[JPL] Seasonal Songs Info

Eric Gruner eric at jazz901.org
Tue Dec 20 09:43:45 EST 2011


A few more....   Merry Christmas!

AWAY IN A MANGER:
The song was first published with two verses in an Evangelical
Lutheran Sunday School collection, Little Children's Book for Schools
and Families (1885), edited by James R. Murray (1841–1905), where it
simply bore the title "Away in a Manger" and was set to a tune called
"St. Kilda," credited to J.E. Clark.

For many years the text was credited to the German reformer Martin
Luther. Research has shown, however, that this is nothing more than a
fable. In the book Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses (1887) it
bears the title "Luther's Cradle Hymn" and the note, "Composed by
Martin Luther for his children, and still sung by German mothers to
their little ones."  A possible reason for the spurious attribution to
Luther is that the 400th anniversary of his birth was in 1883. The
words were either based on a poem written for this anniversary or were
credited to Luther as a clever marketing gimmick.  This song has never
been found in Luther's works.


JOY TO THE WORLD
The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 in
the Bible. The song was first published in 1719 in Watts' collection;
The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament,
and applied to the Christian state and worship. Watts wrote the words
of "Joy to the World" as a hymn glorifying Christ's triumphant return
at the end of the age,  rather than a Christmas song celebrating his
first coming as a babe born in a stable. Only the second half of
Watts' lyrics are still used today.

The music was adapted and arranged to Watts' lyrics by Lowell Mason in
1839 from an older melody which was then believed to have originated
from Handel, not least because the theme of the refrain (And heaven
and nature sing...) appears in the orchestra opening and accompaniment
of the recitative Comfort ye from Handel's Messiah, and the first four
notes match the beginning of the choruses Lift up your heads and Glory
to God from the same oratorio. However, Handel did not compose the
entire tune. The name "Antioch" is generally used for the tune.

As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published
Christmas hymn in North America.


O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
The text was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal
priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was
inspired by visiting thePalestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three
years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his organist, Lewis
Redner, added the music. Redner's tune, simply titled "St. Louis", is
the tune used most often for this carol in the United States.


WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
Written in 1865. At the age of twenty-nine, English writer William
Chatterton Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and
confined to bedrest for several months, during which he went into a
deep depression.  Yet out of his near-death experience, Dix wrote many
hymns, including "What Child is This?", later set to thetraditional
English tune "Greensleeves"

OH HOLY NIGHT
Composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit,
chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877), a
wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write
a Christmas poem.  Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight,  editor of
Dwight's Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on
Cappeau's French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the
two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the
birth of Jesus and of mankind's redemption.

On 24 December 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor,
broadcast the first AM radio program, which started with a phonograph
record of 'Ombra mai fu' followed by him playing "O Holy Night" on the
violin and singing the final verse. The carol therefore was the second
piece of music ever to be broadcast on radio.


THE CHIPMUNK SONG
Written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (a.k.a. David Seville) in 1958.
Although it was written and sung by Bagdasarian (in the form of a
high-pitched chipmunk voice), the singing credits are given to The
Chipmunks, a fictitious singing group consisting of three chipmunks by
the names of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The song won three Grammy
Awards in 1958: Best Comedy Performance, Best Children's Recording,
and Best Engineered Record (non-classical)



On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 4:48 AM, <dlpjazz at thegrid.net> wrote:
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> A few tidbits about some of the songs you might play this week
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> WHITE CHRISTMAS:  (Irving Berlin)  Introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1942 motion picture, Holiday Inn.  His was the first recording - released that same year.  It has sold over twenty-five million copies.  Crosby also sang it in the 1946 film, Blue Skies.  Song won the 1942 Academy Award.  It's been translated into over 20 different languages.
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> THE CHRISTMAS SONG: (Mel Torme, Bob Wells)  Introduced by Nat Cole in 1946.  On the original release, he added an "s" to reindeer - singing "to see if reindeers really know how to fly". Later corrected.  There are over 800 versions of the song.  Torme purchased his Coldwater Canyon home, and other real estate, with royalties from just this one song.
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> HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS: (Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane)  Although introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 motion picture, Meet Me In St. Louis, the first recording was by Frank Sinatra - released by Columbia in early November of 1944.  Strangely, Garland's Decca recording was released a month later.
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> I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS:  (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)  Initially released on Decca by Bing Crosby in 1943.  It sold over a million copies that first year.
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> SLEIGH RIDE:  (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)  First recording in 1949 by the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler.  Huge instrumental hit.  Lyrist, Mitchell Parish, (Starust, Sweet Lorraine, Stars Fell On Alabama, etc.) added words in 1950.  The first vocal record was on RCA Victor by Dinah Shore in 1951.
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> JINGLE BELLS:  (James Pierpont)  It was written, music and lyrics, by this Boston songwriter in September of 1857, and published under the title The One Horse Open Sleigh.  It was changed to the present title in 1902.  Even though it is commonly thought of as a Christmas song, it was actually written and sung for Thanksgiving.  Consider that the word Christmas is never mentioned in the lyric.  The first recording was in 1898 by the Edison Male Quartet.  However, it was the 1935 Benny Goodman recording that really established the song as a seasonal favorite.  The Glenn Miller record with Tex Beneke and the Modernaires sold over one million copies in 1941.
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> DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR:  (Noel Regney, Gloria Shayne)  Many people mistakenly assume this Christmas classic has been around for an eternity, and that it's of European origin.  But it was written in late 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a plea for peace by a man, Regney, who had experienced the horrors of war first hand.  It was first recorded and released by Bing Crosby in 1963.
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> SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN:  (Haven Gillespe, Fred Coots)  Originally performed in 1933 on the NBC Radio Network by the George Olson Orchestra with Ethel Shutta (true!) on vocals.  The first recording was on Decca by banjoist, Harry Reser and his band in October 1934, featuring Tom Stacks on vocal.  The first very successful recording was the Tommy Dorsey version in 1935.  In the 1970 CBS-TV Christmas Special, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, it was sung by Fred Astaire.
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> SILVER BELLS:  (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)  The writers are the duo who wrote Mona Lisa, Golden Earrings, etc.  This song was introduced in the 1951 film, The Lemon Drop Kid, performed as a duet by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell.  The initial recording was on Decca in 1952 - a duet with Bing Crosby and Carol Richards.
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> LET IT SNOW, LIS, LIS:  (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)  The year was 1946, and orchestra leader/singer, Vaughn Monroe, had the first record of this great standard.  It hit #1 on the Hit Parade, and held that spot for 13 weeks!
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> --
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--
Eric Gruner
2 hours of Jazz Host 9am - 11am
JAZZ 90.1
www.jazz901.org
585.966.5299


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