December First, and I’m back for another BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I enjoyed having a little break last time, but I did follow the BATTLE at Mr. McCarthy’s site closely. That was a fun time.
The best thing about BATTLE OF THE BANDS in December is…it’s time to use Christmas music. I love Christmas, and I absolutely adore most Christmas music.
If you were tuning in, back in October, and you saw my posting for Bish Denham’s ‘Listing Hop’, you might remember that one of my favorite movies (my number 6 favorite movie, to be exact) was a musical; Meet Me in St Louis, starring Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, and Mary Astor. In this movie Miss Garland introduced a song that has since become a Christmas favorite, covered by just about everybody; ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.
Here’s what Wacky-Watchee has to say about the tune:
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, was introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics. In 2007, ASCAP ranked "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" the third most performed Christmas song during the preceding five years that had been written by ASCAP members.[
The song first appeared in a scene in Meet Me in St. Louis, in which a family is distraught by the father's plans to move to New York City for a job promotion, leaving behind their beloved home in St. Louis, Missouri, just before the long-anticipated 1904 World's Fair begins. In a scene set on Christmas Eve, Judy Garland's character, Esther, sings the song to cheer up her despondent five-year-old sister, Tootie, played by Margaret O'Brien.
Some of the original lyrics that were penned by Martin were rejected before filming began. They were: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last/ Next year we may all be living in the past / Have yourself a merry little Christmas / Pop that champagne cork / Next year we may all be living in New York." When presented with the original draft lyric, Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing, and asked Martin to change the lyrics. Though he initially resisted, Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat. For example, the lines "It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" became "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight". Garland's version of the song, which was also released as a single by Decca Records, became popular among United States troops serving in World War II; her performance at the Hollywood Canteen brought many soldiers to tears.
This tune was used in another movie that had an impact on me. I’ll let Wacky Wattchee tell you about that one also.
Frank Sinatra's version, backed by popular Hollywood arranger Gus Levene and his orchestra, was controversially used by director Carl Foreman in his 1963 anti-war film The Victors as the soundtrack backdrop (along with the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") to the execution by firing squad of a G.I. deserter in a bleak, snowy field on Christmas Eve – a scene inspired by the real-life execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik in 1945. The New York Times film reviewer, while recognising the power of the scene, complained that "the device itself is almost as specious and sentimental as what [Foreman] is trying to mock".
Yeah, that one was not a happy version, but none the less it had enough of an impact on me that I distinctly remember it, and the movie.
Anyway, for the purposes of this BATTLE I want to use the version by Judy Garland. Here it is as seen in the movie ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’
Next up is someone who has recorded a ton of Christmas songs, Mr. Johnny Mathis. Here’s his version of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Now it’s up to you. Who do you like better, Judy or Johnny.Try not to let the videos sway your vote. (I know it might be hard to resist the movie clip, but remember we're voting on the song.) Please cast your vote in the comment section and tell me why.
Once you finish up here head on over to the home of Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy, where you can enjoy his BATTLE and vote. Find STMcC HERE He will provide links to the other participants this time around. Please try to visit everyone and cast a vote.
I’ll be back on the 7th to cast my vote, and give you the final tally. Until that time… Happy Trails!