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Album: Comedy Christmas ClassicsReleased: 1958Charted:
With the official title "Green Chri$tma$," this is about the over-commercialization of the Christmas Holiday. The song uses characters from the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol in Prose. Freberg used Ebenezer Scrooge as an advertising executive, and humble Bob Crachit, as the owner of a spice company trying to keep the true spirit of the holiday. There is a board meeting headed up by Mr. Scrooge, the CEO of an unnamed advertising agency. A lot of the conversation held in the meeting discusses plans to tie their products in with the Christmas holiday. Such advertisements not-so-subtlely referenced include Coca-Cola and Chesterfield Cigarettes.
Freberg was a popular disc jockey, and sponsors of his radio show were miffed when this was released. Some sponsors refused to pay for any commercials aired within 5 minutes of the song being played when it first came out. Since radio and advertising were so critical, the song received no commercial airplay until after 1983.
As reported by UPI on December 27, 1958, the day after Christmas of 1958, Stan Freberg presented a check for $1,000 to the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California as his royalties from the first year's release of "Green Chri$tma$." He gave all the proceeds from the song to charity, defusing any criticism that he was hypocritically profiting from the subject of his satire.