My song today is ‘White Christmas’ which was immortalised and was first released in 1942 (the year of my birth). This song by Irving Berlin reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting was most famously sung by Bing Crosby. This version is the world’s ever best-selling single with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. When the figures for other versions of the song are added to Crosby's, sales of the song exceed 100 million.
The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show ‘The Kraft Music Hall’ on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by Crosby's estate. The song established that there could be commercially successful secular Christmas songs, and by revealing the huge potential market for Christmas songs, ‘White Christmas’ ensured that themes of home and nostalgia would run through Christmas music evermore.
In the film ‘Holiday Inn’ the composition won the ‘Academy Award for Best Original Song’ in 1942. The song would feature in another Crosby film, the 1954 musical ‘White Christmas’, which became the highest-grossing film of 1954.
According to Crosby's nephew, Howard Crosby, "I once asked Uncle Bing about the most difficult thing he ever had to do during his entertainment career. He said in December 1944, he was in a USO show with Bob Hope and the Andrew Sisters. They did an outdoor show in northern France, and he had to stand there and sing 'White Christmas' with 100,000 G.I.s in tears without breaking down himself. Of course, a lot of those boys were killed in the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ a few days later.”
Although Crosby dismissed his role in the song's success, saying later that "A jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully.” Crosby was associated with it for the rest of his career. Happy Christmas everyone.
Love and peace Bill and Sheila xxx