Album: Merry Christmas (1934)
Charted: 2
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was written in 1934 by Richard B. Smith and Felix Bernard. The lyricist Richard Smith served as an editor of a newspaper before taking up a career in music. The composer Felix Bernard, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, played the piano with popular orchestras and was also a tap dancer and writer of musical comedies for Vaudeville. He later became a composer and though this proved his greatest success, he also earned a steady income writing songs for Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor on radio shows. Smith was inspired to write the song after seeing the central park in his hometown of Honesdale, Pennsylvania covered by snow.
  • This became one of the most popular holiday songs of all time, but unlike most seasonal favorites, there is no consensus on the most popular version of the song. When the bandleader Guy Lombardo recorded it with his Royal Canadians in 1934, the song was a huge hit. In 1946 Lombardo successfully revived it with a Boogie Woogie arrangement accompanied by the Andrews Sisters, which sold a million copies. Perry Como also successfully recorded it the same year, but the song fell out of favor in the Rock era, and no version has made the Top 40 since the 1955 creation of the Hot 100 chart.

    Like many Yuletide favorites in need of a remake, "Winter Wonderland" found a new audience thanks to the 1987 charity album A Very Special Christmas, which featured a version by Eurythmics alongside other holiday songs by Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Bon Jovi and several other very popular artists. The song picked up steam, with subsequent recordings by Garth Brooks, Jewel, Cyndi Lauper, The Cocteau Twins, Amy Grant, Sugarland, Air Supply, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashanti, Hellogoodbye, and Clay Aiken. These numerous contemporary takes on the song made it, according to ASCAP, one of the most played holiday songs on American radio since 2002, battling it out for the top spot from year to year with "Sleigh Ride" and "The Christmas Song." The Eurythmics version is the most played.
  • The song was originally recorded by Richard Himber and his Orchestra at the end of a recording session when they found some time to spare and it was suggested that this new tune be tried. Among his orchestra was a young clarinetist, Artie Shaw, who was doing some studio work to support himself while he caught up on his formal education.
  • Though this is generally recognized as a Christmas song, the lyrics do not refer to the holiday season.
  • The details are vague, but the folks larking about in this song appear to be an unmarried couple, and when they build a snowman, Parson Brown offers to marry them, and they accept the offer. This verse appears again later in the song, although in later versions, "pretend that he is Parson Brown" is replaced with "pretend that he's a circus clown."
  • In Britain, the tune is frequently used by fans for soccer chants. One example was in 2006 when the Manchester United fans taunted Chelsea fans with: "Mourinho are you listening, you'd better keep our trophy glistening, coz we'll be back in May to take it away, walking in a Fergie Wonderland!" ("Mourinho" being Jose Mourinho the Chelsea manager and "Fergie", Alex "Fergie" Ferguson, the Manchester United manager).
  • A version by Darlene Love was part of A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, which was one of the first Christmas compilation albums, and could be considered the first concept album. Made up of seasonal favorites performed by Spector's go-to musicians, the album took a painstaking six weeks to record in the middle of summer, but was sadly released on November 22, 1963, which was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Bob Rivers, who was a longtime DJ on Seattle radio, made a name for himself doing parodies of Chirstmas songs. One of his most popular is his take on this one called "Walkin' 'Round In Women's Underwear."
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Comments: 3

  • Casey from Glendale, AzKenne: dude they already mentioned that above...why would you repeat it..lol?
  • Kenne from Phoenix, AzThis song was recorded by Felix Bernard (composer) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist) in 1934.
  • Kiwi from San Jose, CaClay sounds so heavenly!
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