It’s a song with only eight lines that went to become the best-selling single of all time. “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 musical film Holiday Inn, which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 15th Academy Awards. The song inspired another Bing Crosby movie called White Christmas, which was later adapted as a stage musical. The movie, co-starring Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, was the highest-grossing film of 1954.
Bing Crosby’s recording topped the Billboard singles chart for 11 weeks in 1942. It returned to the number one spot again in December of 1943 and 1944. The song returned to the charts many more times through the years and is the world’s best-selling single. Bing’s version is estimated to have sold more than 50 million physical copies worldwide, according to Guinness World Records.
Since its release, “White Christmas” has been recorded by many other artists as well. There have been more than 500 recorded versions of the song, in several different languages, making it the most-recorded Christmas song ever. When the figures for other versions are added to Bing Crosby’s iconic recording, sales of the song are well over 100 million copies. For this edition of the Throwback Threesome, we’ll look at the original and a couple of those later versions.