Christmas Carols! I really love them. I stop listening around August (because that would be so rude to Halloween, which has few enough songs to honor it) and start up again the week of Thanksgiving. I love them. I’m proud to love them. And I thank God for the folks who wrote them.
So naturally while in line at someplace or other this last week when someone popped up and said, “I love this song. Isn’t it from Meet Me in St. Louis?” The question stuck in my head and has been gnawing at my brain ever since. And as Christmas is drawing neigh, I thought I’d devote this post to some of my favorite songs and waste a little time to see if I can find out where they came from.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland was in fact introduced in 1944 in the movie, Meet Me in St. Louis.
Here Comes Santa Claus was written and performed by Gene Autry. It’s first movie debut was in his 1949 movie The Cowboy and the Indians. I remember it best from The Year Without a Santa Claus and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was adopted into song form in the 1940s by the brother of the man who wrote about Santa’s glowing 9th reindeer. Gene Autry took it to number one in 1949, and it remained the 2nd best-selling song until the 1980s.
White Christmas sung, of course, by Bing Crosby (and written by Iriving Berlin) is from the movie called Holiday Inn. It is the best selling (world-wide) record of all time.
Blue Christmas was originally a hit in 1948 but it is Elvis’s version that speaks to me the most. I love that it was used in the movie The Year Without a Santa Claus.
Jingle Bells is one of my all-time favorites, mostly because everyone can sing it loud and proud. Originally known as One Horse Open Sleigh, it was meant to honor Thanksgiving not Christmas. Ha! Now I can sing it after veteran’s Day and my oldest can’t say a word. It’s one of the oldest non-overtly religious songs on the list having been written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont. And that’s Bob’s tail as in the horse’s name is Bob, although I suppose it could be a person.
Sleigh Ride can only be sung by the Johnny Mathis. Aside from my Sam Cooke album, I bought my record player so I could listen to Johnny and Percy Faith’s Christmas album that I kept from my childhood. The song was first written as an instrumental piece and appeared in 1949. Lyrics were added a year later. Although most consider it a Christmas song, the original lyrics don’t really mention the holiday. Apparently the horse whinnying at the end is actually a trumpet.
Of these songs I only have Sleigh Ride and Blue Christmas on my MP3 player. What are some of favorites? Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee, Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M, Last Christmas by Wham, Marshmallow World by Johnny Mathis, Do You Hear what I Hear by Whitney Houston, Santa Baby by Madonna, I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is You by Vince Vance and the Valiants, Baby It’s Cold Outside by Martina McBride and Dean Martin, Where are you Christmas by Faith Hill, Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls, A New York City Christmas by Rob Thomas, The Santa Claus Boogie by the Tractors, Merry Christmas, Darling by the Carpenters and Louisiana Christmas Day by Aaron Neville.
There are others. Lots of them and I might just add a few more this year.
Merry Christmas Everyone!