Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Songs on the Radio, 1949

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from December 20, 1949 to January 5, 1950, as June enjoys Christmas break at home (with frequent dates with Art)…

Cartoon drawing by Art Price.
In their letters, June and Art frequently refer to the radio playing in the background, sometimes with old-time radio shows and often with music.  As Christmas neared, there would have been plenty of Christmas songs on the radio.

The huge Christmas hit of 1949 was “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry, the famous singing cowboy.  This was something of a follow-up to Autry’s first major Christmas song, “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane),” which was a top 10 hit of the 1947 Christmas season.  “Rudolph” was even bigger, a number one smash hit that sold over 2.5 million copies.  It would have dominated radio airplay during the week before Christmas 1949, 61 years ago.

These are some of the other popular Christmas songs that would have been in the air at the time:  “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” “The Christmas Song,” “Blue Christmas” (Ernest Tubb version, not Elvis yet), “Sleigh Ride,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” along with traditional songs like “Jingle Bells” and, of course, all the Christmas carols.

They would not have heard the following (all written and performed after 1949):  “Frosty the Snowman,” “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Feliz Navidad,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and that one where the dogs bark “Jingle Bells.”

(Tomorrow – a romantic recap.)

© 2010 Lee Price

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