The Origins Of Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas'11:30

(Michael Dwyer/AP)
(Michael Dwyer/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

Bing Crosby's 1942 recording of "White Christmas" is one of those classic holiday songs, but the song has quite a story behind it. Conductor Rob Kapilow breaks down the piece for us, from a composer's point of view.


Rob Kapilow, conductor, composer, commentator and author, most recently of "What Makes it Great? Short Masterpieces, Great Composers." He's creator of the performance series "What Makes it Great?" He tweets @robkapilow.

Interview Highlights

On The Author

"First, I love that this was actually written by an immigrant Jew. That somehow this perfect, quintessential Christmas song was written by an immigrant Jew, inventing the sound of Christmas for America. It's just a fantastic story."

On A Long Lost Verse

"Also what I love is that there is actually a verse to this that no one knows. Originally, this song was written as a parody. The original beginning of this song was: "The sun is shining/The grass is green/The orange and palm trees sway/There's never been such a day/In Beverly Hills, L.A."

"It was set in the present tense, and it was about going back to this distance past. Once it became that this was this postcard to a New England distant past, that everyone wished was theirs, they got rid of the verse. But originally it was supposed to be a parody song with a completely different verse."

This article was originally published on December 21, 2017.

This segment aired on December 21, 2017.

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