WACFACT—THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTMAS SONGS
Handel’s “Messiah” (not The Messiah as is often supposed) perhaps Handel’s greatest work was completed in just 24 days during the summer of 1741 and had nothing to do with the Christmas season. It was first performed in April of 1742 in Dublin during a benefit for a hospital as well as for prisoners who were in jail for debt.
“White Christmas” inextricably associated with Christmas, Patriotism, and Nostalgia, is among the best selling singles of all time. The origin of the song dates back to early 1940, when Irving Berlin wrote it for the 1942 film “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby. The first single version was recorded by Crosby in 1941 (and then again in 1947) and released at the perfect time to be thought of as a holiday anthem by U.S. troops dreaming of returning to the comforts of home and family. In 1954, the movie “White Christmas” essentially a remake of “Holiday Inn” (and by far the more popular of the two movies,) was released, capitalizing on the song’s success and cementing its association with the Christmas season. 1
“The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire/Jack Frost nipping at your nose”) was composed by Mel Torme and Bob Wells while they were in Florida during a heat wave in the summer of 1944. In an effort to find relief from the heat (pre-air conditioning days,) Torme and Wells started thinking “cool thoughts” and the two of them composed the words and music in less than an hour. It went on to become a major hit for Torme and for Nat King Cole.1
“Frosty The Snowman” Recorded by Gene Autry (the singing cowboy) in 1949, is considered to be a Christmas song despite not mentioning Christmas at all.
Finally, did you know that “Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas Song.
WE AT WAC WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES A JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
With All Good Wishes:
WAC of Ft. Lauderdale/WAC of Miami