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White Christmas

Words & Music by Irving Berlin

You know we had to get some Bing Crosby up in this piece. I mean, next to JC and Santa, the man is practically Mr. Christmas. So maybe he wasn’t such a nice guy and wouldn’t have won Father of the Century, but damn Der Bingle could sing. This song, written by Irving Berlin in 1940 caught on with WWII soldiers and other folks who yearned for Christmases Past (White or not), and is still believed to be the best selling song of all time.

Interestingly, you hardly ever hear Berlin’s introductory verse:

The sun is shining, the grass is green,
The orange and palm trees sway.
There’s never been such a day
in Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December the twenty-fourth,
And I am longing to be up North.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…

In spite of the fact that Beverly Hills and LA are two completely different cities, the verse has a charming poignancy to it.

The song has been done by practically everybody, but rarely does anybody come close to the Bingster. What I particularly love is the way he pronounces “white” as “hwite.” That’s such an old school thing. I remember watching an old movie on TV where a character kept saying, “Hwy?” Mom does it too, but only with the word “hwite:” “I’m doing a load of hwites. Do you have any?” It’s weird that I didn’t notice it before I came back here. I, of course, did extensive research and found a Wikipedia page on the subject. I didn’t understand most of it but it mentioned a “wine/whine” merger that has occurred throughout most of the English speaking world with a few exceptions in the Southeast United States. So maybe she picked it up here in the South, but I haven’t heard a lot of other people around here saying “wh” words that way. Hweird.

Hwat was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Hwite Hcristmas. Hgreat hsong.

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds (voice dubbed by Martha Mears) from Holiday Inn (1942)

The Drifters fantastic version from 1954, a close second to Bing’s.

Hwat is this doing here?

≈≈≈≈≈

12/12/09 I meant to put this little gem on here too, from Bing Crosby’s last TV special in 1977. Thanks to AptOne for reminding me 😀

2010 Update:

OK, so 3/4 of the videos I posted last year have gone bye-bye. Let’s see how long these last:

This is a fun one from Joshua Held.

Watch them quickly before YouTube cuts them off. Maybe next year we’ll have to watch videos on Wikileaks.

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One thought on “The 12 Good Songs of Christmas: #9

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