|America's "Singing Cowboy" was as well-known for his |
Christmas songs as he was for his country hits.
Nothing gets you in the mood for the holidays quite like a good ol’ fashioned Christmas song.
Holiday tunes are as
essential to the celebration as brightly-lit evergreens and long lines at the
post office. Some songs are absolutely woven into the tradition of the holiday.
Every school child knows “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” And, you won’t be
able to find a mall or shopping center that doesn’t having “Here Comes Santa
Claus” blaring over its speakers.
These songs seem like they’ve been around forever - like they are as old as the holiday itself! But, many of our most beloved tunes came about during the 1940s and ‘50s - and some of them almost didn’t!
Gene Autry wrote “Here Comes Santa Claus” after hearing children shout the phrase while riding his horse in a Christmas parade. During the first recording, one of the studio executives sipped his cocktail a little too close to the microphone. The sound of his chinking ice cubes inspired the team to include jingling bells in their next take. The song became an instant hit!
After “Here Comes Santa Claus” took the country by storm, dozens of songwriters sent Gene Autry their Christmas songs, hoping he would record them. Autry reviewed hundreds of submissions. One song which he initially cast aside was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” His wife, however, loved the song. Because Gene was a good husband, he recorded the tune. It was one of the best decisions he (or his wife, rather) ever made! “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” became his all-time biggest seller.
Autry wasn’t the only performer to find success with Christmas songs. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” album has never been out of print since being released in 1949.
Mel Torme and Bob Wells wrote the “Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire”) on a hot summer day while trying to stay cool. For forty minutes, they wrote about “Jack Frost nipping” and “folks dressed up as Eskimos.” Despite their attempts to cool off, the song was hot! It’s now a holiday classic.
The film The Lemon Drop Kid might have passed quickly into forgotten history if it had not been for its signature song, “Silver Bells.” This song was almost dropped from the movie when the original lyrics “Tinkle Bells” brought to mind children’s bathroom slang. The writers eventually came back to the song, and with a simple word change, another classic was born!
These songs and many others hold a special place in all our hearts and in our holiday tradition. So, go ahead - crank up the music and sing along! After all, it's only Christmas-time once a year.