In December of 2007, Clay Aiken was singing in Minneapolis for the first concert of his Christmas in the Heartland Tour.
One of the showstoppers of the tour was Clay’s medley of beautiful Christmas songs from the 40’s. The arrangement of the hits was beautifully crafted by Jesse Vargas and featured the beauty of Clay’s voice and the romantic feeling of the songs. The first song in the medley was “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
On October 4, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. It instantly topped the charts as one of America’s most popular holiday songs. Within about a month of it being copyrighted, the song hit the music charts and remained there for eleven weeks, peaking at number three.
Walter Kent composed the music and James Gannon wrote the beautiful lyrics. Most of their fans thought the song was as beautiful as White Christmas, another Bing Crosby holiday song.
The following year, the song reached number nineteen on the charts. It touched a tender place in the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were then in the depths of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific. Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.
In December 1965, when the astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell were returning to Earth after setting a record for the longest flight in the US space program aboard Gemini 7 spacecraft, they requested this carol to be played for them.
I had forgotten how wonderful this medley was until I watched this video on YouTube last night. Clay Aiken is a genius to put this romantic medley in his program. Jesse Vargas is also a genius. This arrangement, written for Clay and the orchestra, is a real gem. I hope you enjoy the video.
I’ll be home for Christmas;
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams.
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.
Is this one of your favorite holiday songs?