan, placing it ninth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history.

~ Joy To The World ~

Jeremiah was not a bullfrog in this version of that title. The words and lyrics of the old carol 'Joy to the World' were written in 1719 by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). The father of John Watts was a Non-conformist and so extreme were his views that he was imprisoned twice. Watts was ordained as a Pastor of an Independent congregation. He wrote many hymns and Carols and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Edinburgh in 1728. The music to the carol is by George Frederick Handel

Watch a live performance of Mannheim Steamroller's popular version of "Joy To The World" - 
Click Here

~ Let It Snow ~

The wonderful Christmas song Let It Snow was created by lyricist Sammy Cahn and the composer Jule Styne in 1945. The duo wrote a slew of hits including "Three Coins in a Fountain," "It's Magic,"
"Time After Time," "I Believe,"
"Call Me Irresponsible," and
"My Kind of Town."

The words and lyrics of Let It Snow reflect the feeling of warmth and
 security associated with Christmas
and brings in the more modern
customs of popping corn!
The song was reprised in recent years when used in the Bruce Willis film Die Hard, which started with the film's hero travelling to meet his family at Christmas. Andy Williams has the most recognizable version of the song, recorded in the mid-1960's.

Hear Andy Williams singing
"Let It Snow"

Click Here

~ Little Drummer Boy ~

The words and music to the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy were composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone in 1958. The lyrics consist of no less than 21 rum pum pum pum' - a major part of the song and therefore presenting an apparently easy task for the lyricist! However, Little Drummer Boy has been a huge hit for several artists. The most notable rendition was created by the most unlikely combination of Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
This 1976 version of Little Drummer Boy was a massive hit for the artists and was in fact Bing's most successful recording since the legendary White Christmas thirty years earlier.
Crosby died shortly after within a week of the death of
Elvis Presley.

See Bing Crosby's famous duet with David Bowie doing the medley "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy"

Click Here

~ Mary Did You Know ~

"Mary, Did You Know?" is a Christmas song with lyrics written by Mark Lowry and music written by Buddy Greene. It was originally recorded by Christian recording artist Michael English on his self-titled debut solo album in 1991 (English and Lowry were both members of the Gaither Vocal Band at the time).
It reached No. 6 on CCM Magazine's AC Chart. Lowry would record the song several times himself, most notably with the Gaither Vocal Band on their 1998 Christmas album Still the Greatest Story Ever Told.
The song has since gone on to become a modern Christmas classic, being recorded by many artists over the years across multiple genres.
The song was also used as the basis for a stage musical, also titled Mary, Did You Know and written by Bruce Greer, that won the 1999 Dove Award for Musical of the Year. Among the most popular versions are by Kenny Rogers and by Pentatonix.

See Pentatonix' Official Video for "Mary Did You Know"
Click Here

~ Merry Christmas, Darling ~

This was the Carpenters' first attempt at Christmas music. The lyric was originally written in 1946 by Frank Pooler when he was 18. Frank was the choir director at California State University, Long Beach. Karen and Richard Carpenter were both part of the choir. In 1966, at Pooler's request, Richard composed the music for this ballad, which was first released in 1970. This sparked the interest and idea of a Christmas album by the Carpenters, and on October 13, 1978, Christmas Portrait was released. It was first available on a 7-inch single in 1970 and was later re-issued in 1974 and again in 1977. The single went to number one on Billboard's Christmas singles chart in 1970, and did so again
in 1971 and 1973.
In 1978, the Carpenters issued their Christmas Portrait album, which contained a new version of "Merry Christmas Darling." Richard Carpenter himself calls the original recording one of his sister's very best. Karen once said: "'Merry Christmas Darling' I think, is a little extra special to both of us, because Richard wrote it, and the lyrics were written by the choral director at Long Beach State choir, where we went to school, Frank Pooler.
"Frank was very helpful in our college days, when we were trying to get a contract and constantly missing classes and everything. "He was the only one down there who actually understood what we were after, and he stood behind us all the way.
"We just did a benefit at Long Beach state, for a scholarship fund, and we did it with the choir and the whole thing, and we did 'Christmas Darling' and he just glows every time we do it. I think it's my favorite, because it's really close to me."
Pooler died January 19, 2013 from lung cancer at his home in Los Alamitos, California.

