Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

By Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane ©1943
Arranged and performed by RM

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” has been recorded by everyone from Lena Horne to Alvin & The Chipmunks. Hope you enjoy this excerpt of my own arrangement for solo guitar. Just click the track above. The full version is available on request — just send me an email.

A quick note of interest about the lyrics to this tune. Hugh Martin’s original lyrics featured this perky opener:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past


The rest of the lyrics followed suit, carrying the yuletide message that life only gets worse every year but don’t worry too much because you probably won’t survive until next Christmas anyway.

But Martin had been hired to write the tune for the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, and after Judy Garland received her draft of the lyrics she asked Martin to revisit the song she was to sing on camera. The final version managed a fitting balance of hopeful lyrics and melancholy melody. You can read the whole story here.

More than a decade later, Frank Sinatra put the muscle on Martin to sunny up the lyrics even more. According to Martin, Sinatra was recording an album called A Jolly Christmas and didn’t think the closing line (Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow) wasn’t quite jolly enough. Martin indulged the Chairman with the soaring line Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

That’s a lot of talk about lyrics given that I’m offering an instrumental version.

Thanks for dropping in. Peace in the new year           —RM

1 Comment on this Post.

  1. I haven¡¦t checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

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