First recorded by Richard Himber & His Ritz-Carlton Orchestra (1934).
Popular versions by Guy Lomabardo’s Royal Canadians (US #2 1934), Ted Weems & His Orchestra (US #13 1934), Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers (US #4 1946), Perry Como & the Satisfiers (US #10 1946), Johnny Mathis (UK #17 1958), Darlene Love (1963), Ramsey Lewis Trio (US #27 1966).
From the wiki: “‘Winter Wonderland’, a winter song, is popularly regarded as a Christmas song even though the holiday itself is never mentioned in the lyrics. It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Smith, a native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was reportedly inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale’s Central Park covered in snow. Smith had written the lyrics while in the West Mountain Sanitarium, being treated for tuberculosis.
“The original recording was by Richard Himber and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra on RCA Bluebird in 1934. At the end of a recording session with time to spare, it was suggested that this new tune be tried with an arrangement provided by the publisher. This ‘studio’ orchestra included many great New York studio musicians including the legendary Artie Shaw.
“The biggest chart hit rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’ at the time of introduction in 1934 was performed by Guy Lombardo’s orchestra, a Top-10 hit. Singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer took the song back onto the charts, in 1946, to #4 on the Hit Parade. The same season, Perry Como hit the retail Top-10 with his recording. (Como would also record a new version for his 1959 Christmas album, Season’s Greetings.)
“Through the decades it has been recorded by over 200 different artists, among them Johnny Mathis (1958), Darlene Love (1963), and The Ramsey Lewis Trio (1966).”
First recorded by Alvino Rey & His Orchestra (US #1 Feb 1942).
Also performed by Gene Autry (1942).
Other hit versions by Ted Weems & His Orchestra with Perry Como (US #23 Feb 1942), Bing Crosby with Woody Herman & His Woodchoppers (US #3 March 1942), Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights (US #7 March 1942), The Merry Macs (US #11 March 1942), Duane Eddy (US #78/UK #19 1962).
Also recorded by Gene Autry (1944), Bob Wills (1955), Ray Charles (1960).
From the wiki: “‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ was written by June Hershey with music by Don Swander, with a title taken from a movie Western of the same name starring Tex Ritter. (The song was not performed in that particular movie, but would make an appearance in the Western movie Heart of the Rio Grande, released in 1942, sung by movie cowboy Gene Autry.)
“The first recording was by Alvino Rey and his orchestra, on November 21, 1941. It first charted in early 1942, eventually spending five weeks at #1 on the Hit Parade. The song was covered by Ted Weems & His Orchestra (with Perry Como on vocals) on December 9, 1941 for Decca Records, also released in early 1942 as the flip-side to ‘Ollie Ollie Out’s in Free’.
First recorded by Bing Crosby (US #12 1946).
Other popular versions by Ethel Merman & Ray Middleton (1946), Frank Sinatra (US# 2 1946), Perry Como (US #4 1946)
From the wiki: “‘They Say It’s Wonderful’ was written by Irving Berlin for the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946), where it was introduced on Broadway by Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton. The song was first recorded and released on a 78 rpm by Bing Crosby in 1946, a version that say modest chart success. Merman and Middleton released a recorded ‘cast’ version later in 1946. Frank Sinatra and Perry Como both charted in 1946 with covers of ‘They Say It’s Wonderful’.
“In 1979, Merman recorded a ‘camp’ version for The Ethel Merman Disco Album but it was not released until issued as a bonus track on the CD reissue in 2002.”
First performed by Eddie Cantor (1934).
First recorded by Harry Reser & His Orchestra (1934).
Popular versions by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters (1943), Perry Como (1946), The Four Seasons (US #23 1963), The Jackson 5 (1970), Bruce Springsteen (1975).
From the wiki: “‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ was written in 1934 by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and first performed on Eddie Cantor’s radio variety show, The Chase and Sanborn How on NBC Radio, in November 1934. Indicative of his effect on the mass audience, Cantor had agreed to introduce the new song, that other well-known artists had rejected as being ‘silly’ and ‘childish’. The song, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”, became an immediate hit; the publisher had orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music (the measure in those days of a song’s popularity) the next day; over 400,000 copies were sold by Christmas.
“The earliest-known recorded version of the song was by banjoist Harry Reser and his band. It, too, became an instant hit with orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music and more than 30,000 records sold within 24 hours. Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters recorded a popular wartime version in 1943. But, it was the Four Seasons who first charted the song on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #23 in 1963. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band recorded a live version in 1975 that was bootlegged to Rock radio stations until it saw its first release in 1982 as part of the Sesame Street compilation album In Harmony 2.”
Written and first recorded by Don McLean (1970).
Hit versions by Bobby Goldsboro (MOR #8/C&W #48 1971), Perry Como (US #29/MOR #1/UK #3 1973).
From the wiki: “‘And I Love You So’ is a popular song written by Don McLean and released on his 1970 debut album, Tapestry. In 1973, the song was an international hit for singer Perry Como on his album of the same name, And I Love You So. Como’s version of the song reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the last of his many popular recordings to reach the Top 40. In Britain, the record reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart.”
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