Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Judy Garland Singing at a Bobe Hope Christmas Show in Stockton California During World War II

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yudgy30Dd68

Judy Garland Singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in the Movie Meet Me in Saint Louis

There are some songs at Christmas that despite their relative newness as compared to ancient carols seem to strike a chord that resonates deep in the hearts of people. One of those for me, and probably many others is the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The music was written by Ralph Blane and the lyrics by Hugh Martin for the musical Meet Me in St Louis and first performed by Judy Garland in that film. In the movie Garland’s character sings the song to her younger sister after their father announces plans to move from their home of St Louis to New York for a job.

The lyrics for the musical were changed because Garland’s director Vincent Minnelli and co-star Tom Drake felt that Martin’s original lyrics which began with “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, it could be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past” were too depressing. The lyrics were changed to “let your heart be light, Next year all our troubles will be out of sight” in response to their request. The words sung in the musical by Judy Garland have a haunting but very real feel for people who face uncertainty at Christmas, as such they were very meaningful to the US military personnel who heard them at the front in the Second World War.

As originally produced they reflect a hope for a better future as opposed to a carefree present. As such they are probably much more appropriate to our current time than in the mid-1950s when Frank Sinatra recorded a modified version of the song for his album A Jolly Christmas.

Sinatra asked Martin to “jolly up” the line “we’ll have to muddle through somehow” and Martin changed it to “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”

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When Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1957 it too became a hit and the focus on present happiness rather than a hope for a better future fit the times in which it was recorded. Sinatra’s version also notes that “faithful friends gather near to us once more” instead of “will be near to us once more.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52db1eVHQjw

The song was re-written by Martin a number of times including a “Christian” version which included the words “if the Lord allows” instead of “if the fates allow.” Though I am a Christian I think that change was kind of lame, but then if there are a few dollars to be made off religious people who otherwise won’t listen to a song why not?

The song is one is one of the most recorded Christmas songs ever written and can be heard being sung by artists as diverse as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Rod Steward, the Carpenters, Kelly Clarkson, John Denver with the Muppets, the Pretenders, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins, and even Twisted Sister.

Ella-Fitzgerald-Ella-Wishes-You-A-456258

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L5mPfpeXxk

Ella Fitzgerald’s Version

carpentersmerrylittlechristmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vZwWJMAoTA

The Carpenters Christmas Special 

bingcrosbyhaveyourself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tjAIwDavsw

Bing Crosby’s Version

Johndenvermuppets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLQFIdcTKQM

John Denver and the Muppets

pretenders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOFQy0VDrgA

The Pretenders

kellyclarkson

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x18b4nz_mjsbigblog-com-kelly-clarkson-have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas_music

Kelly Clarkson’s Version

onjmlc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGyIlObTtXk

Olivia Newton John

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1l97qmMdTQ

Kenny Loggins

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzxLBdkN7OI

Twisted Sister singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JChA2MHNk2c

Rod Stewart singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

The song as recorded by Judy Garland is actually my favorite, though I also love the Sinatra version. Somehow “muddling through somehow” seems to be more appropriate in my experience.

So enjoy these versions of a song that has touched the hearts of hundreds of millions of people since it was first recorded. May it be an inspiration in these uncertain times of a hope for a better future. Maybe that makes it a better Advent song, but I digress….

For me it is kind of a sad song, but mixed with hope…and I always try to live in hope.

Here’s to muddling through somehow…

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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3 Comments

Filed under music

3 responses to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

  1. Shirley Dundas

    Thanks for sending this one. I was telling the kids and Jeff and Mel how I used to go see this movie every Sat. when I was a kid back home, and still watch it every year. I love it, but always makes me cry. Thanks for all the articles about Judy. She was always my favorite. I’ll forward it to them, or you can if you would. Love, Mom It’s on now here.

  2. beachgal

    That’s Frances Langford with the Bob Hope tour, not Judy Garland

  3. Jim Ralph

    That’s Frances Langford, accompanied by Tony Romano on tour with Hope in the South Pacific, 1944…Not Judy Garland at Stockton Airfield.

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