Winter Wonderland

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"Winter Wonderland"
Song
Published1934 by Bregman, Vocco and Conn
GenreChristmas
Composer(s)Felix Bernard
Lyricist(s)Richard B. Smith

"Winter Wonderland" is a song written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard Bernhard Smith. Due to its seasonal theme, it is often regarded as a Christmas song in the Northern Hemisphere. Since its original recording by Richard Himber, it has been covered by over 200 different artists.

The song's lyrics were about a couple's romance during the winter season.[1] A later version of "Winter Wonderland" (which was printed in 1947) included a "new children's lyric" that transformed it "from a romantic winter interlude to a seasonal song about playing in the snow." The snowman mentioned in the song's bridge was changed from a minister to a circus clown, and the promises the couple made in the final verse were replaced with lyrics about frolicking. Singers like Johnny Mathis connected both versions of the song, giving "Winter Wonderland" an additional verse and an additional chorus.[2]

History[edit]

Smith, a native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was reportedly inspired to write the lyrics after seeing Honesdale's Central Park covered in snow. Smith wrote the lyrics while being treated for tuberculosis in the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton.[3]

Originally recorded in 1934 for RCA Victor. At the end of a different recording session by Himber and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra with extra time to spare, RCA Victor suggested arranging and recording "Winter Wonderland" using some additional members of its own orchestra, which included Artie Shaw and other established New York City studio musicians.

Guy Lombardo’s version that same year would go on to be one of the biggest hits of 1934.[4]

In the Swedish lyrics, "Vår vackra vita vintervärld", the word tomtar is mentioned. In Mathis' version, heard on his 1958 LP Merry Christmas, the introduction is sung between the first and the second refrain.

In 1960, Ella Fitzgerald recorded a jazz arrangement of the song for her Verve release, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.

In 1964, Doris Day sings the first opening verse in her recorded arrangement on The Doris Day Christmas Album.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Guy Lombardo's version was the highest on the charts at the time of introduction. Johnny Mercer's version of the song placed #4 on the Billboard airplay chart in 1946. The same season, a version by Perry Como hit the retail top ten; Como would re-record the song for his 1959 Christmas album.

In November 2007, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) listed "Winter Wonderland" as the most-played ASCAP-member-written holiday song of the previous five years, citing the Eurythmics' 1987 version of the song as the one most commonly played.[5]

Charts[edit]

Tony Bennett version[edit]

Chart (1968–2019) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[6] 40
Denmark (Tracklisten)[7] 35
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[8] 34
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 57
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 39
Norway (VG-lista)[11] 35
Portugal (AFP)[12] 68
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 42
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 66
UK Singles (OCC)[15] 96
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[16] 87

Darlene Love version[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
US Rolling Stone Top 100[17] 41

Certifications[edit]

Tony Bennett version[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[18] Gold 45,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lankford, Ronald D. (2013). Sleigh Rides Jingle Bells & Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. p. 109. ISBN 978-0813044927.
  2. ^ Lankford, pp. 110-111
  3. ^ Bonifanti, Terry (December 25, 2014). "Honesdale lyricist wrote 'Wonderland'". The Times-Tribune. Scranton, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ ASCAP Announced Top 25 Holiday Songs. November 12, 2007
  6. ^ "Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "Track Top-40 Uge 52, 2018". Hitlisten. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 31, 2018. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 20 Single uke 52, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Tony Bennett Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Danish single certifications – Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved December 16, 2019. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2019 to obtain certification.
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 16, 2019.