December 25, 2012
FROM THE ARCHIVES: SONGS ABOUT HOME:
I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon and Buck Ram: Song of the Week #205 (Mark Steyn, 12 Dec 2011)
If you had to pin a precise date to the dawn of the Golden Age of American Christmas Songs, it would probably be December 1942. Irving Berlin had written "White Christmas" a couple of years earlier, and was reasonably confident about it. But, as canny as he was, he didn't foresee how the song would be transformed by a single event: Pearl Harbor. Twelve months after the attack, American servicemen were far away in the south Pacific and contemplating their first Christmas at war, under glorious tropical skies that only made home seem even more distant:I'm dreaming of a White ChristmasJust like the ones I used to know..."White Christmas" isn't a song about snow, it's a song about home. And Berlin wasn't the only songwriter to understand there was a huge audience for that at a time when most families had at least one empty chair round the Christmas table. For example:I'll Be Home For ChristmasYou can plan on mePlease have snowAnd mistletoeAnd presents on the tree...The man who wrote that music is about as obscure as Irving Berlin is famous. His name was Walter Kent, and he was born Walter Kaufmann in New York one hundred years ago - November 29th 1911.
[originally posted : 12/24/11Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2012 6:16 AM
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