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The Christmas Song
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December 14, 2007 04:52 PM PST
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"The Christmas Song" was introduced to Nat 'King' Cole in May 1946 by singer/songwriter Mel Tormé. Nat loved the song and wanted to record it in a larger setting than his trio but Capitol Records was very reluctant about having strings on the recording. Nat convinced Capitol (aka "The House That Nat Built") to let him record "The Christmas Song" with strings. The song was released in November 1946 and reached #3 on the pop and R&B charts. Capitol reissued it every holiday season for the next 7 years, and each year it would chart in the top 5. In 1953 Nat recorded it again, this time with Nelson Riddle conducting, and, of course, with many more than the four original strings. This version was reissued for the next 8 years. Then, in 1961, Nat recorded the stereo version, with Ralph Carmichael conducting. This was the last time he recorded it, and to the present time, this is the rendition that Capitol reissues regularly.

The Christmas Song, the album, came to life in 1960 but not without some resistance. Nat was very happy with just having "The Christmas Song." He did not want to compete with the other popular holiday music of the day. He finally gave in to Capitol's persuasion and recorded the album which we love today.

WHITE CHRISTMAS ~ ChristmaSongStories
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December 12, 2007 09:07 AM PST
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Bing Crosby probably never had to record another song in his life after he immortalized "White Christmas." "White Christmas" will be the number one season song for years to come. It's as timeless now as it was way back then [1942 in motion picture 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 Original Song. Though while Marjorie Reynolds was the actress playing Linda Mason, her voice was dubbed by Martha Mears for the movie, and in the script as originally conceived, Reynolds, not Crosby, was to sing the song. The first public performance of the song was also by Crosby, on his top-rated NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1942. The song was also the title theme for the 1954 musical White Christmas, starring Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, [photo right] which was the biggest-grossing film of 1954. The most familiar version of "White Christmas" is not, however, the one Crosby originally recorded in 1942. He was called back to the Decca studios on March 18, 1947, to re-record "White Christmas" as a result of damage to the 1942 master due to its frequent use.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
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December 11, 2007 05:41 AM PST
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"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a popular secular sixteenth-century English carol from the West Country of England. It is one of the few traditional holiday carols that makes mention of the New Year celebration.

Sleigh Ride ~ A ChristmaSongStory
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December 07, 2007 01:15 PM PST
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Ella Fitzgerald puts her own stamp on classic Christmas songs which have a distinctly jazzy feel to them and Ella's voice is strong, vibrant and full of energy as she swings through LeRoy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. It's performed by Ella in a happier style than the way this song is usually performed. Awesome!

ChristmaSongStory ~ Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer
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December 06, 2007 01:12 AM PST
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"Rudolph" was first offered to Bing Crosby who had scored so well with "White Christmas". He turned it down as being a little too 'juvenile' and not his style. This was one time in his career he made the wrong decision...and later he admitted it. BUT, in reality, Gene Autry REALLY put his own 'stamp' on "Rudolph"...and his version is still the BEST of all !!

Winter Wonderland ~ ChristmaSongStory
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December 05, 2007 04:42 AM PST
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"Winter Wonderland" was by far the best effort of lyricist Richard B. Smith (1901-1935) and of composer Felix Bernard (1897-1944). Ironically, neither man had much opportunity to savor the sweet rewards from their highly popular 1934 song. Pennsylvania-born smith died the very next year, and Brooklyn-born Bernard did not live a lot longer, passing away about ten years later. Neither was around for the cheerful best-selling [1946] recordings by the Andrews Sisters [and Perry Como].

Let it Snow a ChristmaSongStory
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December 03, 2007 11:52 PM PST
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Although Sinatra's version was the 25,000,000th song downloaded from iTunes, the original belonged to Vaughn Monroe in 1946, when the song was #1 on the Billboard charts for 5 weeks, and the #2 song of the year. Sinatra's version was released in 1950, and although it has sold steadily through the years, it never charted.

"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" is the actual name of the tune, and it was written by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

Jingle Bells ChristmaSongStory
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December 03, 2007 04:43 AM PST
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The music of Ray Conniff at Christmas time ( or anytime) is superb! This has been a part of my Christmas celebration for many,many years. This track was on the original Christmas With Conniff LP released in 1959. I especially enjoyed "Sleigh Ride", "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas Bride" All of the Ray Conniff Christmas C.D.'s (Christmas with Conniff, We Wish You a Merry Christmas Albun and the Christmas Album from the mid 1960's) should be in your C.D. collection!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
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November 29, 2007 08:51 PM PST
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"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is a Christmas song written for the MGM Musical, Meet Me In St. Louis. It was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane [during an interview with Hugh Martin on NPR on 12/21/06, he said Ralph Blane encouraged him to continue to write the song, but really did not have anything more to do with writing it] and made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film "Meet Me in St. Louis". The movie chronicles the change in seasons and times of St. Louis including the Christmas season. In the famous scene, Garland sings the tearful tune to child star Margaret O'Brien. The melancholy tune and lyrics were originally even more somber but were adapted by the song writers to the current version at Garland's request.

ChristmaSongStories The Little Drummer Boy
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November 28, 2007 08:27 PM PST
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I first watched Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing this combination of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Peace on Earth" on a Christmas special in the late 1970s. I watched this special, something my hectic life rarely allowed. I don't remember much about the rest of the Christmas special, but this song has stayed with me. It is a beautiful rendition that helped rescue that Christmas for me, as well as several since that time. I think you will like this duet, and perhaps be moved by it, especially its call for peace on Earth which now more than ever seems to be lacking. Enjoy!

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