Christmas Music From Old Time Radio

I stumbled across this the other day, and it’s AMAZING.

It’s a compilation, in podcast form, of a bunch of classic radio recordings of Christmas songs which originally aired between 1944 and 1952. They aren’t all winners, but they’re really interesting recordings.

At least listen and marvel at the very beginning: Bing Crosby reciting the “GI Night Before Christmas.” Talk about your gallows humor... The “Jingle Jive” is a great version of Jingle Bells. Whenever the Sportsmen quartet comes on, you know they’re going to shill Lucky Strikes cigarettes. You get a bit of Bing Crosby and Jimmy Stewart singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside together.

The “Rudolph Jive” is amazing. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would have just become popular in 1950, and Bing Crosby and Judy Garland see nothing odd about making adult jokes and adding a totally great ending to the song.

These are all live radio recordings, I think, so sometimes the singers laugh or react in the moment. There are a few songs I’ve never heard, or haven’t heard for a long time. Bing Crosby’s kids all sing, whether or not they’re any good, which is kind of surreal. There are bits that are downright odd and bits that are sincere in a way that is hard to imagine today. There are a few tracks right at the end that directly address World War Two.

Some songs are repeated with multiple versions, but it’s a fascinating hour to listen to.