See The Carpenters'
"Merry Christmas Darling"

Click Here

(See Handel's Messiah)

~ The First Noel ~

The First Noel, also known as Oh Tannenbaum, is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be English dating back to the sixteenth century. There is a misconception that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell.
After England was captured by the Normans, numerous words were adopted from the Norman French language and Noel was re-spelled as Nowell, early printed versions of this carol use the Nowell spelling. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by
William B. Sandys.
A Tannenbaum is a fir tree. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir's evergreen quality as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness.

See Johnny Mathis' original recording of The First Noel from 1958's "Merry Christmas"

Click Here

~ O Christmas Tree! ~

"O Christmas Tree" is a traditional German Carol. The author of the lyrics are unknown as is the composer of the tune. The tradition of bringing a tree inside and decorating it with candy, baubles and bells was started in the nineteenth century and is immortalized in the carol O Christmas Tree lyrics.
The carol, which is also known by it's German title, "O Tannenbaum," has been performed and recorded by hundreds of artists over the centuries
One of the more popular versions was a jazzy instrumental from
"A Charlie Brown Christmas.

See A Charlie Brown Christmas - "O Tannenbaum"
Click Here

See Tony Bennett's version of
"Oh Christmas Tree"

Click Here

~ O Come All
Ye Faithful!

The text to the carol O Come All Ye Faithful was originally written in Latin (Adeste Fideles) and was intended to be a hymn. It is attributed to John Wade, an Englishman. The music to O Come All Ye Faithful was composed by fellow Englishman John Reading in the early 1700s. The tune was first published in
a collection known as
"Cantus Diversi" in 1751.
In 1841 Rev. Frederick Oakley
worked on the familiar translation of
O Come All Ye Faithful
which replaced the older Latin lyrics
"Adeste Fideles".

Watch Celtic Woman's live performance of "O Come All
Ye Faithful"
from 2010.
Click Here

~ O Holy Night ~

The words and lyrics of the old carol 'O Holy Night'  were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade but was asked by the parish priest to write a poem for Christmas. He obliged and wrote the beautiful words of the hymn. He realized that it should have music to accompany the words and approached his friend Adolphe Charles Adams (1803-1856). The music for the poem was composed by Adams. Adolphe had attended the Paris conservatoire and forged a brilliant career as a composer. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).

See Celine Dion's live performance of "O Holy Night"
Click Here

See Trans Siberian Orchestra's live performance of "O Holy Night"
Click Here

~ O Little Town of Bethlehem! ~

Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia, wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially at night time, hence
the lyrics of
O Little Town of Bethlehem.

His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the melody for the Sunday school children's choir. 




~ Please Come Home For Christmas
(Bells Will Be Ringing)

Rector Phillips Brooks "Please Come Home for Christmas" is a Christmas song, released in 1960, by the American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown. The title is often thought to be "Bells Will Be Ringing", which are the first four words of the song.
Hitting Billboard's Hot 100 chart in December 1961, the tune Brown co-wrote with Gene Redd peaked at position #76. It appeared on the Christmas Singles chart for nine seasons, hitting #1 in 1972.
It includes a number of characteristics of Christmas music, such as multiple references in the lyrics to the Christmas season and Christmas traditions, and the use of a Church bell type sound,
created using a piano,
at the start of the song.
In 1978, the rock band Eagles covered and released the song as a holiday single. Their version peaked at #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the first Christmas song to reach the Top 20 on that chart since Roy Orbison's "Pretty Paper" in 1963. This was the first Eagles song to feature Timothy B. Schmit on bass (having replaced founding member Randy Meisner the previous year). The lineup features Don Henley (drums/vocals), Glenn Frey (piano, backing vocals), Joe Walsh (guitar, backing vocals), Schmit (bass/backing vocals), and Don Felder (lead guitar). Originally released as a vinyl 7" single, it was re-released as a CD single in 1995, reaching #15 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This version includes the lyrics "bells will be ringing the sad, sad news" (that is, a Christmas alone) as opposed to Brown's original version which references the "glad, glad news"
(that is, Christmas in general). 

~ Rocking Around
the Christmas Tree

His name will come up again with a few other Christmas classics.
Johnny Marks, the fella who wrote "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas," Chuck Berry's "Run, Rudolph, Run," "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and the rest of the songs from the Rankin-Bass animated feature shot yet another seasonal hit onto the airwaves with this sock-hop favorite written in 1942 and recorded by Georgia native, Brenda Lee ("I'm Sorry," "Sweet Nothings"), who was inaugurated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
in March, 2002.
Marks himself is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame,
based mainly on the strength of his Christmas offerings.
Oh - By the way...Johnny Marks
is Jewish, as are the writers of 8 out
of the 10 most popular Christmas
songs of all time.

