FAQ for Christmas

White Christmas

by Irving Berlin

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

The History of White Christmas

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Christmas_(song)

"White Christmas" is an Irving Berlin song whose lyrics reminisce about White Christmases. The morning after he wrote the song - Berlin usually stayed up all night writing - the songwriter went to his office and told his musical secretary, "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written - hell, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!"


"Berlin wrote the song in early 1940. A Russian-Jewish immigrant with little direct experience of the holiday, he struggled with writing a Christmas song before hitting on a light-hearted theme. The original verse pokes fun at a well-off Los Angeleno who, amid orange and palm trees, longs for traditional Christmas "up north." Berlin later dropped the verse but kept the now-famous chorus.

"White Christmas" was introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1942 musical Holiday Inn. In the film, he actually sings it in a duet with Marjorie Reynolds. The song went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Song.

The first public performance of the song was also by Crosby, on his top-rated CBS radio show The Kraft Music Hall in December 1941; that performance is not believed to have survived. He recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca Records in just 18 minutes on May 29, 1942, and the song went on to become a mammoth hit single. (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.) In 1942 alone the single spent eleven weeks on top of the charts; it returned to the No. 1 spot again in 1945 and 1947. Eventually, Crosby's version of "White Christmas" sold more than thirty million copies.

Later history

The most familiar version of "White Christmas" is not, however, the one Crosby originally recorded for Decca Record's Holiday Inn album on May 29, 1942. He was called back to the Decca studios on March 19, 1947, to re-record "White Christmas" as a result of damage to the 1942 master due to its frequent use. Every effort was made to reproduce the original Decca recording session, once again backed by the Trotter Orchestra and the Darby Singers. The resulting rerecording is the one that has become most familiar to the public. Crosby himself was dismissive of the achievement, saying later that "a jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully."

The song was also the title theme for the 1954 musical White Christmas, starring Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, which was the biggest-grossing film of 1954.

Crosby's single of "White Christmas" was recognized as the best-selling single in any music category for more than fifty years until it was quickly overtaken in a matter of months by Elton John's tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, "Candle In the Wind 1997". However, Crosby's recording has sold millions of additional copies as part of numerous albums, including his best-selling holiday collection Merry Christmas, which was first released as an LP in 1949 and has never been out-of-print since.

The recording was broadcast on the radio as a pre-arranged signal during the U.S. evacuation of Saigon on April 30, 1975 (see Fall of Saigon).

In 2002, the original 1942 version was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry."

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