If Only In My Dreams…

youre-singing-history

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most people want to be home or with loved ones for the December holidays. Historically (and in the modern era), that isn’t always possible.

One Christmas song recorded in 1943 addressed that reality with touching nostalgia. It’s a sympathetic song without getting depressing or too melancholy. It comes from the World War II era (joining another hit song – “White Christmas”) in a treasury of historical songs from the mid-20th Century that are still played and enjoyed.

Today – as the second song in the 2016 series You’re Singing History – we present “I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams).” Continue reading

“I’m Dreaming Of…”

snowy woodsLiving in the sunny region of Southern California, it’s not likely I’ll get a White Christmas but I can still enjoy the idea, the songs, and the photos. (Maybe I enjoy it more because I don’t have snow to shovel?)

Anyway, this last week winter wonderlands of snow have been on my mind. I’ve debated if “one can hear falling snow” like it says in the carol Still, Still, Still. (I’ve been assured by knowledgeable folks that I couldn’t, but I have this elaborate theory I’m going to test someday…) I’ve made a wreath of paper snowflakes and sang Let It Snow.

So now that I’ve confessed some of my current daydreams,¬†our song of the day shouldn’t be too surprising: White Christmas.

Berlin and Crosby’s Hit Song

It was a warm and sunny afternoon in Southern California (imagine that!) in the year 1940. Irving Berlin – a famous American songwriter – penned the words to White Christmas in his hotel room and announced to his companions that he’d just written one of the best songs ever. He was right.

Bing Crosby performs for U.S. troops during WWII. "White Christmas" was one of his most popular songs.

Bing Crosby performs for U.S. troops during WWII. “White Christmas” was one of his most popular songs.

The song was first performed for the American public in December 1941 on Bing Crosby’s radio program. White Christmas debuted just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor which launched American into World War II, and for the next years the song was a top hit among U.S. troops around the globe.

At home in the states, White Christmas was a radio success, was used in the film “Holiday Inn”, and Crosby made several recordings. The song topped lists of popular music of the era.

Bing Crosby’s versions of White Christmas has become the single most successful song in the international music industry. Over 150 million copies of the song have been purchased through the years (that figure includes Crosby’s recordings and productions by other artists.)

A Simple Song

What made White Christmas so popular? Oh, there are many theories. Personally, I think the simplicity of the song and tune have resonated with each generation. It’s a wish for something beautiful and simple. It’s not a plea for world peace, a purple hippopotamus, or a new iPhone.

It’s a wish for a scene of breathtaking beauty (new snow) and the warmth and coziness of celebrating with family and friends. It’s something every generation has wanted and something which sadly remains elusive for those who don’t take the time to see the beauty around them and cherish those they love.

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.

Enjoy The Music

Whether you’ll have real snow or sunny days, may your Christmas season be merry and bright! And, remember, it’s okay to wish and dream…

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah