Paying Homage at Christmas

Paying Homage at Christmas cover

I’m not racist or blasphemous, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon I want to share with you. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge but what I’d like to share is a little-known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the books on WWII, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

As Hitler ensued his killing mission during the Holocaust, Germany showed little mercy for the Jewish people. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Most were musically inclined and so thankful for the Christians who fought for them. So, they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs, the melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.

Paying Homage at Christmas Pic 1.jpg

I will uncover the truth. Jewish conductors wrote and composed the best-known Christmas carols! Let’s show them gratitude and give thanks for they hoped to write lyrics Americans would remember every holiday season. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to Hanukkah hymns written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.

Image of Johnny Marks
Image of Livingston and Evans
Image of Irving Berlin

Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just a few of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:

“Winter Wonderland”
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby

“White Christmas”
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)

“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby
Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells
Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert

“The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks

“Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree”
1958, composed by Johnny Marks

“We Need a Little Christmas”
1966, composed by Jerry Herman

“Silver Bells”
1950, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

“A Holly Jolly Christmas”
1964, composed by Johnny Marks

These songs are just a small sample of how the Jews graciously contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background. The Jewish songwriters greatly deserves our love for the Christmas holiday. My prayers this year is to share this homage. We are all men of God, regardless of our religion.

Christ has risen if only in our hearts!

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 27th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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