See Brenda Lee's live performance of "Rockin' Around
The Christmas Tree"

Click Here

~ Rudolph The 
Red-Nosed Reindeer

Bob May's family was decimated by the financial struggles that the
Great Depression inflicted on millions of Americans.  Though he had a college degree, Bob took a job at Montgomery Ward's as an advertising copywriter to
support his family.  Though times were difficult, the Mays were able to stay afloat. But illness struck Bob's wife, Evelyn, when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1936.  The family's savings had to be used to help battle the disease.  After two years of fighting, Evelyn was getting worse and it became apparent she would not survive. 
Bob and Evelyn's four year old daughter wanted to know what was wrong with her mother and why she wasn't like other mothers. 
Bob wanted Barbara to understand that there was always hope and that being different wasn't necessarily
a bad thing. Drawing upon his creativity derived from his job, Bob told his daughter a bedtime story about a reindeer with a large, red nose.  He detailed the pain the reindeer felt by being different, but also the joy he felt when he realized his differences could be used to help others. 
Barbara loved the story and asked that Bob tell it to her every night before bed.  As the days and weeks went by, the story became more and more elaborate.  Bob even gave the reindeer a name: Rudolph. Unable to purchase a gift for Barbara, Bob decided to put his story onto paper in a homemade book.  Using his skills as a copywriter and artist, Bob drew all the pictures for the book as well.  Shortly before Christmas arrived, Evelyn lost her battle with cancer.  But Bob insisted on finishing the book and had a completed copy of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" under the tree on Christmas
 morning for Barbara.
At the Montgomery Ward holiday party, co-workers who knew of Bob's children's story asked him to read it to them.  Reluctantly, Bob read the story.  The co-workers were so impressed by the story that they asked for copies of their own.  And the chairman of the board of Ward's recognized the reaction to the story and saw a marketing opportunity.  The chairman, Stewell Avery, purchased all the rights to the story from Bob and had thousands of copies printed and shipped to stores across the country in time for Christmas 1939.  For the next six years, any child who visited Santa in a W
ard's store would get a free copy of "Rudolph."
By 1946, Ward's had given away more than six million copies of Rudolph.  With requests for a new version to be printed, in one of the most generous moves ever made by the chairman of a major corporation, Stewell gave all rights back to Bob May. A year later, the release of the newly published and printed version made Bob a wealthy man. A year later, Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks (there's that name again) suggested the story be turned into a song.  Marks, who also wrote "Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," created the lyrics and the music for "Rudolph," and then offered it to a variety of artists, including Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore,
who both passed on the song.
As a last effort, Marks offered the song to country star Gene Autry, who Marks thought might be looking for a follow up to the hit  "Here Comes Santa Claus."  Gene initially also passed on the song, but Marks asked him to give it another chance.  Gene took the song home and played it for his wife Ina.  When Ina heard the line "...they wouldn't let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games," she insisted that Gene record the song.
A few weeks later, Gene performed the song for the first time at a Madison Square Garden rodeo. The song was such a hit, the record label rushed it into the stores for the 1949 holiday season.  "Rudolph" soon became the second best-selling Christmas song of all time, behind only "White Christmas."
The song and the story of the unique reindeer were turned into a television special - which in its own right became a holiday classic - in 1964.  A gift that was designed to comfort a child who had recently lost her mother to illness ended up giving the world one of the most beloved characters of all time.

Hear Gene Autry's original version of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"
from 1949.

Click Here

~ Santa Claus is
Coming to Town

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town," was written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots. After countless versions by stars as varied Elvis Presley, The Jackson 5, Burl Ives, Bruce Springsteen and Perry Como,
 it's hard to believe that Gillespie and Coots' song was turned down all over town because it was "a kid's song."
Even though Coots was a writer on the Eddie Cantor radio show, Cantor at first passed on the song. But just like "Rudolph," it was at the urging of the singer's wife that he agreed to do it. Again, good advice.
 Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters reached the Billboard charts briefly in 1947 with it. Pat Boone had one of the most recognizable versions of the song in 1959 that still gets lots of airplay. The Four Seasons version charted at #23 in 1963.

~ Silent Night ~

The origin of the Christmas carol we know as Silent Night was a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr.
On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was therefore intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass.
Silent Night is the most famous
Christmas carol of all time!.

