“I’ll be Home for Christmas” was originally written to honor homesick soldiers who were posted overseas during the Second World War. The lyrics take the form of a letter from a soldier to his family back home. It’s bittersweet, with requests for snow, mistletoe, and presents under the tree because as he says, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” Bing Crosby and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded “I’ll be Home for Christmas” in October 1943 and that’s become the definitive version of the song.
During the war, the United States government created its own record label! After making special licensing agreements with the major record companies, the government issued “V-Discs” for the troops. There was classical music and military music, but it was jazz, big band, and swing that were especially popular. The V-Disc records sometimes had specially-recorded introductions from band leaders and other performers. Bing Crosby’s “I’ll be Home for Christmas” was an immensely popular V-Disc and the song was always requested at USO shows. The Army’s weekly magazine said that Crosby “accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.” Curiously, the British government forbade the BBC from broadcasting the song because it thought the bittersweet Christmas tune would hurt morale!
A young man and his brother recently decided to record their own version of “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” It took three hours, but they finally got the right take, which we’ve posted for you below. He isn’t Bing Crosby, but he still deserves a big round of applause along with his brother, who was on keyboard.
Did you enjoy this version of “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or is it Bing Crosby or nothing for you? Let us know in the comments at Facebook and be sure to like and share!