Bing Crosby - Winter Wonderland (1962)
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Uploaded on Oct 27, 2010
"Winter Wonderland" is a winter song, popularly treated as a Christmas time pop standard, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (composer) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Richard was reportedly inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale's Central Park covered in snow. Mr. Smith had written the lyrics while in the West Mountain Sanitarium, being treated for tuberculosis. 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 excellent "studio" orchestra included many great New York studio musicians including the legendary Artie Shaw. 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.
You may find yourself asking who is Parson Brown? One can assume that "Parson" is used as a title, instead of a first name. In the period when this song was written, parsons (now known as a Protestant minister) often travelled among small rural towns to perform wedding ceremonies for denominational followers who did not have a local minister of their faith. Therefore, the children are most likely pretending that their snowman is a Parson with the surname "Brown," which would be visiting the town again in the future.
The bridge of the song contains the following lyrics:
"In the meadow we can build a snowman,
then pretend that he is Parson Brown.
He'll say 'Are You Married?' We'll say 'No man,
but you can do the job when you're in town!"
In the period when this song was written, parsons (now known as Protestant ministers) often traveled among small rural towns to perform wedding ceremonies for denominational followers who did not have a local minister of their own faith.
The original bridge, about a couple who make a spur-of-the-moment decision to get married, was supposedly considered inappropriate for children. A 1953 version of the sheet music contains the following replacement bridge
In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he's a circus clown.
We'll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman,
until the other kiddies knock 'im down!
When it snows, ain't it thrillin'?
Tho' your nose, gets a chillin'
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland.
In addition, the fact that (as noted above) the circuit-traveling country Parson trekking from village to village is no longer part of the American cultural scene has also contributed to the circus clown replacing Parson Brown. However, some musicians have performed and even recorded the song with both stanzas - Parson Brown and Circus Clown.
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