Songs of Christmas…White Christmas

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This is part 16 of an Advent/Christmas series titled “Songs of Christmas.” For other parts of the series see the index. The index also contains the introduction for the series.

When I was a kid I remember a trivia question that went around. “What is the best selling music single of all time?” The answer is our song for today. Even if you didn’t know the answer before you started reading this post, you probably figured it out just you know that today I am talking about “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What I didn’t know at that time was, there are other trivia questions one could ask about “White Christmas.” The first one that came to my mind is, “What popular Christmas song was written by a Jew?” The second would be, “What recorded single went to number one in three separate years?” I feel certain I could find others, but this will suffice.

I also learned something else while doing the research for today’s post. Bing Crosby not only sang the biggest selling single of all time, he also had the number three song on the list with “Silent Night.”

In the early 1940s, Crosby was at the height of his career. He had a recording contract with Decca Records and a film contract with Paramount Film Studios. Most everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. As a result, songwriters wanted, dreamed of Bing Crosby singing one of their songs. One song writer who was pretty successful in his own right but was even more so because of Bing Crosby was Irving Berlin.

Berlin, however, had his own Midas touch. He also had a knack for putting together heartfelt lyrics with simple tunes that the public wanted to hear and to know.

Berlin was contracted to write the music for the musical Holiday Inn. Most of it was fine but there was a Christmas intended for the script. Berlin, a Jew, had limited knowledge of Christmas. Still, he didn’t back away from the challenge. Berlin focused on what he did know about Christmas, snow and Santa. Berlin realized that people were nostalgic for snow covered fields and children had dreams of visits from Santa. Putting the two together was the direction Berlin took.

When Berlin finished the song he didn’t care for it and almost threw it away but instead took it to Crosby who read it and liked it, but some say he wasn’t all that excited about it. Others claim that Crosby told Berlin not to change a thing.

Crosby debuted the song on radio on Christmas Day, 1941. The song spoke of a simpler time, a simpler dream that people longed for some three weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Crosby recorded the song six months later. That same summer, Holiday Inn opened. At first movie goers were more excited about another song, “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” But, the song gained in popularity over the next few months. Before Christmas 1942 the song was at the top of the Hit Parade and remained there for several weeks into 1943. Interestingly, the song returned to number one on the Hit Parade again in 1945 and 1946.

For many, even still today, it is not Christmas until they hear the crooning voice of Bing Crosby singing the all time best selling single, “White Christmas.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Sources

Collins, Ace, Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

Collins, Andrew, Stories Behind the Greatest Hits of Christmas, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.

Gant, Andrew, The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015.

Osbeck, Kenneth W. Joy to the World: The Stories Behind Your Favorite Christmas Carols, Grand Rapids: Kregal, 1999.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Christmas_(song)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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