Hans’ Pick of the Day

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker.[1] The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[2] It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of different artists.[2]

Noel Regney wrote the lyrics for the song, while Gloria Shayne Baker composed the Christmas carol‘s music in October 1962.[2] This was an unusual arrangement for the two writers. Usually it was Baker who wrote the lyrics for their songs while Regney composed the music, as they did on their classic children’s song “Rain Rain Go Away“.[1][2]

Regney was inspired to write the lyrics “Said the night wind to the little lamb, ‘Do you see what I see?’ ” and “Pray for peace, people everywhere,” after watching babies being pushed in strollers on the sidewalks of New York City.[1] Baker stated in an interview years later that neither could personally perform the entire song at the time they wrote it because of the emotions surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis.[1] “Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time.” [1]

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” was released shortly after Thanksgiving in 1962.[1] The song was originally recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale.[1] It went on to sell more than quarter-million copies during the 1962 Christmas holiday season.[1]

However, it was Bing Crosby who made the song a worldwide smash hit when he recorded his own version of it in 1963.[1] Ironically, Crosby recorded the carol for Capitol Records on November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, and the recording was released a week and a half later on a then-new Christmas album. Over the years, Crosby’s recording of the song has been widely played on the radio. The original version has been available on numerous compilation Christmas albums and compact discs put out by Capitol Records.

Bing Crosby – Do You Hear What I Hear?

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