Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

First recorded by The Royal Military Band (1904).
Also recorded by The Edison Carol Singers (1905).
Popular versions by Bing Crosby (1942), Nat “King” Cole (1960), Mannheim Steamroller (1984), Garth Brooks (C&W #69 2000), MercyMe (MOR #34 2006), Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan (2010).

From the wiki: “‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen’, also known as ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’, and ‘God Rest You Merry People All’, is an English traditional Christmas carol. It was published by William B. Sandys in 1833, although the author is unknown. Like so many early Christmas songs, the carol was written as a direct reaction to the church music of the 15th century. However, in the earliest known publication of the carol, on a c. 1760 broadsheet, it is described as a ‘new Christmas carol’, suggesting its origin is actually in the mid-18th century.

“‘God Rest Yet Merry, Gentlemen’ is referred to in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: ‘…at the first sound of ‘God bless you, merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay!’, Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.'”

“The earliest known recording was done in 1904 by Royal Military Band, of Great Britain. The first US recording is thought to have been accomplished in 1905, by the Edison Carol Singers.

“Popular versions of ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” have been recorded by Bing Crosby (1942), Nat ‘King’ Cole (1960), Mannheim Steamroller (1984), Garth Brooks (2000), MercyMe (2006), and Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan (2010).”

Bing Crosby, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (1942):

Nat “King” Cole, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (1960):

Mannheim Steamroller, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (1984):

Garth Brooks, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (2000):

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MercyMe, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (2006):

Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlement/We Three Kings” (2010):

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