Hear Perry Como's version of
"Silent Night"
Click Here

~ Silver Bells ~

Jay Livingston and Ray Evans met while both were students at the University of Pennsylvania.  Following their graduation in 1937, both moved to New York City where they took up residence in the famed Tin Pan Alley - a hotbed of musical creativity.  The duo moved to Hollywood in 1945, where they began to work for Paramount Pictures.  It was at Paramount that the duo enjoyed their biggest successes, including Best Song Oscars for
"Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be
Will Be)," "Mona Lisa," "Buttons and Bows,"
and "Tammy."
Bob Hope was one of the biggest stars of the 20th Century.  He was a comic, radio performer, actor, and television star.  He garnered additional notoriety beginning in 1942 for spending every holiday season with the men and women in uniform of the US Armed Forces.  Because of his work with the Armed Forces during his lifetime, he became the most honored private citizen in history, as well as becoming known as "Mr. Christmas" to the troops, even though he had never had a successful Christmas movie or recorded a successful Christmas song. 
That would change in 1951 with the release of The Lemon Drop Kid. 
The movie was set in the city, which was a new setting for a holiday movie.  Most of the era's holiday movies were set in the country. With a city as the backdrop, Livingston and Evans were asked to create songs that were designed for urban life.  While playing with a small silver bell and discussing holiday scenes in the city, the two began to visualize the way streets and display windows were decorated, happy shoppers, blinking red and green stoplights (yellow lights had not yet been added), and children waiting in line to meet Santa.  The elements of the song quickly came together.
Unable to perform the song for Bob,
the duo decided to sing it to Ray's wife.Upon hearing the song, she
began laughing. 
Confused, Jay and Ray asked her why she was laughing.  She told them to listen to the lyrics they had written: "Tinker bell, tinker bell, it's Christmastime in the city," was what was originally written, with
"Tinker Bells" being the name of the song.  Seeing the error in their choice of words, they replaced the word tinker with silver and a holiday favorite was born. Though The Lemon Drop Kid starring Bob Hope was a moderate success, the song was a huge hit.  Bob was the first one to sing it and he continued to do so during all his holiday USO tours. But, the song didn't find mass public appeal until Bob's close friend, Bing Crosby, recorded the song. 
It gained even greater popularity when Kate Smith, recorded her version
of the seasonal favorite.
A favorite for the millions of those who had moved to urban areas following World War II - including President John F. Kennedy who named the song his favorite Christmas tune - the song reflected what a new generation of Americans was experiencing: Christmas in the city.

See the original version of "Silver Bells" with Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell from "Lemon Drop Kid"

Click Here

~ Sleigh Ride ~

Best remembered for "The Syncopated Clock" and this holiday classic Leroy Anderson was one of America's most popular composers of light, melodic orchestral music. A talented conductor and arranger, he had a particular knack for creating humorous sound effects with standard orchestral
instruments and percussion.
In the middle of a hot 1947 summer Anderson was living in Woodbury, Connecticut. He began work on the piece that would become "Sleigh Ride"; completed the following year, the tune would become a Christmas classic, thanks to Anderson's imaginative sound effects (sleigh bells, clopping hooves, cracking whips, and neighing trumpets.
Words were added by
Mitchell Parish
in 1950, who added words to six other Anderson works
after they became popular.

Hear Leroy Anderson's original performance of "Sleigh Ride"
Click Here

Watch Amy Grant's live performance of "Sleighride" - Click Here

~ There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays ~

This popular Christmas tune was written by Perry Como's frequent accompanist Robert Allen and lyricist Al Stillman, who teamed up to write several hits of the era for Como, The Four Lads (Moments To Remember) and Johnny Mathis (Chances Are). Como recorded it as a single in 1954 and again in 1959 for his Season's Greetings From Perry Como album, which features a different arrangement and accompaniment from the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers. Both versions are staples of Christmas compilations and are frequently played on the radio during the season.
Around a decade earlier, Bing Crosby debuted "I'll Be Home for Christmas," a melancholy Christmas standard about a soldier stationed overseas who dreams of coming home for the holidays. Como's tune shares the sentiment, albeit in a more upbeat fashion. His characters actually do make it home in time for the festivities, braving holiday gridlock ("gee, the traffic is terrific!") for a slice of homemade pumpkin pie.
Allen's widow, Patty K. Allen, later said that producer Mitch Miller gave the songwriting duo just one day to come up with a holiday hit for Como. Allen retreated to Rockefeller Center and, inspired by the ice skaters, wrote the music that afternoon and gave it to Stillman, who wrote the lyrics that night.
In 2014, the performance rights organization ASCAP recognized its most-performed holiday hits with the Top 30 Holiday Songs of the Century.

