Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, December 14, 1998

Hark, the Christmas songs we sing


There are many Christmas songs heard this time of the year. Although, it seems you don't hear them as often as you did years ago. Or maybe it's my imagination, because when I was a radio broadcaster we played a lot of Christmas music. By the week before Christmas, it was all we played.

Do you remember "I'll Be Home for Christmas?" I believe it was first heard during World War II and it was first sung by Bing Crosby. The song really hit home during that time.

How about "Silver Bells?" First heard in the movie "Lemon Drop Kid" which starred Bob Hope. You could guarantee hearing that song on Bob Hope's Christmas specials broadcast every Christmas season. Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting had a popular recording of the song.

Remember "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays?" Perry Como sang it and it was always included in his Christmas specials on TV.

I well remember when "The Christmas Song" was first heard ­ 1948, I think. Nat King Cole had a tremendous hit with that song, which was written by Mel Torme, they say, on a very hot summer day.

It was about at that same time that "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry took the country by storm. That song was originally the "B" side of the record "Here Comes Santa Claus," which was also a big hit.

We have what I call "snow" songs that aren't about Christmas at all, but are heard and played during the Christmas season ­ "Jingle Bells," "Frosty The Snowman," "Winter Wonderland," etc.

But there won't be a bigger Christmas song than "White Christmas." Irving Berlin wrote this for a wartime movie starring Bing Crosby called "Holiday Inn." (The movie title was before the motels of the same name.) Without a doubt, it's the most popular Christmas song of all.

I'm not counting, of course, the real Christmas songs ­ "Silent Night," "O Little Town of Bethlemen," etc. Their popularity is ageless.

Merry Christmas!

If you're thinking of kissing someone who is beneath a mistletoe, consider this. A doctor says that there are more than 80 germs in the human mouth, enough to kill 20 guinea pigs.

The moral is don't kiss a guinea pig. Kiss something big enough to take it. That doctor's name, by the way, is John Romeo.

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