If you're new to K103 Mornings With Stacey and Mike, we do a fun 'behind-the-music' type feature every morning at 7:10 where we continue to learn new things every day about the songs we've heard so many times. Thank you for checking out our show. We're on Monday-Friday 5a-10am.
Today's song was written by Meredith Willson, who wrote the Broadway play The Music Man, and there are some dated references in the song, such as the "five and ten," which is a store selling inexpensive items. The "Hopalong boots" the child wishes for are a reference to those worn by the fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy.
Everyone in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, believes that Willson wrote the song while staying in Yarmouth's Grand Hotel, because the song makes reference to a "tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well..."
But It is also possible that the "Grand Hotel '' Willson mentions in the song was inspired by the Historic Park Inn Hotel in his hometown of Mason City, Iowa, which is the last remaining hotel in the world designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The song has been recorded by many artists, and was a big hit, in particular, for Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters in 1951. Bing Crosby recorded a version in that same year, which was also widely played, and Michael Bublé covered the song and released it on his holiday album, Christmas, which is celebrating its tenth year.
But today’s version, which was recorded in 1971, lagged on the charts for years until it showed up in a movie featuring Donald Trump, and only then did it start to overtake all those other versions…
Today’s singer was a star athlete in high school in San Francisco. He was a high jumper and hurdler, and he played on the basketball team. He went to college on an athletic scholarship, intending to become an English teacher and a physical education teacher.
While there, he set a high-jump record which is still one of his college's top jump heights and was only three inches short of the Olympic record at the time.
His version of today’s song was kind of a non-starter on the charts until it was featured on the soundtrack for the film ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” in 1992, which was the third highest-grossing film of that year, after The Bodyguard and Aladdin.
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