Bing Crobsy's Merry Christmas album, provided the soundtrack of my childhood Christmas rituals. We decorated the tree and exchanged presents to the sound of Bing crooning White Christmas, Christmas in Killerney and Mele Kalikimaka --the Hawaiian Christmas Song
Until today, I was unaware of how the song achieved its iconic place in American culture and consciousness.
White Christmas had been around for a while no one paid much attention to the song until December 25th, 1941. That was the day when Bing Crosby sang White Christmas on The Kraft Music Hall radio show-- just 17 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. America was entering World War II and Bing's version of White Christmas became a favorite request on the Armed Services Radio Network. Today it holds the Guiness Book of Records title for the most popular Christmas song.
This iconic Christmas song had been written by Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin . Berlin is reported to have told his secretary: “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”
If you have a hankering for Christmas nostalgia watch Bing sing the song and use his pipe to make chimes ring from Christmas tree decorations--- I forgot about that scene....
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays.