As we go through the holidays, I thought I would share some facts about ten songs that are performed this time of year. I know most are Christmas songs, but I hope everyone can enjoy these interesting facts.
1. Jingle Bells
This song was not originally written for Christmas, but for the United States’ Thanksgiving. It was also the first song performed in space. Another Christmas song that was intended for another holiday was “Joy to the World.”
2. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
This cut, lovable song about a unique little character was written by Johnny Marks, who was Jewish. He also wrote, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” and “Run, Rudolph, Run.”
3. Silent Night
“Silent Night” is a song originally written in German in 1816. It was translated into English two years later. During World War I, there was a truce on Christmas where French, English, and German troops sang the song.
4. I Have a Little Driedal
In the original Yiddish version of this song, the Driedal is made of bley, which means lead. It was translated to clay.
5. Silver Bells
This song was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. However, they originally called it “Tinkle Bells.” It was quickly changed after Livingston told his wife about the song. She mentioned how tinkle was also a synonym for, uh…something else.
6. Let it Snow!
“Let it Snow!” Despite it never mentioning the holiday, was made into the Christmas canon of songs. It was written by Jewish songwriters Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. It was written in 1945 during a heatwave in California.
7. O Holy Night
In 1906, “O Holy Night” became the second song to ever be broadcast on radio.
8. The Dance of the Sugr Plum Fairy
This song from The Nutcracker, was written in 1891 for the celesta, the gentle, metallic sounding instrument you hear during this song. The instrument was invented only five years earlier.
9. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
This Christmas song mentions that “there’ll be scary ghost stories” which is an activity I have never experienced during this season. It was actually a tradition in Victorian England that has since died out.
10. White Christmas
“White Christmas” is the highest selling Christmas song of all time. The top selling version? Bing Crosby. The song was written by Irving Berlin a Russian Jewish immigrant who also wrote “God Bless America.”