Article Discussion: The Jews Who Wrote Christmas Songs

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April 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm #434


Click here to read the article: The Jews Who Wrote Christmas Songs

September 11, 2009 at 10:28 pm #3748


“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Buck Ram wrote “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” at age 16 as a poem for his mother when he was a homesick college student at University of Illinois. He set it to music. In 1934 Mills Music decided to hold it back a year because they were issuing “White Christmas.” Ram ran into two acquaintances, Kent and Gannon, in a bar one night. He was not completely happy with the song. They talked about it, and he left a copy with them. Mills Music was not pleased when the Kent/Gannon version was published. Mills sued. Ram went on to be one of BMIs top 5 songwriters in its first 50 years. Kent and Gannon never had another hit song. (per Buck Ram 1986; newspaper articles of the era re the lawsuit)

December 11, 2009 at 11:12 am #4111


What about “We Need A Little Christmas!” from the musical “Mame,” based on “Auntie Mame,” music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, a Jew?

December 18, 2009 at 5:50 am #4121

Stacy Harris

Thank you for providing an opportunity for me to educate my readers.

Stacy Harris
Publisher/Executive Editor
Stacy’s Music Row Report

December 18, 2009 at 8:14 am #4123


The film White Christmas had a Jewish star (Danny Kaye), director (Michael Curtiz) and composer (Irving Berlin).

Santa Claus is Coming to Town— songwriter John Frederick Coots first offered the song to Eddie Cantor who used it on his radio show that November in 1934, and it became an instant hit. The morning after the radio show there were orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music, and, by Christmas, sales had passed 400,000.

Santa Baby was written by Joan Javits (the niece of Jacob K. Javits) and Philip Springer. (I know nothing about them.)

Santa Claus Is Back in Town (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller)

O Holy Night was composed by Adolphe Adam, who may have been Jewish.

The movie, “The Polar Express,” is adapted from the children’s Christmas book by Chris Van Allsburg, who converted to Judaism many years ago.

December 19, 2009 at 7:57 pm #4126

John O.

Jule Styne also wrote “Be A Santa” for the musical “Subways Are For Sleeping”

December 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm #4129


Obviously not a top 25, but still one of my favorites is the Cahn/Styne tune called “The Christmas Waltz”. Just another of wonderful songs that they contributed to the season.

February 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm #4330


The composer of “Silent Night” was Jewish.

March 3, 2010 at 2:29 am #4393


Silent Night was written by an Austrian Priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and an Austrian school teacher and church organist, Franz Gruber. The English translation of the lyrics most popularly used was done by John Freeman Young, an American minister. So I’d have to say you are misinformed.

December 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm #5275


Felix Mendelssohn was of Jewish decent but became a Lutheran. As a result he wrote many Christian songs including Angels We Have Heard On High.

December 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm #5276


Sorry, not Angels . . . , but Hark the Herald Angels Sing. My mistake.

December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm #5279

Matthew M.

The lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” were not written by Mendelssohn, but the music was adapted by another composer from one of his compositions. He was raised in a nonreligious household, and baptized Lutheran at age 7.

December 18, 2010 at 7:05 pm #5318


Interesting article.
FYI: Hugh Martin is very much alive and living in Simi Valley, CA. Converted to Seventh-day Adventism late in life.

December 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm #5333


Most of the recorded by attributions for the first artist to record a song are incorrect. Bob Hope sang Silver Bells first in the movie The Lemon Drop Kid, Judy Garland sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus was recorded by Gene Autry decades before Elvis did his rendition. Do your research!

December 23, 2010 at 6:52 am #5338


Here’s a blog post that gives lots of reasons to be glad you’re Jewish at Christmastime: … christmas/

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