December 22, 2015

“Let It Snow!” – the Christmas song that isn’t…

On December 22, 1945, a new 78 RPM record by the popular singer and big band leader Vaughn Monroe entered the Billboard “Best Sellers in Stores” chart (a precursor of Billboard’s Top 40 and Hot 100 charts). 
It was the first recording of the song “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

The words were written by the highly successful lyricist Sammy Cahn. The music was by Cahn’s songwriting partner at the time, Jule Styne.

Monroe’s version of the song quickly became a huge hit, making it to Billboard’s number one spot on January 26, 1946.

In the decades since then, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” has been recorded by countless other singers and bands. It’s generally thought of as a standard Christmas song. And, the phrase “Let It Snow” is common on Christmas cards.

However, there’s actually no reference to Christmas or the holiday season in the song’s lyrics. 

It’s really a romantic love song about a guy who’s visiting his girlfriend in some unnamed northern location. When it’s time to leave, the weather “is frightful.” It’s snowing too hard for safe travel.

So the lovers snuggle up by the delightful fire, pop some popcorn and enjoy being snowed in. As far as the guy is concerned, it’s a fortuitous situation and he’s happy to “let it snow.”  

In the excellent, well-researched book Stories Behind the Greatest Hits of Christmas, author Ace Collins notes that when Cahn and Styne wrote the song they were sitting in a stifling hot office in Hollywood in the summer of 1945.
Styne worked out a melody he thought sounded “cool” on the piano. Cahn turned his thoughts to winter. “Looking out the window at the California sun baking the landscape, he whispered, ‘Let it snow.’”

In a short time, Cahn and Styne finished what is now considered one of the top 25 Christmas songs — even though it’s not really about Christmas. 

Although you may not be old enough to have heard Vaughn Monroe’s original version when it first entered the Billboard chart on December 22, 1945, you’ve heard it if you’re a fan of Bruce Willis.

Monroe’s recording of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” is the first song that plays during the end credits of Willis’ popular action movie Die Hard. It was also used in the soundtrack of Die Hard II.
So, yippee-kay-yay, folks! Click on the video link at right and sing along! Here are the lyrics...

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I brought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

When we finally kiss good night
How I hate going out in the storm
But if you really you hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we’re still good-bye-ing
But as long as you love me so
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”
(NOTE: If you’re interested in early music charts used prior to Billboard’s Top 40 and Hot 100, buy yourself Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954 for Christmas.)

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