When a Child Is Born

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"When a Child is Born" is a popular Christmas song. The original melody was "Soleado", a tune from 1972 by Ciro Dammicco (alias Zacar), composer for Italy's Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble, and Dario Baldan Bembo. The English language lyrics were written a few years later by Fred Jay. They do not make specific mention of Christmas but the importance they attach to looking forward to the birth of one particular child somewhere, anywhere, suggests a reference to the birth of Jesus Christ, and the citing of "a tiny star" that "lights up way up high" may allude to the Star of Bethlehem. Fred Jay's lyrics have been sung by many artists, most successfully by Johnny Mathis in 1976.


"Soleado" is used in the 1975 Argentinean film Nazareno Cruz y el lobo (The Love of the Wolf), and it is credited as "Theme From the Motion Picture 'The Love of the Wolf'" on Mathis's album Johnny Mathis Sings the Movie Greats (CBS). Artists who have performed the song include:

English covers[edit]

Johnny Mathis version[edit]

"When a Child Is Born"
Single by Johnny Mathis
from the album I Only Have Eyes for You
A-side "When a Child Is Born (Soleado)"
B-side "Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)"
Released December 1976
Format 45 rpm
Recorded 1976
Label CBS
Writer(s) Ciro Dammicco (music)
Producer(s) Jack Gold

The most successful version of the song is probably the Jack Gold produced version for Johnny Mathis. Entitled "When A Child Is Born (Soleado)" with B-side as "Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)", it became Johnny Mathis' sole number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top of the chart in December 1976,[1] and selling 885,000 copies. In the US, it appeared in the Record World survey in both the Christmas seasons of 1976 and 1977, reaching a maximum position of No. 123, and racking up 10 chart weeks. In addition, Mathis re-recorded the song as a duet with Gladys Knight and the Pips. This version reached Record World No. 137 during the Christmas season of 1980, and the UK Singles Chart at No. 79.

Language versions[edit]

  • In 1972, the melody was sung with Spanish lyrics by Manolo Otero and entitled "Todo el tiempo del mundo" (translation: I've All the Time for Waiting).
  • The same melody was used with German lyrics by Michael Holm in "Tränen lügen nicht" (translation: Tears Don't Lie) in 1974. In German, the song is totally unrelated to Christmas. The singer asks a guy to reconsider breaking up with his girl because her tears don't lie.
    • The Michael Holm version of "Tears Don't Lie", with the Fred Jay lyrics performed in English, was a minor hit in the US, reaching #53 on Billboard's Hot 100, #7 on Billboard's Easy Listening Top 50.
  • In 1975 the melody was used with French language lyrics, written by Henri Dijan and sung by Mireille Mathieu "On ne vit pas sans se dire adieu" (translation: "We can't go on living without our saying farewell"). The lyrics completely changed to a story about a 16 year old girl who's love was denied by the boys father, who's son was expected to marry a better woman after his education and military service.
  • It was sung with Hungarian lyrics by Zsuzsa Cserháti "Édes kisfiam" ("My sweet son"). In 1975 Iván Bradányi wrote the lyrics of this song for Cserháti after her son was born.
  • Turkish star Ajda Pekkan sang it with Turkish language lyrics.
  • Czech star Karel Gott sang it with the Zdeněk Borovec's lyrics "Měl jsem rád a mám" ("I loved and I still do") — the singer remembers in the song lyrics about his old girl friends.
  • Polish star Grzegorz Markowski Perfect sang it with Polish language lyrics "Bóg narodzi się".
  • Vera Lynn (English), with a different lyrics, the song is called There Comes a Day, probably from 1974.
  • En 1981 Mari Trini utilizó la melodia para reescribir la cancion con el titulo "Te amaré, Te amo y Te querré" en su disco "Oraciones de Amor"
  • In Latvia this song with different lyrics is called "Viens noburts vārds". The song in Latvian is performed by Rita Trence and Imants Skrastiņš.


The hummed beginning of Johnny Mathis' recording was used as the basis for a dance record by the German producer Mark'Oh, entitled "Tears Don't Lie", a hit throughout much of Europe in 1995. As it was unconnected to Christmas and not released at that time of year, anyone who knows the melody principally from this track may not necessarily associate it with Christmas.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 334–5. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
Preceded by
"Under the Moon of Love" by Showaddywaddy
UK Singles Chart number one single
December 25, 1976 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Don't Give Up on Us" by David Soul