Christmas Songs Post: White Christmas, Crosby or Redding?

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?

22 thoughts on “Christmas Songs Post: White Christmas, Crosby or Redding?

  1. OTIS!
    My brother took me to see his show in Rome when I was just a kid, 9 or 10 I think. I’d never experienced anything like it before. Talk about entranced; my brother said I didn’t close my mouth the whole time. A hundred years later, I’m still a fan.

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  2. Bing. The best part of the song is the opening part no one sings but being a California girl, it speaks to me.

    The sun is shining
    The grass is green
    The orange and palm trees sway
    There’s never been such a day
    In Beverly Hills LA
    But it’s December the 24th…
    And I am longing to be up north…

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  3. Otis – because it is slower and longer. We have this great picture book of the song with intricate drawings of elves and gnomes and snow, but each page only has the briefest bit of song lyrics on it, so actually read/singing it to children who want to see the pictures is frustrating. I try to sing so slow, but now I can imitate Otis and just repeat words a lot. https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780060291235

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    • That book looks great!!! And yes, Otis just draws it out as long as he wants.

      On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 3:19 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • One thing I’ve noticed through these posts, all my nostalgia is reserved for the traditional carols I sang in choir, the older the better. The newer songs, I’m more than happy for someone to play around with them and mix them up.

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      • I’m the opposite, no nostalgia for the traditional carols, I’m all about the recordings I listened to over and over again.

        On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 10:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Yes, I always liked Bing, but then I heard Otis, and it’s just so much better.

      On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 10:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. As a person who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, of course I have many opinions and imaginary plans such as two trees: one with a new a theme each year and one with all the trad ornaments that we have saved from year to year. (still no outfit for Albie dog!!)I would play all three in rotations. Also, Tiny Tim does the California verse!! I know and love all the trad carols as well….

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    • Hey, the song itself was written by someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, why not enjoy it?

      On Tue, Dec 1, 2020 at 12:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I saw a one liner somewhere about the best Christmas stuff being written by Jewish people. I haven’t bothered to really try to prove it, but it certainly feels true. You know the authors of It’s a Wonderful Life were Jewish too?

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