Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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O Tannenbaum

Earliest known recording by The Nebe Quartett (1907).
Other popular recordings by Nat “King” Cole (1960), Vince Guaraldi Trio (1965), They Might Be Giants (1992).

From the wiki: “‘O Tannebaum’ is a German Christmas song. A ‘Tannenbaum’ is a fir tree. Based on a traditional folk song, it became associated with the traditional Christmas tree by the early 20th century and sung as a Christmas carol.

“The modern lyrics were written in 1824, by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz, but do not actually refer to Christmas or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir’s evergreen qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness.

“The folk song first became associated with Christmas with Anschütz, who added two verses of his own to the first, traditional verse of the 16th-century Silesian folk song by Melchior Franck, ‘Ach Tannenbaum’, upon which Anschütz based his lyrics. The custom of the Christmas tree developed over the course of the 19th century, and the song evolved into a Christmas carol from its origin as a tragic love song which took the evergreen, ‘faithful’ fir tree as contrast with a faithless lover.”

Nat “King” Cole, “O Tannenbaum” (1960):

Vince Guaraldi Trio, “O Tannenbaum” from A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965):

They Might Be Giants, “O Tannenbaum” (1992):

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