Saturday, December 4, 1993

Today in Music (1943): Bing Crosby “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” charted

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Walter Kent (music), Kim Gannon and Buck Ram (words) (see lyrics here)

Released: October 26, 1943

First Charted: December 4, 1943

Peak: 3 PM, 7 GA, 3 HP, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.6 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” originated in 1922 as a poem by Buck Ram. The songwriter would later be known for some of the Platters’ biggest hits, including “Only You” and “The Great Pretender.” He wrote it for his mother while he was a student at the University of Illinois. WK

In 1943, lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent turned it into a song. They were acquaintances of Ram’s mother and happened to discuss the poem at a chance meeting at a bar in 1941. WK Gannon and Kent turned it into a song sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed oversees during World War II. He writes a letter to his family, saying he’ll be home for the holidays.

Bing Crosby recorded the song as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)” on October 1, 1943, with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra. His version of the “traditional Tin Pan Alley Christmas favorite” TY1 has been the most successful, reaching #3 on the pop charts and selling a million copies. It became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows. WK The G.I. magazine Yank said Crosby “accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.” WK Surprisingly, the BBC banned the song, fearing it would lower morale amongst British troops. WK

Others to chart with the song include Reba McEntire (1999, #68 CW), Kenny Chesney (2003, #60 CW), Joe Nichols (2005, #56 CW), Sara Evans (2006, #46 CW), Josh Groban (2006, #96 BB, 1 AC), Elvis Presley with Carrie Underwood (2008, #54 CW), Brian McKnight (2008, #14 AC), Rascal Flatts (2008, #34 CW), Michael Bublé (2010, #7 AU), Kelly Clarkson (2011, #93 BB, 7 AC), Megan Trainor (2014, #5 AC), Seth MacFarlane (2014, #28 AC), Kanisha K (2016, #26 AC), Idina Menzel (2019, #24 AC), and Camila Cabello (2021, #71 BB, 24 UK).


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First posted 12/20/2023.

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