The #1 Christmas Song of All Time



“White Christmas” is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. According to the Guinness Book of 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. All other versions of the song, along with Bing Crosby’s, has estimated sales over 100 million copies. That’s a lot of love for one song! To this day, it still holds the record of best selling song. The next best? Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” in 1997 at 33 million copies. 


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-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!”


The version most often heard today is not the original 1942 Crosby recording, as the master had become damaged due to frequent use. Crosby re-recorded the track on March 18, 1947, accompanied again by the Trotter Orchestra and the Darby Singers, with every effort made to reproduce the original recording session. There are subtle differences in the orchestration, most notably the addition of a celesta and flutes to brighten up the introduction.


 Bing’s 1947 version:


The “White Christmas” Movie version [1954]:


The Drifters’ more jazzy version [1954]:


Crooner, Michael Buble’s version [2011]:


And Mother Monster, Lady Gaga, did a beautiful version, too:


And this is why some people loathe Christmas songs. Because some people feel that it’s the same song over and over. Well, not me! Just listen to the different nuances, beats and rhythms to reinvent classics and make them modern and just different. 


Tomorrow: My most favorite carol. EVER. 

About The Author

Tim Green

Tim Green is the co-host of the #QWakeUpCrew and can be heard on QMIX from 9 am to Noon. “I get to listen to music every day at work! How could I NOT love my job?!” His favorite part of the job is visiting various offices for the QMIX Office Party. Register for it now! Wait… read the rest of his bio, first. Then go and register! Tim is a pop culture fanatic, useless knowledge retainer, people-watcher, life-failer in remission that just happens to be borderline obsessed with Hollywood and is also long winded. He is still trying to find a film that lives up to his all-time favorite – “The Wizard of Oz.” You can follow the yellow brick road to him on Twitter : @Timmiejoe27! If Tim wasn't working on QMIX 107.3, his dream job would be a performer on Broadway – “I don’t need a leading role; just the funny side kick will do!”

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