Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was introduced by Judy Garland in the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis from 1944. Later, Frank Sinatra would record another version with modified lyrics; the latter has become more common than the original. Although Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane has been credited as the originators of the song, Martin stated in a December 21, 2006 NPR interview that Blane had encouraged him to write the song but had not had anymore to do with writing it.

In 2007, ASCAP ranked Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas the third most performed Christmas song by its members in the past five years. The song was very popular among US troops during World War II, with Judy Garland’s performance at the Hollywood Canteen bringing many soldiers to tears.

The song has been slightly modified several times. The original version was a bit sadder and less up-beat than the current version. In 1957, Frank Sinatra was going to publish a Christmas Album known as A Jolly Christmas, and asked Martin if he could jolly up the line, ‘until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow’. Martin came up with, ‘hang a shining star upon the highest bough’. Originally it was also ‘if the Lord allows’, but was changed into ‘if the Fates allow’ to remove unwanted religious reference. In recent years however, the original lyrics have become subject to renewed interest and have been recorded on several occasions.

Artists who have made covers of the song include Christina Aguilera, Celtic Woman, Colbie Caillat, Coldplay, Sarah Connor, Bing Crosby, Neil, Diamond, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand and Sarah MacLachlan.