Welcome to another Christmastime edition of the Battle of the Bands!
Today’s song should be familiar to anyone who read my post from last week about Christmas songs written by Jewish composers…
Bing Crosby first performed Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” on The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day 1941. A year later, it was featured with a number of other Berlin songs in the movie Holiday Inn, with Bing, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds, whose singing was dubbed by Martha Mears. It became popular during World War II, with its images of home and all that it meant, particularly with servicemen. In 1954, it was the title song for the movie White Christmas, a postwar version of Holiday Inn (that’s what I’ve always heard, anyway) which starred Bing, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen.
It’s a classic song, and has been done time and again by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli, and the two singing groups that will be squaring off in this battle.
CONTESTANT #1: The Drifters
This was recorded in 1954 and reached #2 on the Billboard R&B chart that year. The following year, it crossed over to the Hot 100 and peaked at #80. It was played mostly on R&B stations until it was featured in 1990’s Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern et al.
CONTESTANT #2: The Barberettes
I was looking for a version of the song on YouTube and turned up this version by a Korean singing group called The Barberettes. Their Facebook page tells us that the singers are Shinae An Weaver, Grace Kim, and So Hee Park, backed by Sae Ha Lee on piano, Hyun Park on bass, and G. Young Kim on drums. They refer to themselves as “the time traveling girl group” and refer to their music as “Doo Wop/Vocal Music/Korean Retro.” I think you’ll enjoy them.
Now, it’s time to vote: which did you like better? The classic R&B stylings of The Drifters from sixty years ago, or the more updated harmonies of the three young women from Seoul, South Korea? Let me know in the comments below!
And, as always, after you’ve made your pick, the other participants in the Battle of the Bands have worked hard to come up with battles of their own, and would consider it a great honor if you would stop by their blogs and listen to what they have in store.
Results next week!