Irving Berlin

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I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
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White Christmas
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The Night Before Christmas
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Irving Berlin may be most fondly remembered for writing 'White Christmas' but the Russian born composer left an indelible mark with songs such as 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' (which actually kick-started a dance craze in early part of the 20th century), 'There's Business Like Show Business' and 'I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm' which were internationally embraced. With a career that stretched over 60 years Berlin wrote in excess of fifteen hundred songs but it is his festive ones that are of most interest to us and it is hard to look beyond his song that was made famous by Bing Crosby.

Berlin actually made 2 attempts at 'White Christmas' before he arrived at the one we all know and love. It was initially themed on the rich residents of L.A. who spent the season drinking cocktails around the pool rather than engaging in more traditional festive related activities. A rethink saw Berlin adopting a snowier outlook and it immediately made an impression on Bing Crosby who recorded the song for a live radio broadcast for World War II troops on Christmas Day 1941. Such was the response that a studio version was never going to be too far behind and so in 1942 Bing and Irving's wonderful 'White Christmas' was born on the set of Bing's movie 'Holiday Inn'. Such was the song's impact that it won Berlin an Academy Award for 'Best Song'.

'Holiday Inn' also featured Bing’s rendition of Berlin's 'Happy Holiday' which was initially intended to mark New Year's Eve but has since become associated with the 12 Days and in the process has been retitled 'Happy Holidays'. Another Irving Berlin composition called 'I've Got Your Love To Keep Me Warm' has slid its way into the Christmas affections of lots of people thanks its wonderful fluency in conjuring images of the cold and snow outside. Although there have been many interpretations of Berlin’s composition it is Billie Holiday's 1937 recording that you will find on lots of different Christmas compilations. With her smokey vocals and a minimal jazz backdrop this is perfect for snuggling under a blanket while nearby the yuletide log bequeaths its fiery warmth.

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