Bing Crosby – Silent Night

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! Thank you all for tuning in all year…I really appreciate it. 

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 733 different versions of “Silent Night” in the last 36 years…not counting the years before that. 

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: Badfinger (Max)

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

32 thoughts on “Bing Crosby – Silent Night”

  1. One of these timeless classics that will never go out of style. That tune was also part of my Spotify-generated Christmas song playlist I enjoyed with my parents yesterday. They also like English Christmas songs. In fact my dad even prefers them over classic German Christmas carols!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a wonderful story and it still amazes me how meaningful it is all these years later.
    ps. Glad you posted your favourite, sorry I didn’t do this (I have in past years)as my theme was songs that didn’t mention Christmas or were not originally meant for Christmas. I agree as far as writing this is a remarkable piece!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He said he just hated the song and refused to do it…so they wrote the counter melody to Peace On Earth for him to do while Bing was singing Little Drummer Boy.
        He came to the set with orange hair, jump suit, and ear rings…they asked him to take the ear rings out and he must have taken the orange out also lol.

        Like

  3. Great song/carol that’s so much a part of the season. I don’t know which version I’ve heard I like best but they’re almost all good. Guess we owe a debt to those German mice! Merry Christmas Max!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is one that I can still listen to, I think because it has a slow tempo but is not slow as a wet week.
    And as Dave says, those mice nibbling away at the organ helped produce a classic. Enjoy the special day, stoke up that yuletide log, warm inside’s the place to stay, go eeeeasy on the egg nog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The quintessential Christmas song. When we do it at church (at every Mass between Christmas and Epiphany), they turn the lights off so that the church is only lit by the Christmas lights. Again, Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

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