Written By Jennifer Stallman
Did you know that some of the greatest Christmas Songs were created by Jewish Songwriters?
Here are 12 holiday classics that were written by Jews!
1. “SILVER BELLS” written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (both Jewish)
“Silver Bells” started out as the questionable “Tinkle Bells.” Said Ray Evans, “We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his first wife said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?'” The word is slang for urination.
2. “LET IT SNOW” written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn (Both Jewish)
It was written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions.
Although this song went to #1 in 1946, the lyrics never actually mention Christmas.
3. “WINTER WONDERLAND” written by Felix Bernard and Richard B.Smith
Due to its seasonal theme, “Winter Wonderland” is often regarded as a Christmas song in the Northern Hemisphere, although the holiday itself is never mentioned in the lyrics. There is a mention of “sleigh-bells” several times, implying that this song refers to the Christmas period.
4. “RUN RUDOLPH RUN” Written by Johnny Marks
“Run Rudolph Run” has been played in many movies, including:
Jingle All the Way
The Santa Clause 2
Deck the Halls
5. “RUDOLF THE RED-NOSED REINDEER” written by Johnny Marks
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which was based on a poem of the same name, written by Marks’s brother-in-law, Robert L. May, Rudolph’s creator. A television film based on the story and song first aired in 1964, with Marks himself composing the score.
6. “A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS” is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks
The song was featured in the 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which Burl Ives voiced the narrator, Sam the Snowman.
7. “ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE” also written by Johnny Marks
This song was written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958. By the song’s 50th anniversary in 2008, Lee’s original version had sold over 25 million copies with the 4th most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single, and has since been recorded by numerous other music artists.
8. “THE CHRISTMAS SONG” (CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE), music and lyrics by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells.
This song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool”, the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.
9. “WHITE CHRISTMAS” written by Irving Berlin
The song was first sung by Bing Crosby. Crosby’s “White Christmas” single has been credited with selling 50 million copies, the most by any release and therefore it is the biggest-selling single worldwide of all time. The Guinness Book of World Records 2009 Edition lists the song as a 100-million seller, encompassing all versions of the song, including albums.
10. “I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM” music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
Although not strictly a Christmas songas the lyrics make no mention of the holiday, the tune has been recorded for many artists’ Christmas albums and is a standard part of the holiday song repertoire in the U.S.
11. “YOU’RE A MEAN ONE MR. GRINCH” composed by Albert Hague
This song was originally written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
12. “SANTA BABY,” music and lyrics by Joan Ellen Javits and Philip Springer.
The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at a Christmas list addressed to Santa Clausby a woman who wants extravagant gifts such as sables, yachts, and decorations from Tiffany’s.