Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

The Marquee at the opening night performance of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at the Pantages Theatre on November 28, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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.

Throwback Threesome: “White Christmas”

  • "White Christmas" - Bing Crosby (1942)

    This clip from the 1942 movie Holiday Inn was the first time audiences heard Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas,” but it’s not exactly the same as the recording that became a best-selling single of all-time. Here we see Crosby’s character, Jim Hardy, sing the song with Linda Mason, played by Marjorie Reynolds.

  • "White Christmas" - Michael Bublé (2003)

    Contemporary crooner Michael Bublé covered “White Christmas” in 2003 for his festive five-track EP called Let It Snow! The video below was made in the style of the beloved Rankin/Bass animated specials, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), that still air every holiday season. Through the miracle of modern technology, Michael also performed the song with the late Bing Crosby (1903-1977) on Bublé’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ Christmas special for NBC in 2012.

  • "White Christmas" - Meghan Trainor (2020)

    Pop star Meghan Trainor recorded her rendition of “White Christmas” for her 2020 holiday album, A Very Trainor Christmas. On the album, it’s a duet with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. This video features Meghan singing solo and she sounds fantastic on her own.

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