See Perry Como perform
"There's No Place Like Home
For The Holidays"
Click Here

~ The Twelve Days
of Christmas

To most , "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public.
It was a crime to BE a Catholic.
 "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb
and the remaining torso.
The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves =
The Old and New Testaments.
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues.
4 Calling Birds = the 4 Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists.
5 Golden Rings = The first 5 Books
of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's
fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying =
The 6 days of creation.
7 Swans A-swimming = the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments.
8 Maids A-milking = the 8 beatitudes.
9 Ladies Dancing =
the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10 Lords A-leaping =
the 10 commandments.
11 Pipers Piping =
the 11 faithful apostles.
12 Drummers Drumming = the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed.

One of the biggest versions of
"12 Days of Christmas" was by John Denver and the Muppets" To see it,

Click Here

~ We Need A Little Christmas ~

 In 1966 the Broadway musical Mame made it's debut starring Angela Lansbury in the title role. She may be best known for her role in Murder She Wrote. The play brought the song (and many others) We Need a Little Christmas to the vast collection of classics that gets replayed, re-recorded and remembered so much every holiday season. It was later recorded in 1974 by Lucille Ball in the motion picture.
Music and lyrics are by Jerry Herman. We're introduced to the title character as a high-flying member of 1920s New York society. But then the stock market crashes in late October 1929 and she loses everything. Not being one to dwell in negativity, Mame throws a party and decorates the house for the most festive holiday she can think of.
Percy Faith had one of the biggest hits with it in 1966. Kimberley Locke charted in 2008 and the Glee TV show hit #15 with it in 2010.
The song is notably featured at the very beginning of A Muppet Family Christmas, in which it is performed by the cast of The Muppet Show as they drive to Ma Bear's farmhouse for Christmas.. We Need a Little Christmas was the title of the fifth Christmas album by American pop singer
Andy Williams
in 1995.

See Percy Faith's hit version of
"We Need A Little Christmas"

Click Here

~ We Three Kings
of Orient Are

The famous American carol We Three Kings of Orient Are was written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins. The minister assembled an elaborate Christmas pageant, for which he wrote both words and music, for the General Theological Seminary in New York City, where he was instructor in church music. One of the selections dealt with the Wise Men who came from the East, and for this
part of the pageant,
Hopkins created one of America's
most beloved carols.
The three kings, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, brought: gold, traditionally the metal of royalty; frankincense, an aromatic bark whose smoke was though to reach the gates of heaven; and myrrh, am unguent used in the preparation of bodies for burial.
The gifts thus signified Jesus' kingship, His oneness with God, and His
eventual death on the cross.

~ We Wish You A
Merry Christmas!

The author and composer of We Wish You a Merry Christmas cannot be traced, however it is believed to date back to England in the sixteenth century. The tradition of carolers being given Christmas treats for singing to wealthy members of the community is reflected in this Christmas song - We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
Over the years the fashion for figgy puddings mentioned in the carol has faded. But for the curious, the recipe consisted of the most important ingredient, which was, of course, figs together with butter, sugar, eggs ,milk, rum, apple, lemon and orange peel, nuts, cinnamon, cloves and ginger!
Not dissimilar to the modern day Christmas Puddings!

 ~ What Child Is This? ~

If the 15th century marked the first Golden Age of the Carols, the 19th century was clearly the second. Occasionally their creation was an unusual amalgam of melodies (at least in the eyes of the contemporaries). The carol, What Child Is This? is based on the anonymous Tudor tune, Greensleeves, which is thought to have originally been a love song written for a prostitute. (They wore green sleeves in medieval England.)
Its haunting lyrics were filled with everything but holiday and saintly imagery and even Shakespeare mentioned the song in his play, The Merry Wives of Windsor.
In 1865, an Englishman named William Dix, wrote The Manger Throne, of which three verses evolved into What Child Is This using the Greensleeves melody. Recent popular versions have been recorded by Josh Grobin, Celine Dion, and Andrea Bocelli.

