Monday, December 10, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (or, "Shut up, Frank")

I knew I'd be adding more to the list.  Blame Earthbound Spirit, whom I keep (good-naturedly) arguing over the "best" version of Christmas tunes.

I love "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and my favorite version is the original, done by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.  I get slightly cranky when I hear versions based on Frank Sinatra's request to "jolly that up for me."  But Frank gets what Frank wants, so the lyrics were changed from:

Someday soon we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we'll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a merry little Christmas now.

To:

Through the years
We all will be together
If the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star
On the highest bough ...

Kudos to James Taylor who went back to the original. "I always sort of thought of this song with these lyrics from the movie," he said. "And it resonates more with me this way, with the sort of sadder, more melancholy lyrics. I like it better."

6 comments:

Earthbound Spirit said...

Oh, fine! I'd never heard the original version, it seems. I posted Diana Krall's because she seemed to strike the right tempo with it, eh? A little slow - not too "happy-happy." And, I just like her.

I will not post any version of "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland," though. I hate that song. Don't know why - just makes my skin crawl...

So - what should I look for & post next, LE? (grin)

Karen said...

YES, YES, YES!!! The "new" Merry Little Christmas lyrics have always been my big pet peeve! Nobody else seems to care! :)

Earthbound Spirit said...

Hey, LE,
A classmate of mine (who claims to know everything about Judy Garland) says that the Judy Garland version was also "lightened up" from the original! He claims the original had lyrics to the effect of "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be our last."

This is starting to feel like the history of translating the bible...

Lizard Eater said...

ES -- I've heard that, but never got my hands on the real, original lyrics. I saw one version, but it was so like the Judy Garland one, the difference was negligible.

The search for the Holy Grail/Original Version of "Have Yourself a Merry" continues ...

Griffin said...

this is great. I am also upset when i hear the "happy" versions of this song. Christina augualaira does a great version as well as does LeAnn Rimes with the original lyrics.. I actually find myslef wanting the Garland version over all others. It is no doubt the best. When i hear the others i say"thats not even the real lyrics"

Griffin said...

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1569872,00.html
check this out