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If the Fates Allow: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a Haunting Song Of Hope

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

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. I think that in our day that some speak louder than others.

One of those songs, at least 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. It is a haunting song with a fascinating story.

But the lyrics for the musical were different than the ones originally penned by Martin, and it would not be the last time that the words were changed.

For the musical, Garland, 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. Martin resisted but finally bowed to pressure and 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.”

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.”

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.

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 than a Christmas song, and maybe that’s why Muddling Through Somehow isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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

Here’s to muddling through somehow…

Peace

Padre Steve

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A Haunting Hope: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

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. I think that in our day that some speak louder than others.

One of those songs, at least 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.”

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.”

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.

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 and since until about evening on the 24th it is still the fourth Sunday of Advent that might actually work.

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

Here’s to muddling through somehow…

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s White Christmas

holiday-inn-ss

I don’t do much singing nor do I play a musical instrument but I have been listening to nothing on the radio the past several days except Christmas music on the Sirius XM Sounds of the Season channel. I have stopped, for the next couple of weeks listening to sports talk radio, news and political commentary and even my beloved 1970s music. One song that appears quite regularly is the classic is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas which was first recorded by Bing Crosby for the 1942 film Holiday Inn. The song was released shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack by Crosby and has become a staple of Christmas.

Decca18429A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yg5g_Xl-uU

It is really quite Amazing, the song is the most recorded song on this planet, and possibly even on the Klingon Home World in the future, of course it will be the Twisted Sister Version that makes number one on the Klingon Charts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2JdsZ0fSr8

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When it was released in 1942 White Christmas sold over 30 million copies and remained number one on the Pop and R&B charts for 10 weeks. It remained the number one single in its initial release for over 50 years when Elton John released his Candle in the Wind 1997 written and performed for the funeral of Diana Princess of Wales. There is controversy about this as White Christmas was re-released by Decca in 1945 and 1946 and the totals for all are estimated at over 50 million copies as opposed to the 33 million of Candle in the Wind 1997. The song is the only song to ever reach the number one position on the pop charts three separate times.

The song has been recorded over 500 times by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Ernest Tubbs, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, the Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Chicago, Otis Redding, Barbara Streisand and even Twisted Sister.

The Drifters version was the first appeared on the R&B chart before crossing over to the pop charts. However it was little known until it was used in 1990 film Home Alone. 

1996-drifters

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

A classic country rendition of the song was done by the legendary Ernest Tubb. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNzvUh-tJRY while Elvis Presley recorded hit in 1957  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3shhn_elvis-presley-white-christmas_music 

 

Many others recorded it as well, some include Andy Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVfVUiZ-0ERod Stewart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EvQOmjXCxcBette Midler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYswJUHZG0gBarbara Streisand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyfYDOvPgcQ, Otis Redding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwCcVRH8idA Dean Martin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubi18WX3w6c Tony Bennett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQpc2w1oWp0 and Frank Sinatra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3YOr8RIIo

Many more contemporary singers and groups have recored this classic. Bob Marley and the Whalers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEfGeOcQiQM  Rascal Flatts  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMi1R96wfdA, Elton John http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEOG66l1BY Chicago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_3-JIOuLiMMichael Bolton:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrf9weGDCxE, Michael Buble  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDwFehTaiuw , Kelly Clarkson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCl7-0dMOzs , the Celtic Women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcEsypy6tIE, CeeLo Green http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZLZHIrkG7w  , Diana Krall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS0K5R46vvM, Taylor Swift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZhdTxgnLTE  Lady Gaga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy1Yxng6IGA 

So my friends, enjoy a very White Christmas!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Merry Christmas to All!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Frank Sinatra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpPdl0StUVs

It is Christmas morning and thankfully it is a day of rest for most people. Of course there are those in the military, police, fire, emergency services and healthcare that are on duty  and those that work in jobs that allow people to eat and travel during the holidays.  But for most the day is one of rest, most stores are closed as are many restaurants.  Movie theaters tend to open up as people emerge from their homes and since it is Sunday many will find themselves in Church if they did not attend a Christmas Eve service or Mass.

I’ll be Home for Christmas- Bing Crosby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFGfCn5rKIM&feature=related

The NBA will be busy will a bevy of games as it tries to open its season and begins to attempt to recover from the effects of the strike and lockout.  The NFL played most of its games yesterday save the game tonight between the Bears and the Packers in Green Bay.

As for us we opened presents last night, Judy gave me all things Orioles including a really nice watch, Orioles floor mats for my car and the new Orioles cartoon bird hat.  I was out much of the day yesterday as none of what I ordered online arrived and I can’t say what those things are here because it would ruin the surprise so she got a few books to tide her over until they arrive.

The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpPdl0StUVs

For us the highlight was watching Molly unwrap her Christmas presents. Molly figured out this Christmas thing as a puppy and the first time we wrapped presents for her she tore open the paper and began to play with her toys. Last night was no different and like any “kid” she was abuzz when the presents started to come out.  She played for hours last night interspersing the play to give us attention and then to have me take her for walks in order that she might both do her business and hunt for the deer which populate our neighborhood.  She didn’t get any deer last night which I ascribe to Santa having borrowed them for the evening.

Today for us will be quiet. Judy is trying to fight off whatever bug is going around and continuing to recover from her Achilles tendon surgery. There will be the usual calls home and I will celebrate a Eucharist here at home since she is in no shape to go out. Later we will have a small Christmas dinner here at the house.  Molly of course is resting with Judy right now.

The First Noël by Celtic Women

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDtvtJxsbuc&feature=related

Today I wish all of my readers and anyone else that stops by a Merry Christmas, and Happy continued Hanukkah to my Jewish friends.  I do pray that you and your families enjoy the day and each other.  I feel honored that people actually subscribe to my articles and I hear back from so many of you in the comments section.

If you have the time feel free to hang around this site or look at some of the links to some of the sites that I like.  My friend Joel Watts has a particularly good site called Unsettled Christianity. I highly recommend it.

With that I bid you a Merry Christmas and a blessed day that hopefully is filled with joy and peace.  Please pray for those in harm’s way or any danger or distress.

Blessings

Padre Steve+

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