Merry Christmas to all! It has been a wonderful and relaxing day here with my family, laughter, games, and entirely too much food. I hope that your day has been full of the things you love as well.
On Day 1 of this venture I explained that the countdown was in no particular ranked order with the exception of today’s posting. It is far and away the best Christmas song, and I’d happily and politely debate anyone that disagrees (you’ll lose). My favorite Christmas song is…
WHITE CHRISTMAS – Bing Crosby
Quiz time – The first time that most of the world heard this song was in the film…
…if you are thinking White Christmas, you are sadly wrong. The song was featured in a film with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire 12 years prior (1942) called Holiday Inn. The clip above is actually from the film and features Martha Mears joining Crosby. I’m sure many of you are genius experts on 1940s film and are thinking, “but that’s Idaho’s own Marjorie Reynolds in the clip!” You’re not wrong, but her voice was dubbed with that of Mears for the recording.
I LOVE the film Holiday Inn. Sadly, it has one horrendous act done in blackface, which at some point will be an incredible teaching moment with my future children about the United State’s history of racism and the horrible inappropriateness of blackface. I hear AMC isn’t even showing that portion of the film anymore – understandably.
The rest of the film is brilliant. It has Bing doing what he does best – singing and being charming. Fred doing what he does best – dancing like no one else before or after him. There is one scene in particular in which he is insanely drunk and does a “dance” that is perfection.
And then they get to the scene above. And he sings, and she sings, and he whistles, and he hits bells with his pipe (because they are of course right there on the tree and the perfect notes) and I melt. It’s a beautiful moment to introduce the world to a beautiful song.
The song, by the way, was written by Irving Berlin – who was a genius. I once saw a documentary about him and his catalog is staggering. Everything from “God Bless America” to “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. Just glance at his list of songs – you’ll be surprised by how many you know. Get ready to scroll though, the list is incredibly long.
Also, “White Christmas” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1943. And the good people over at Guinness have verified Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” as the best selling single of all time. [Bonus records – Crosby also holds the record for the most Oscar award winning songs sung by the same person and longest running fan club – solo artist.]
Enough of me gushing about the film and the amazing Irving Berlin. Even without me having had the Holiday Inn experience, this would still be my favorite song. To me it is the perfect mix of melancholy and longing for the past, while seeing the beauty in now and hope for the future. And I can’t think of any better way to capture all the emotions that the holiday season brings than that.
Thank you to everyone that has been following along. I hope you enjoyed the Twelve Days of Christmas Music. I would love to hear what your favorite is.
Enjoy the holidays!