Winter Wonderland

The lyrics of Winter Wonderland was written by Richard B. “Dick” Smith, resident of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, in 1934. Whilst unde

rgoing treatment for tuberculosis at the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Smith was inspired to write the song after having seen Honesdale Central Park covered in snow.

Richard Himber and his Hotel Carelton Orchestra on RCA Bluebird, recorded the original version in 1934. It was only at the end of a recording session that the orchestra found itself with some time to spare, and it was suggested that this new tune be tried. However, it was singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer who took the song to #4 in Billboard’s airplay chart in 1946.

The song has become a popular Christmas song in the Northern Hemisphere, despite the fact that “sleigh-bells” is the only possible reference to Christmas found in the lyrics.

The bridge of the song contains references to a “Parson Brown”. In the period Winder Wonderland was written, Protestant ministers known as ‘Parsons’ would travel around in small rural towns in order to perform wedding ceremonies for followers who did not have a local minister belonging to their own denomination.

Recorded versions include Louis Armstrong, Bing Corsby, Neil Diamodn, Eurythmics, Aretha Franklin, Jewel, Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Barry Manilow, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross and Frank Sinatra.