The Story Behind White Christmas Song

Last Updated on 2022-03-14 Nancy
DVDFab All-In-One
DVDFab All-In-One
AI-Powered 25-in-1 Complete DVD/(4K UHD) Blu-ray/Video Solutions.

White Christmas song is the best Christmas song that we are known to. But do you know the history behind this snow song White Christmas? The story behind this song is even sadder than the white Christmas song lyrics. Read below to know more about the White Christmas song's original story.

Who Wrote the White Christmas Song?

Irving Berlin, the songwriter, composed the song while recalling an old-fashioned Christmas season. Irving was born in Tyumen as Israel Baline and was the youngest of eight siblings he had. Out of eight, six of them emigrated with their parents in 1893 to the U.S.

His father worked hard to make a living in the U.S., so the kids had no option other than taking after-school jobs. Irving delivered telegrams and sold newspapers during that time. After the death of his father, Irving supported himself as a song plugger after leaving school. Song pluggers were people that music companies would hire to travel different regions and perform new songs in vaudeville theaters, saloons, and on street corners. By introducing a song to the people in this manner, the companies expected to stimulate the sale of sheet music.

white christmas song

It is still unknown exactly where and when Irving composed the song. Some say that he wrote it in the 40s in California while staying at the La Quinta Hotel. It is said that one night, Irving said to his secretary: "Get your pen and note down this song. I just thought of the best song I have ever written. Yeah! I just wrote the best song that anyone has ever written!" And this is how the song White Christmas came into existence.

Different Version of the Song

Bing Crosby (1942)

The original “White Christmas” song by crooner Crosby is the most famous and best of all the versions. It is a must-have song that should be played during the Christmas holidays. The song has made it to the Billboard charts many times since its launch in 1942, and stays one of the greatest songs ever made for Christmas.

snow song white christmas

Elvis Presley (1957)

As compared to other earlier versions of this song, Elvis Presley’s version uses a very different approach for this cover. The singer’s deep voice adds a twist to the original version that stays unmatched to this day.

Darlene Love (1963)

Darlene Love’s snow song from white Christmas is an upgraded track that shows plenty of Christmas cheer and powerful vocals. This version also has a spoken bit at the beginning. It contains lyrics from the original rarely showcased in other versions.

white christmas song original

Bette Midler (2003)

The “White Christmas” by Bette Midler opens with her singing the starting lyrics of the version that a number of artists miss out. The version itself remains very true to the spirit of the original cover, and the lovely voice by Midler is certain to take you to a winter season no matter in which corner of the world you are.

Lady Gaga (2011)

Lady Gaga, in 2011, had a special for Thanksgiving on the ABC channel where she performed hit songs from Born This Way, along with some Christmas songs. Her concert dropped the limelight on her incredible vocal features. In addition to this, she added an additional verse that mixed easily with the original cover.

Jessie J (2018)

The powerful voice of Jessie J is displayed all over her holiday album from 2018, This Christmas Day. This version has plenty of signature vocals by Jessie.

Which Version is the Most Well-known?

1947 re-recording of the original version is most often heard today. The 1942 original song was spoiled due to overuse during that time. Crosby recorded the song on March 19, 1947, together with the Darby Singers and the Trotter Orchestra, where they tried to recreate the original recording session. The re-recorded song is known for its addition of celesta and flutes at the start of the track.

When Did Bing Crosby First Record It?

The first performance of the song publicly was on the NBC radio show by Bing Crosby. This was done on Christmas Day, 1941 at the Kraft Music Hall. He later recorded the track with the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra on May 29, 1942, in mere 18 minutes and it was launched on July 30 as part of an album from Holiday Inn—the musical film.

Here is an interesting fact. When Bing Crosby first listened to Berlin play the song at the first rehearsals in 1941, he did not instantly like the song. Crosby just said: "I do not think we have any issues with that one, Irving." The song was not believed to be the major hit from the movie, and rather the song Be Careful, It's My Heart, played during the section for Valentine's Day of the movie, was believed to be a larger hit.

Missing Verse from the Original Cover

Bing Crosby initially sang the song from a New Yorker’s point of view during Christmas stranded in sunny California. In the movie, the song starts with this verse:

The sun is shining, the grass is green

The orange and palm trees sway

There's never been such a day

In Beverly Hills, LA

But it's December the 24th

And I'm longing to be up north

What Do the Numbers Say?

The song at the beginning performed poorly, but by October-end of 1942, the song crossed the Your Hit Parade chart in the U.S. It stayed in the number one position till 1943, and it pleased strongly to the listeners at the time of World War II. A few weeks later after the Pearl Harbor attacks, Crosby launched the song on a broadcast on the Christmas Day. The Armed Forces Network was crowded with requests for the White Christmas song.

In 1942, the song was on top of the Billboard charts for 11 weeks. Later after re-release of the song, it came back to number one in 1945 as well as 1946. In the U.K., the song was launched in 1952 before the first chart. A re-release in 1977, it got to number five.

The original version is the best-selling song in the world with estimated sales more than 50 million copies all over the world. Other versions of the cover, together with Crosby's, have also sold more than 50 million copies.


What is the #1 Christmas song of all time?

White Christmas is the best and #1 Christmas song with more than 50 million copies sold all over the world.

What are some popular Christmas carols?

  • Deck the Halls
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Jingle Bells
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Children, Go Where I Send Thee
  • Christmas Tree
  • Joy to the World
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
  • Go Tell It On The Mountain
  • Holy Night

What are some best Christmas songs?

  • ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey
  • ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!
  • ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ by Darlene Love
  • ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17
  • ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
  • ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses
  • ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ by Band Aid
  • ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ by Brenda Lee
  • ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ by John Lennon & Yoko Ono


In short, you just had a look at the history of the snow song White Christmas. And we are sure that this season of holidays, you will definitely listen to this song, but with a mind full of history behind this song and the goodness of Christmas.

Related Articles