Tag Archives: music

I’ll Be Home For Christmas: Christmas Music for the Home Front Housewife

What would the home front housewife listen to during the holidays? Here’s a list of Christmas songs and links to recordings so you can make your own 1940s playlist. Enjoy!

White Christmas

“White Christmas” was first heard on Bing Crosby’s NBC radio show on Christmas Day, 1941. He recorded it for his 1942 movie “Holiday Inn” with the Ken Darby Singers and John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. The song has been wildly successful, and Crosby’s version is the world’s best selling single. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I’ve included that 1942 recording for you here.

https://archive.org/details/78_white-christmas_bing-crosby-ken-darby-singers-john-scott-and-his-orchestra-irving-b_gbia0016907a/White+Christmas+-+Bing+Crosby+-+Ken+Darby+Singers.flac

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Bing Crosby also had a top ten hit with “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. He recorded this original version in 1943, again with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. The song was written for soldiers who were overseas for the holidays.

https://archive.org/details/78_ill-be-home-for-christmas-if-only-in-my-dreams_bing-crosby-john-scott-trotter-an_gbia0011911a/I’ll+Be+Home+for+Christmas+(If+Only+In+My+Dr+-+Bing+Crosby.flac

Jingle Bells/Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Here’s a fun record from 1943. The Andrews Sisters join Bing Crosby for two favorites. “Jingle Bells” was on side A and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was on side B. If you are curious, “Jingle Bells“ was written in 1857 and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was written in 1934. The link will take you to a page that includes both songs.

https://archive.org/details/78_santa-claus-is-coming-to-town_bing-crosby-and-the-andrews-sisters-vic-schoen-and-hi_gbia0048407/09+-+Jingle+Bells+-+Bing+Crosby+and+the+Andrews+Sisters.flac

I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Irving Berlin had another hit with his 1937 “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”. It’s been a popular song ever since it debuted in the movie “On the Avenue” with Dick Powell and Alice Faye. I’ve included that recording here.

https://archive.org/details/78_ive-got-my-love-to-keep-me-warm_dick-powell-irving-berlin_gbia0131899b/I’VE+GOT+MY+LOVE+TO+KEEP+ME+WARM+-+Dick+Powell.flac

Winter Wonderland

Written in 1934, “Winter Wonderland” is another favorite that the home front housewife would have enjoyed. Technically not a Christmas song, it’s commonly played during the holiday season. This version features Ambrose and His Orchestra in 1935.

https://archive.org/details/78_winter-wonderland_ambrose-and-his-orchestra-at-the-embassy-club-london-smith-ber_gbia0150805a/WINTER+WONDERLAND+-+Ambrose+and+his+Orchestra+(At+the+Embassy+Club%2C+London).flac

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Written in July 1945, this one barely makes it into our war years time period. I’ve included it here even though the war was over before the holiday season began that year. The first person to record it was Vaughn Monroe, and I’ve included that version here.

https://archive.org/details/78_let-it-snow-let-it-snow-let-it-snow_vaughn-monroe-and-his-orchestra-vaughn-monro_gbia0048393a/Let+It+Snow!+Let+It+Snow+-+Vaughn+Monroe+and+his+Orchestra.flac

The Christmas Song

This is another that barely makes it into our time period. It was written by Robert Wells and Mel Torme in 1945, but it wasn’t until June 1946 that Nat King Cole and The King Cole Trio recorded the song. That first recording is the one I’ve added here.

https://archive.org/details/78_the-christmas-song-merry-christmas-to-you_the-king-cole-trio-torme-wells-king-col_gbia0001193a/The+Christmas+Song+(Merry+Christmas+To+You)+-+The+King+Cole+Trio.flac

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This song was written in 1943 and sang by Judy Garland in 1944’s “Meet Me in St. Louis”. The lyrics were changed just slightly in the late 1950s. See if you can hear the difference. This is Frank Sinatra’s 1947 recording.

https://archive.org/details/78_have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas_frank-sinatra-martin-blane-axel-stordahl_gbia0093354g/Have+Yourself+a+Merry+Little+Christmas+-+Frank+Sinatra.flac

Post War Songs

I’m cheating a bit by adding these songs, but these were written and/or recorded in the late 1940s and nicely round out our list.

Here Comes Santa Claus

Gene Autry was the first to record this song in 1947.

https://archive.org/details/78_here-comes-santa-claus-down-santa-claus-lane_gene-autry-with-vocal-group-halderma_gbia0001245b/Here+Comes+Santa+Claus+(Down+Santa+Claus+Lane)+-+Gene+Autry+with+Vocal+Group.flac

Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer

Gene Autry had a Christmas hit again in 1949.

https://archive.org/details/78_rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer_gene-autry-and-the-pinafores-j.-marks_gbia0009249a/Rudolph%2C+The+Red-Nosed+Rein+-+Gene+Autry+and+The+Pinafores.flac

The Perfect Patriotic Playlist from WWII

Music has long been a way to help us process strong emotions about important events, not just for happy days like birthdays and weddings, but also for difficult times. During World War II, music took a patriotic turn as we first watched and then participated in the fighting overseas.  Since today is a day of remembrance for Americans, I thought we could revisit some of the songs that helped us get through the war years.

 

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Andrews Sisters, 1941

This is one of my very favorites. It has just the right amount of pep and optimism. I chose this video because the Andrews Sisters are fun to watch in action.

 

Remember Pearl Harbor

Eddie Howard and his Orchestra, 1942

 

Vict’ry Polka

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, 1943

 

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)

Andrews Sisters, 1942

This was one of the most popular versions of this song. The song was originally an updated version of a 19th century English folk song that was used in a 1939 musical. The lyrics were changed when the war started, and the song became a huge hit.

 

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

The Merry Macs, 1942

 

God Bless America

Irving Berlin, 1938

Originally written by Berlin in 1918, it was revised in 1938 just in time to be a big hit during World War II. Kate Smith was well-known for singing this song.

I’ve included two versions. The second one is with the Victor Military Band and you can find it here:

God Bless America

 

G.I. Jive

Johnny Mercer, 1944

 

Just in case you are looking for more…

The links above are to archive.org. Original recordings are uploaded so visitors can hear what they sound like. Be careful–exploring the site can be addictive! There are plenty more options there as well as songs from different eras to add to your playlist.

History on the Net also has a page with a great selection of patriotic World War II songs.