Post New Year’s Day is a good time
to share one of those holiday playlist songs that really have nothing to do with Christmas or
any other seasonal fest. Among the most common of these are the winter or snow songs—think Frosty the Snowman for kids, the seduction or date rape song (take
your pick) Baby its Cold Outside, Snow from the movie White Christmas, My
Favorite Things from the Sound of Music, and of course Jingle
Bells. But the most popular of
the more modern of those songs is Winter Wonderland.
Winter Wonderland was written by composer Felix Bernard and the consumptive lyricist Richard B. Smith.
song was written in 1934 by Felix
Bernard and lyricist Richard B.
Smith. Since its original RCA recording
by Richard Himber and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra, it has
been covered by over 200 different
artists, including Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra,
Amy Grant, Michael Buble, The
Eurythmics, and Radiohead.
lyrics were reportedly inspired by
memories of his hometown Honesdale, Pennsylvania park freshly
buried in snow but were written while he was being treated for tuberculosis in the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton.
Children played in Central Park in Honesdale, Pa., across the street from Richard Smith’s childhood home, which inspired him to write Winter Wonderland.
the most notable covers were by Johnny
Mercer which reached #4 on the Billboard radio play chart in 1946
and by Perry Como the same year
which was in the top ten songs in retail sales.
version is notable for changing the
lyrics. Despite the earlier success
of the song, Sinatra was warned that powerful protestant clergy were prepared to demand that radio stations
ban the song because of the line “In
the meadow we will build a snowman/We’ll pretend that he is Parson Brown/He’ll
say ‘are you married?’ We’ll say no man/But you can do the job when you’re in
town.” The preachers were alarmed that
the words implied hanky-panky by the
unmarried couple. Old
Blue Eyes changed the word to the nonsensical “In the meadow we can build a
snowman /And pretend that he’s a circus clown/We’ll have lots of fun with Mr.
Snowman/Until the other kiddies knock him down.”
other later covers of the song used Sinatra’s version while other stood by the
original words. Some even used both
Today we will share a version by former big band singer turned movie star Doris Day. The video clips accompanying her singing are from two popular nostalgia fests she made opposite Gordon McCrea, On Moonlight Bay in 1951 and By The Light Of The Silvery Moon in 1953.