The Year White Christmas Turned Blue

It has been said that it was the years of World War II that made the song “White Christmas” such a huge hit. The smooth voice of Bing Crosby crooning wistfully, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas . . . where the tree tops glisten . . .” was a hit with troops far from home. It surprised Bing Crosby when it became the signature song from the award winning film “Holiday Inn” in 1942, but had become an American staple by the time it was added to his Merry Christmas album in 1945. That album quickly moved to number one Christmas album that year and it continued to top the Christmas album charts every year. That is until 1957 when everyone’s white Christmas turned blue.

Close your eyes and you can see the raised eyebrow, the turned lip and the movement of the hip as the words start: I'll have a blue Christmas without you; I'll be so blue thinking about you.

Decorations of red
On a green Christmas tree
Won't mean a thing
If you're not here with me.
And when the blue snowflakes start falling
That's when those blue memories start calling
You'll be doing alright with your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.

The song had been around since 1948, but when Elvis Presley changed the tone to a distinctly bluesy rock ‘n roll love song, it rocketed his “Elvis’ Christmas Album” to number one in 1957, knocking Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas off of its twelve year perch. Ironically, the song White Christmas also appeared on Elvis’ album. Irving Berlin, the composer of White Christmas was appalled and worked feverishly to have the song and even the entire album banned from radio play. But alas, Christmas, it seems, had turned blue forever.

There have been a lot of Christmases since 1957, fifty-five to be exact, and Elvis has remained on top, with this album listed as the best-selling Christmas album of all time here in the United States. It was also the first of Elvis Presley’s albums to receive Diamond Certification according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

But don’t feel bad for poor old Bing. His version of White Christmas remains the number one single of all time worldwide with over 50 million records sold, out selling second place Elton John’s Candle in the Wind by over 17 million! It was the number one single of all time in the very first Guinness Book of World Records and has been number one in every Guinness Book of World Records since. White Christmas is the number one selling single winter, spring, summer or fall, regardless of genre, country, war time or peace. And so whether young or old, a fan of Bing or Elvis or Doris Day or Bob Marley or The Partridge Family or Barbra Streisand or Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga or Rod Stewart or Blake Shelton or the many, many other artists who have recorded the song, we can all sing together:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white. Or Blue.

Written by Ben Brown

Sienna’s Sandbox on Ruby Lane