Though there are a lot of great Christmas songs, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” remains my favorite. Like other classics of the genre – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” to name two – the song has a yearning quality, perhaps partly because it was written during World War II.
Bing Crosby’s original recording of the song is the best-selling single of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and it’s still played regularly on the radio and in the malls. Massachusetts’ own Roy Harris had a nice essay about that in The Wall Street Journal a few years ago.
To my mind, though, Crosby’s best version of “White Christmas” isn’t the famous one with the orchestra – it’s the simple, stripped-down rendition he sings at the beginning of the 1954 movie of the same name. Thanks to YouTube, you can watch it now and decide for yourself:
Of course, this was just one of the many times Crosby sang “White Christmas” over the years. From 1962 to 1977, television viewers could hear a new performance on his annual Christmas specials. But judging by this clip from the 1967 edition, Crosby’s kids had gotten a little bored with their dad’s rendition:
A safe and happy holiday to you and yours!
A version of this post was first published in 2010.