Bing Crosby – Silent Night

This song is not only my favorite Christmas Carol… I think it’s up there with the best songs ever written. I hope everyone has a great Christmas/Holiday.

There are over 26,000 different versions of “Silent Night” on Spotify, meaning you could listen to a different rendition of the carol every night for 72 years.

Halfway through December 1818, the church organ in St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, 11 miles north of Salzburg in what is now Austria, broke (a popular version of the story claims that mice had eaten out the bellows). The curate, 26-year-old Josef Mohr, realized it couldn’t be repaired in time to provide music on Christmas Eve. He told his troubles to his friend, a headmaster and amateur composer named Franz Gruber, while giving him as a present a poem he had written two years earlier. Gruber was so taken by the rhythm of the poem that he set it to music, and on Christmas Eve there was music after all. Mohr played his guitar while the pair sang the song. It was the first public performance of “Stille Nacht” or as we know it “Silent Night.”

It is believed that Silent Night has been translated into over 300 languages around the world, and it is one of the most popular carols of all time.

From Songfacts

Bing Crosby’s version became his best-seller of the 1930s.

Music licensing company PPL announced in December 2010 that this carol tops the list of Britain’s “most recorded Christmas song of all time.” Said Mike Dalby, Lead Reporting Analyst at PPL: “Silent Night is a beautiful carol which encapsulates the feeling of Christmas entirely. Everyone from punk band The Dickies right through to Sinead O’Connor has recorded it, which exemplifies just how much it resonates with all different types of artists.”

According to PPL, Sinead O’Connor’s 1991 recording was the most popular version of the carol in Britain.

When the organ builder finally did show up to repair the St. Nicholas organ, he was given a copy of the “Silent Night” composition and brought it home. From there, traveling folk singers got a hold of it and began incorporating the carol into their repertoire. It didn’t make its way to America until 1839.

As the song gained traction throughout Europe, Franz Gruber composed several different orchestral arrangements. He donated all profits from the carol to local charities for children and the elderly, and eventually died penniless.

According to Steve Sullivan’s Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Crosby, a devout Catholic, refused to record the religious song, arguing it would be “like cashing in on the church or the Bible.” Crosby met with Father Richard Ranaghan, a priest trying to raise money for overseas missions, and decided to donate the royalties to the cause. But Ranaghan died in a car accident later that year, so the money went to several charities throughout the US and abroad.

This song lends itself to interpretation because the first four bars are all on the same chord. Jim Brickman explains: “There’s room to treat it dynamically in a different way: in the tempo, in the sounds and silences, in the time signature.”

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Bing Crosby – Silent Night”

  1. I was six games down in the football pool two weeks ago, but I caught up three games the previous week and gained 4 wins over the leader this past week, so now I am in the lead. The only thing is this song is now stuck in my head which is “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Christmas…it’s been great getting to know you and newer music through your blog…well new to me.
      I like Stevie’s version also. That rough voice adds to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too I was a junior in high school- i went to play football with some fellas i knew- we were walking back to one of the guys houses and someone saw us and said Bing Crosby died playing golf…. there is a great two volume bio [ and it’s not finished yet just up to the mid 40’s } on Bing by Gary Giddins…… I always remember something Bob Hope said about Bing in a Sinatra bio- “Bing was a real SOB” but he sure could sing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve heard that about him also. I know his kids had some troubles with him. The books would be interesting…he seemed like a complicated figure.

        Liked by 1 person

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