DURING the run up to Christmas, I went from shops to supermarkets buying cards and gifts but could not help noticing that the same Christmas songs were emanating from one shop to the next.
I lost count of the number of times that Elton John invited us to Step Into Christmas, Shakin’ Stevens informing us that Snowflakes are Falling, Roy Wood/Wizzard Wishing it Could Be Christmas Everyday, Jona Lewie hoping to Stop The Cavalry and the inevitable dulcet tones of Noddy Holder reminding us all that It’s Kerriiiiiismaaaaas!!from Slade’s festive classic.
Then it suddenly dawned on me, why am I not hearing what has to be the most popular song of the season, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas?
This album was first recorded at the beginning of the forties when more than half the population did not own a record player but virtually every household had a radio.
Along with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly and even Rod Stewart it has just been newly recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra with Bing’s vocals enhanced by modern technology to blend in with the world’s most prestigious orchestra.
It features 14 Bing Crosby recordings including the 1982 duet of Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie. White Christmas has vinyl sales amounting to 50, million copies including one to eight billion streams from music providers, yet it has never made No1 in the UK music charts.
The stories behind the song do vary, written by Irving Berlin, it is alleged he was tinkling on his piano listening to the wireless, overheard a news report stating ‘there was a possibility of snow this Christmas’, then went on to compose most of the song within the next 15 minutes.
In the winter of 1941 many Americans were coming to terms with the loss of young soldiers after facing conflict overseas, they had also witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbour with its devastating consequences.
This led to radio networks becoming flooded with requests for White Christmas, it was, at that time, a song powerful for its healing qualities and still remains a perennial favourite for almost 80 years.
Bing at Christmas is the second best selling Christmas album, selling over15 million before Elvis’ Christmas Album which has sold more than 19 million. Most people purchase records because of their love of the original recording, some purchase hoping that as the years go by the value will rise so they buy the vinyl as an investment.
Decca have released a limited special edition of White Christmas to be issued along with this album, hoping that it could possibly be this year’s Christmas number one.