This article on Christmas music history is sponsored by Balsam Hill and the Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith holiday tour. Join them on November 14, 2017, in Orem, Utah at the UCCU Center. Bring your family and get into the holiday spirit. Get your Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith tickets now!
Christmas music is a beloved part of our holiday traditions. And even though we’ve all heard these classic songs countless times, there are still new and interesting things we can learn about them. Here are some Christmas music facts guaranteed to impress your friends, family and holiday guests.
01) The Oldest Christmas Carol
The oldest Christmas Carol that’s still part of our modern Christmas tradition is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. The Latin version of the song dates back to the 12th century. The English version was translated in 1851 by John Mason Neale.
02) Santa’s First Christmas Song
Amazingly, the first Christmas song to mention Santa Claus came along only a few years later. “Up On The House Top” was written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864.
03) A Coded Christmas Message During The Vietnam War
The nostalgia of Christmas songs is important for anyone far from home at the holiday, maybe especially for the military. But while you’ll hear the carols wherever you find soldiers in December, the most unusual use of a Christmas song in the US military actually took place in the month of April.
In early 1975, the situation in South Vietnam was desperate. After withdrawing most of the military, the United States continued to support South Vietnam financially. Even with this help, it was clear the South could not defend itself from the communists in North Vietnam.
On April 27, the North Vietnamese army completely surrounded the South Vietnam capital Saigon. The remaining Americans, including the US Ambassador, and close Vietnamese allies all had instructions. They were to listen for a coded signal. When they heard it, they were to head to their designated evacuation point. With Saigon surrounded, the evacuation would take place via helicopter.
On April 29, 1975, the American Radio Service broadcast the signal to evacuate: Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas“. It was time to evacuate.
04) Just One Christmas Song Can Support A Family For Generations
In the 2002 film About A Boy, Hugh Grant’s character lives a life of luxury free from the burdens of a day job. How does he afford this lifestyle? His dad in the film wrote a famous Christmas hit in the ‘50s and Grant’s character lives comfortably off the royalties.
Although the film isn’t based on a true story, it could be. Popular Christmas songs like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or Wham!’s “Last Christmas” generate an estimated $400,000+ each, annually. Just imagine if your family had one of these songs to bank on.
05) Christmas Tours
Forget those hyped summer music festivals. Holiday music tours are some of the most popular musical entertainment events of the entire year. One of those tours, Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, is coming to Utah on November 14th. At this performance, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, will be joined by Jordan Smith from NBC’s The Voice and a 56-piece orchestra in Orem at the UCCU Center. It’s a great way to start the holiday season and get into the Christmas spirit.
Amy Grant: Amy Grant was still 15 years old when she began her career. Her talent was so obvious, a label made her an offer after only hearing her on a tape recording played over the phone. Since then, the Nashville native has recorded over 20 albums, won 6 GRAMMYS, and charted in the Top 40 ten times. Amy is a Christian artist, but you don’t have to listen to a religious station to hear her music. In fact, as a major crossover artist, Amy is the first artist in Christian music to have a platinum record and the first with a number one hit on the Pop charts.
Michael W. Smith: Like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith is a Christian artist who can take his music to a mainstream audience. When his single “Place In This World” reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, he became one of the most well-known talents of his generation. People magazine even named him one of their “Most Beautiful People”. Aside from charting in both Christian and mainstream charts, Michael has three Grammys and an American Music Award. He has sold over 18 million records.
Jordan Smith: Jordan Smith is the highest selling artist ever to emerge from NBC’s “The Voice”. He’s a newer voice than Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith, but he’s perfect for the holiday season. He chose “Mary, Did You Know?” as his finale performance and his version bumped Adele from the top of the iTunes Store. It’s a very powerful.