|Lyricist(s)||Richard B. Smith|
"Winter Wonderland" is a winter song, popularly regarded as a Christmas song, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Through the decades it has been recorded by over 200 different artists.
Dick Smith, a native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was reportedly inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale's Central Park covered in snow. Smith had written the lyrics while in the West Mountain Sanitarium, being treated for tuberculosis, better known then as consumption. The West Mountain Sanitarium is located off N. Sekol Ave. in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The original recording was by Richard Himber and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra on RCA Bluebird in 1934. At the end of a recording session with time to spare, it was suggested that this new tune be tried with an arrangement provided by the publisher. This "studio" orchestra included many great New York studio musicians including the legendary Artie Shaw. The biggest chart hit at the time of introduction was Guy Lombardo's orchestra, a top ten hit. Singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer took the song to #4 in Billboard's airplay chart in 1946. The same season, Perry Como hit the retail top ten. Como would record a new version for his 1959 Christmas album.
Due to its seasonal theme, "Winter Wonderland" is often regarded as a Christmas song in the Northern Hemisphere, although the holiday itself is never mentioned in the lyrics. There is a mention of "sleigh-bells" several times, implying that this song refers to the Christmas period. In the Swedish language lyrics, "Vår vackra vita vintervärld", the word tomtar is mentioned.
In the first bridge section of the song, the built snowman's name is "Parson Brown". In the second bridge, the snowman is labeled as a "circus clown". In some versions of the song, the snowman is imagined as both Parson Brown and the circus clown.
- 1958: Johnny Mathis on Merry Christmas
- 1959: Connie Francis on Christmas in My Heart
- 1959: Perry Como on Season's Greetings from Perry Como
- 1961: Chet Atkins on Christmas with Chet Atkins
- 1963: Darlene Love on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
- 1963: The Miracles on Christmas with The Miracles
- 1964: Doris Day on The Doris Day Christmas Album
- 1965: The Supremes on Merry Christmas
- 1968: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass on Christmas Album
- 1971: Elvis Presley on Elvis sings The Wonderful World of Christmas
- 1971: The Partridge Family on A Partridge Family Christmas Card
- 1973: Merle Haggard on Merle Haggard's Christmas Present
- 1977: Burl Ives on Christmas by the Bay
- 1978: The Carpenters on Christmas Portrait
- 1984: Dolly Parton, in a medley with "Sleigh Ride", on Once Upon a Christmas
- 1986: George Strait on Merry Christmas Strait to You!
- 1987: Air Supply on The Christmas Album
- 1987: Eurythmics on the A Very Special Christmas compilation
- 1989: Kenny Rogers on Christmas in America
- 1989: Randy Travis on An Old Time Christmas
- 1992: Amy Grant on Home for Christmas
- 1993: Cocteau Twins on Snow
- 1994: Kenny G on Miracles: The Holiday Album in
- 1998: Chicago on Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album
- 1998: Etta James on 12 Songs of Christmas
- 1999: Garth Brooks on Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas
- 1999: Jewel on Joy: A Holiday Collection
- 1999: Martina McBride on White Christmas
- 2000: Charlotte Church on Dream a Dream
- 2001: Mannheim Steamroller on Christmas Extraordinaire
- 2002: Barry Manilow on A Christmas Gift of Love
- 2002: Jo Dee Messina on A Joyful Noise
- 2003: Ashanti on Ashanti's Christmas
- 2003: The Flaming Lips on the Maybe This Christmas Too? compilation
- 2003: Pat Green on the A Very Special Acoustic Christmas compilation
- 2004: Clay Aiken on Merry Christmas with Love
- 2004: Hellogoodbye on the Happy Holidays from Drive-Thru Records compilation
- 2004: James Taylor on James Taylor: A Christmas Album
- 2005: The Reverend Horton Heat on We Three Kings
- 2006: Aimee Mann on One More Drifter in the Snow
- 2006: Bette Midler on Cool Yule
- 2006: Billy Idol on Happy Holidays
- 2006: Brad Paisley on Brad Paisley Christmas
- 2008: Anne Murray on Anne Murray's Christmas Album
- 2011: Deana Martin on White Christmas
- 2011: Scott Weiland on The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
- 2011: John Travolta and: Olivia Newton-John on This Christmas
- 2014: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Awards and achievements
In November 2007, ASCAP, a performance rights organization in the United States, listed "Winter Wonderland" as the most-played ASCAP-member-written holiday song of the previous five years, and cited the Eurythmics' 1987 version of the song is the one most commonly played.