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The True Story Behind the Song White Christmas Is Sadder Than You Think

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
                                                             …Irving Berlin

“White Christmas isn’t just the Best selling Christmas song of all time; it has been listed in the Guiness book of world records as the best selling single ever!!

When Bing Crosby crooned the number soulfully with a sad overtone for the first time on air at the Kraft Music hall radio show (Crosby was the host), it was 25th December 1941. War had broken out and the melancholia of the song echoed the somber mood of the nation reeling from an attack on Pearl Harbor. This is the true sad story behind White Christmas


However! That wasn’t the sad element attached to the song. There was something much sadder than that and it involved its writer Irving Berlin. In case you’re wondering who Irving Berlin was, well! He is one of the most iconic composers and greatest songwriters in American history. He was the man behind beautiful songs like God Bless America, Easter Parade, Happy Holiday and This is the Army Mr Jones. The weird fact about Berlin was that he was  Jewish and didn’t really celebrate Christmas.

The sad reason why Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas

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Patty Andrews, Bing Crosby, and Irving Berlin

So why did Berlin write the most beautiful Christmas song of all time. You see, Berlin had lost his 3 year old son on Christmas day in 1928. Since then he and his wife visited their baby’s grave on December 25 to be with him on Christmas day. This was revealed by Jody Rosin, author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song,

"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"

www.andrewalpin1.blogspot.com-story behind white christmas
Irving Berlin

Rosen felt it was Berlin’s way of dealing with the sadness and melancholy of his son’s death that Christmas will never be the same and that’s why he just needs to dream about it. Berlin had initially written “White Christmas” for a musical which was integrated into the movie Holiday Inn. The  movie even won an Oscar for best song. The song went on to become the title of another famous Bing Crosby Musical “White Christmas”.

White Christmas was the favorite request from American troops fighting overseas in WWII

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When Crosby crooned the number for the first time on the 25th, he was to create history. Unfortunately the original radio recording was lost. White Christmas would be the most loved song by American troops fighting overseas in WWII. This also had an emotional impact on Crosby who said "I hesitated about doing it because invariably it caused such a nostalgic yearning among the men, that it made them sad," Crosby said in an interview. "Heaven knows, I didn't come that far to make them sad. For this reason, several times I tried to cut it out of the show, but these guys just hollered for it."

"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"

Undoubtedly, White Christmas is one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time which will never be matched by any other. This was the sad story behind White Christmas and several artists have gone on to do their own rendition of White Christmas including Elvis but it is Jim Reeves with his rich baritone that truly does justice to the song.