Another challenge! A very big one, since we are dealing with the giant of Christmas pop songs, “White Christmas”. Biggest selling single in American music history, TO THIS DAY!!!!
“White Christmas”. Written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish man who didn’t celebrate Christmas, in California in the middle of summer with no snow on the ground. And yet, it’s beautiful. Another WWII song, with that sentiment of being away from home on the holidays and dreaming of the safe happy past and hoping for a safe happy future.
Bing recorded it and it was an immediate blockbuster hit. Best selling single in the world. And yes, it is an awfully good song and an awfully good version.
And then there’s the Otis Redding version. Not even close to as popular as Bing (nothing is), but really really good. And gives you less of a feeling of wistful nostalgia and more of a feeling of energetic working towards a better future. It also comes with a far better story. Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10th 1968 and his version of “White Christmas” was released shortly after, becoming the first posthumous hit single for an American singer.
This is a hard choice for me! I grew up with Bing. Not just in the general way, but really specific, we only had three Christmas records (Raffi, Bing, and Joan Baez) so I listened to it constantly. Plus, we watch the movie White Christmas every single year. But on the other hand, and sorry to have to say it Bing, but Otis just sings the thing better! It’s a better song with him, a whole different far far better song. So yeah, I’m going with Otis.
How about you? Which one?