See Andrea Bocelli's live performance of "What Child Is This?"
Click Here

~ White Christmas ~

Born in 1901, Bing Crosby had a long and versatile career in entertainment, including radio, television, stage, and screen.  His successes in all these forms of entertainment made him one of the most popular and profitable stars of all time. In fact, he was the one of the original teen idols for kids in the 1930s before Frank Sinatra took it to new levels in the next decade.
But it will forever be Christmas and the songs surrounding the holiday that put Bing on a first name basis with millions of people the world over. Because of his success and power within Hollywood, the very best songwriters were always available to Bing and were always trying to get him to sing one of their songs. 
One of the best - if not the premier songwriter of the 20th Century - was Irving Berlin.  Born in Russia in 1888 as Israel Baline, he grew up in New York City. In 1911, Irving wrote "Alexander's Rag Time Band," which put him on the path to stardom.  During his 101 years, he also penned much more, too numerous to mention, including, "Blue Skies,"  "Puttin' on the Ritz, "Easter Parade," "Heat Wave," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "God Bless America," and another Christmas classic, "Happy Holiday."  But it was his work for a motion picture score in 1942 that placed Irving into legendary status.
The movie, Holiday Inn, was to star Bing and Fred Astaire. The story line revolved around the holiday season, and thus, the music needed to reflect the plot of the movie.  The one song that was giving him difficulty was one about Christmas itself.  Since Irving was Jewish, being asked to write a song about a holiday he had never
celebrated and didn't fully have insight on was a daunting challenge.
Irving decided to focus on what he did know of Christmas.  As a native New Yorker, when he thought of the season, he remembered snow, ice, cold, etc.  But his surroundings while writing the song - sunny and warm Los Angeles - made him realize that many people didn't have those experiences.  He recognized that one thing that made the holiday special was the idea of a perfect Christmas - one with pure white snow, glistening treetops, and children waiting for Santa's arrival.
When Irving had finished writing the song, he was not convinced the song was good.  He was so unsure about the song he thought about scrapping it entirely and starting over.  But before he did that, he brought it to Bing and sang it for him.  Bing told Irving the song was perfect and not to change a thing.
Bing first performed the song on his Christmas Day radio show in 1941, just three weeks after the United States had entered World War II. 
The song would not be recorded for
six more months, just prior to
Holiday Inn's release in theatres. 
When the song was released following the movie's premiere, it went to the top of the charts and stayed there for twelve straight weeks.  It went on to win the Oscar for best song of 1942.
Over the course of the next twenty years, "White Christmas" charted fifteen more times, hitting number one in 1945 and 1946.  Crosby's single sold more than 30 million records and was the best-selling single in any music category for over 70 years. It eventually spawned the 1954 movie of the same name, White Christmas, starring Bing himself, along with Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.
It is not only the biggest selling Christmas song of all time, but the biggest selling song...period!

See Bing Crosby's live performance of "White Christmas" from 1950
Click Here

~ Winter Wonderland! ~

The famous Christmas song Winter Wonderland was first published in 1934. The composer was Felix Bernard (1897-1944) and the lyricist was Richard B. Smith (1901-1935).
The most popular versions of this classic Christmas song were recorded to high acclaim by the Andrews Sisters, Johnny Mathis and Perry Como, and more recently, Amy Grant. The lyrics of Winter Wonderland have undoubtedly contributed to the magical vision of snow at Christmas together with the tradition of building snowmen, therefore turning fantasy into reality by
creating a real W
inter Wonderland.

See Johnny Mathis' popular classic version of "Winter Wonderland"
Click Here

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Away in a Manger

Blue Christmas

The Chipmunk Song

The Christmas Song
(Chestnuts Roasting
On An Open Fire)

Deck The Halls

Do You Hear
What I Hear

Feliz Navidad

Frosty The Snowman

God, Rest Ye,
Merry Gentlemen

Handel's 'Messiah'

Happy Holidays

Hark the Herald
Angels Sing

Have A Holly
Jolly Christmas

Have Yourself A
Merry Little Christmas

Here Comes
Santa Claus

I'll Be Home
For Christmas

It Came Upon A
Midnight Clear

It's Beginning
To Look
A Lot Like Christmas

It's The Most Wonderful Time
Of The Year

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bell Rock

Joy To The World

Let It Snow

Little Drummer Boy

Mary Did You Know

Merry Christmas, Darling

The First Noel

O Christmas Tree!

O Come All
Ye Faithful!

O Holy Night

O Little Town of Bethlehem!

Please Come Home For Christmas
(Bells Will Be Ringing)

Rocking Around
the Christmas Tree

Rudolph The
Red-Nosed Reindeer

Santa Claus is
Coming to Town

Silent Night

Silver Bells

Sleigh Ride

There's No Place
Like Home For
The Holidays

The Twelve Days
of Christmas

We Need A Little Christmas

We Three Kings
of Orient Are

We Wish You A
Merry Christmas!

What Child Is This?

White Christmas

Winter Wonderland!



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