As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

A Christmas Song is Born 1: White Christmas

To celebrate Christmas week on DDoA, we look into 5 classic Christmas songs and the story of how they came to be.

We start off with WHITE CHRISTMAS – a song that has warmed the hearts of many lovers, couples and families who, by some circumstances beyond their control, had to be apart on Christmas Day.

blueprint-irving & jr


Irving Berlin
 (born Israel Isidore Beilin)
May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989
– American composer and lyricist of Russian-Jewish origin
– Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history,
his music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook
Learn more about Irving Berlin 


Photo of Composer Irving Berln
Image from wamc

The Making of White Christmas:

Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song.  One story is that he wrote it in 1940, in warm La Quinta, California, while staying at the La Quinta Hotel, a frequent Hollywood retreat also favored by writer-director-producer Frank Capra, although the Arizona Biltmore also claims the song was written there. He often stayed up all night writing — he 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!” Info from Wikipedia


Irving and Ellin Berlin
Image via wikipedia

The Christmas tragedy that very likely influenced this Christmas Classic:

Although Berlin wrote what is arguably the most popular secular Christmas song ever written, “White Christmas”, Christmas was always a bittersweet time for the Berlin family. Irving and Ellin Berlin’s only son, Irving, Jr., died at only a few weeks old, of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, on Christmas Day, 1928. Every year, on Christmas Day, the Berlins would lay a Christmas wreath on his grave, a tradition their heirs carry on today. Info from bio

Read about Irving and Ellin Berlin on interfaith family


The grave of Irving Berlin, Jr.
Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY, USA
Image from findagrave

World Premiere: Christmas Day 1941 on Bing Crosby’s weekly NBC radio program, The Kraft Music Hall. via Wikipedia

Other Songfacts:  According to the Guinness World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. Other versions of the song, along with Bing Crosby’s, have sold over 100 million copies. via Wikipedia

White Christmas is one of the most commercially successful singles of all time, and the top-selling single ever until being surpassed by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997.” via Wikipedia

Read more about the White Christmas song


The original recording of White Christmas, sung by Bing Crosby

Here is my favourite version of White Christmas
, as sung by Diana Krall

rx-logo-11So do… take inspiration from the story of how Irving Berlin turned his personal grief into something that many other lonely and nostalgic souls can find comfort in on Christmas Day.

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2014 by in Communicate and tagged , , .
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