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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2010
Ace Collins is the writer of more than sixty books, including several bestsellers: Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dogs Life. Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, He continues to publish several new titles each year, including a series of novels, the first of which is Farraday Road. Ace has appeared on scores of television shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight.
In his latest book, Collins reveals the stories behind the greatest hits of Christmas, all the songs your readers know by heart and have welcomed into their lives and families for generations. But how many know who wrote them, any why?
For example, everyone knows, "The Christmas Song" (sometimes called "Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire". But how many know that jazz great Mel Torme wrote the song after visiting a friend in California, and seeing what his friend had written on a spiral pad: "Chestnuts roasting...Jack Frost nipping...Yuletide carols..." Nat King Cole recorded it in 1946. The rest is history.
Readers of Collins new book will discover the origins of such famous Christmas songs as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "White Christmas," "Little Drummer Boy," "Feliz Navidad," "O Holy Night," and two dozen others. It'll be a "hit" with readers everywhere.
So it is with every chapter in this book. And the greatest surprise of all is that the majority of these Christmas standards were one-hit-wonders by their lyricists and composers. In fact, many times it was a total fluke or some fool luck that even led to the songs being discovered and recorded.
Some of the stories are ironic, even startling. Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane were the top songwriters in Hollywood and Broadway in the 1940s, writing hits for Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, and Ethel Merman. Yet, when they sent their song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to an upstart teenager named Judy Garland, she sent it back and demanded that they change part of the lyrics. The original version said, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last. Next year we'll be living in the past." Garland thought that servicemen hearing this song would become greatly depressed, so she refused to sing those lyrics. The songwriters bowed to her demands and rewrote the lines to say, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light. From now on our sorrows will be out of sight." Garland loved the change, used the song in her next movie, "Meet Me in St. Louis," and the song became an instant holiday classic.
If you want to know how "The Chipmunk Song" was created, how Elvis turned "Blue Christmas" into a rock and roll phenomenal hit, how "The Christmas Song" had to be sneaked into the recording studio by Nat King Cole so that the white singers wouldn't discover it first, or how "Silver Bells" created a howling response from one composer's wife when she heard the original version called "Tinkle Bells," then get this book and start having fun. My wife and I read the whole book aloud to each other because it was so much fun to hear the stories with someone else. In fact, we've already made up our minds that we're going to read it again next Christmas. Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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