It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634

"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" (1849) — sometimes rendered as "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" — is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. Sears' lyrics are most commonly set to one of two melodies: "Carol," composed by Richard Storrs Willis, or "Noel," adapted from an English melody.


Edmund Sears composed the five-stanza poem in Common Metre Doubled during 1849. It first appeared on December 29, 1849, in the Christian Register in Boston.[1][2] Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, William Parsons Lunt, pastor of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts.


In 1850, Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn, wrote the melody called "Carol." This melody is most often set in the key of B-flat major in a six-eight time signature. "Carol" is the most widely known tune to the song in the United States.[1][3][4][5]

In the United Kingdom the tune called "Noel", which was adapted from an English melody in 1874 by Arthur Sullivan, is the usual accompaniment. This tune also appears as an alternate in The Hymnal 1982, the hymnal of the United States Episcopal Church.[6]


The full song comprises five stanzas. Some versions, including the United Methodist Hymnal[3] and Lutheran Book of Worship,[4] omit verse three, while others (including The Hymnal 1982) omit verse four.[7] Several variations also exist to Sears' original lyrics.


Instrumental of the tune "Carol" - Piano, Violin, and English Horn; variation in first phrase present (see above)

Problems playing this file? See media help.

This song has been included in many of the Christmas albums recorded by numerous singers (and many types of singers) in the modern era. For example, in 1965 Sergio Franchi covered this song in his Billboard Top 40 album The Heart of Christmas (Cuor' Di Natale).[8] And Eric Burdon & The Animals recorded the song to the tune of their hit single THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. In 2006, a recording of the song by Daryl Hall & John Oates hit number one on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.[9] Kutless also recorded it for WOW Christmas: Green (2005), Highway 101 from the album A Christmas Tradition (1987), Josh Groban in Noël (2007) and Anne Murray from the album What a Wonderful Christmas (2001). Royce Campbell recorded the song on his CD, A Solo Guitar Christmas (2007). This is Christmas song name "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" now which will be included in The Lettermen album It Feels Like Christmas will be released in 1987 on CD & Cassette Tape then re-released in 1992 from Classic Records on CD & Cassette Tape and re-released again as reissue version of the 1987 album in September 3, 2013 from MVD Audio on CD.

In 1981, Swedis singer Stefan Borsch recorded the song in Swedish, as "Jag ser en stjärna på himmelen" ("I see a star in the sky") on the album "I kväll jag tänder ett ljus".[10]


  1. ^ a b It Came upon the Midnight Clear
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e The United Methodist Hymnal, © 1989
  4. ^ a b c d e Lutheran Book of Worship, © 1978
  5. ^ The official Unitarian-Universalist hymnal, "Singing the Living Tradition", © 1993
  6. ^ Raymond F. Glover, ed. (1985). The Hymnal 1982. New York City: The Church Hymnal Corporation. pp. Hymn #90. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Raymond F. Glover, ed. (1985). The Hymnal 1982. New York City: The Church Hymnal Corporation. pp. Hymn #89. 
  8. ^ Sergio Franchi
  9. ^ "Fred Bronson, Chart Beat, December 21, 2006",
  10. ^ Information på Svensk mediedatabas
Preceded by
"Jingle Bells" by Kimberly Locke
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single by
December 30, 2006 - January 6, 2007
Succeeded by
"What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts