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 1974 by Ciro Dammicco (alias Zacar), composer for Italy's Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble, and Dario Baldan Bembo. The tune was based on Damicco's earlier tune "Le rose blu" published in 1972. The English language lyrics were written a few years later by Fred Jay (who wrote many hits for Boney M such as Rasputin and Ma Baker). 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.

Performances[edit]

"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 best known 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 1974, 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 whose love was denied by the boys father, whose 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.
  • In Denmark it was sung by the group Bamses Venner - Tårer Taler Sandt ( Tears Speak The Truth) (most likely a translation of the German version).
  • The Greek version (different words) was sung by George Fanaras

References[edit]

  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