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Winter Wonderland

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It’s hard not to hear ‘Winter Wonderland’ in the Winter. Mostly in December, before Christmas. That’s why this song is often recognized as a carol, however today it can be considered a pop piece. In general you may acknowledge it a Christmas Song.

 

The lyrics have been written first. It is a magical vision of a world covered in snow full of snowmen, sleigh bells ring and children joyfully playing. This was the image Richard B. Smith (known as Dick Smith) saw in Central Park of Honesdale, a small town in Pennsylvania.

Winter Wonderland

 

Dick Smith had tuberculosis. To improve his health he stayed at Scranton Health Spa located 30 miles from Honesdale. And that is where he has written Winter Wonderland’s lyrics.

 

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I don’t know the way the lyrics got to Felix Bernard’s hands. Bernard who was a composer was born in 1897 in New York. His father was a professional violinist and so Felix received proper music education – he became a pianist. His interests diverted quickly from classical music. He started working as a tap dancer in vaudeville circuit. At the same he started composing. Success came shortly. In 1919 along with Johnny S. Black he wrote ‘Dardanelle’. Dardanele became a great hit. Most probably it is a first record in the history that reached over one million copies sold.

 

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Felix Bernard

 

Afterwards Bernard wrote many different songs, but he had to wait until 1934 to repeat his initial success. In New York the Winter that year belonged to Guy Lombardo Orchestra whose leading piece was Winter Wonderland. Lombardo however wasn’t the first musician who recorded the song. The honor belonged to Richard Himber of Hotel Carelton Orchestra back in 1934. It wasn’t the best record.

 

Dick Smith died in 1935 at the age of 34. He somewhat managed to make the best of the song’s popularity. Unfortunately he didn’t make to the moment of it’s biggest triumph. Ironically its composer, Felix Bernard, shared the same fate as he died in 1944. Through the following years the song was being recorded repeatedly. Johnny Mercer climbed at the fourth spot in the Billboard ranking. In 1946 Winter Wonderland made it to the same top of greatest hits lists thanks to Perry Como’s and Andrew Sisters’ versions of the song.

 

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Winter Wonderland Revue

 

To this day the song is enjoying appreciation of many performers and new records keep coming. Hence each December ‘sleigh bells ring’ everywhere around us.

 

Winter Wonderland, lyrics

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

 

 

 

In the lyrics we have a name Parson Brown. In Dick Smith’s days it was a popular town that many young couples fancied as a place of their wedding.

Football fans took a liking to the melody creating occasional lyrics to it. For instance in season 2006-2007 MU fans sang the following words:

 

'Mourinho are you listening?
You'd better keep the trophy glistening.
Coz we'll be back in May
To take it away
Walking in a Fergie wonderland!'

 

 

Last Updated (Monday, 16 March 2015 00:49)

 

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