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White Christmas
Song

White Christmas

Bing Cosby
Album:

Song Meaning and Background of White Christmas by Bing Cosby


A wistful song about holidays at home, White Christmas has become as much of an icon as candy canes and stockings. But behind this iconic anthem is a very interesting back story.

The best known version of the song was recorded by Bing Crosby and released in 1942. It became one of the biggest selling singles of all time, and is widely considered to be the most famous Christmas song ever written.


But how did this classic come to be? What exactly is the meaning behind "White Christmas?" And how did this melancholy ballad about holiday traditions become the most popular song in history?


Irving Berlin wrote the song based on his memories of holiday seasons past. He originally envisioned it as the theme for a musical featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. So he penned the lyrics and worked carefully with the composer who scored his music, Helmy Kresa, until the melody sounded just as he had imagined it in his head.


The song's first public broadcast came on Christmas Eve 1941, just a few weeks after the attack at Pearl Harbor. This is likely why the song resonated so strongly with America's soldiers overseas at the time. They were away from their families and living in a foreign country, and the song spoke to them of happier, more peaceful times.


Interestingly, the songwriter himself did not celebrate Christmas. He was a Russian Jewish immigrant who didn't have the tradition in his family. But the 25th of December held a certain significance to him, because that is the day his son died in 1928. So the melancholy lyrics to his song may also have been a way for him to deal with his grief.


Berlin composed the song in 1940 while visiting at the La Quinta Hotel in sunny La Quinta, California. Filmmaker, writer, and producer Frank Capra also frequently stayed there. He frequently wrote all night long. One day he told his secretary, "I want you to take down a song I wrote over the weekend. Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it's the best song anybody ever wrote."


Lyrics of White Christmas by Bing Cosby


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

 

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

 

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

 

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

Release Date

1942

Songwriter/s

Irving Berlin

Producer/s

Label/s

Decca

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