The Christmas Waltz
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The Christmas Waltz
"The Christmas Waltz"
Song by Frank Sinatra
"White Christmas"
Released1954 (1954)
Sammy Cahn
Jule Styne

"The Christmas Waltz" is a Christmas song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of "White Christmas",[1] in 1957 for his album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra,[2] and in 1968 for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.[3]

Cahn recalls, "One day during a very hot spell in Los Angeles the phone rang and it was Jule Styne to say, 'Frank wants a Christmas song.'"[4] Cahn resisted. "Jule, we're not going to write any Christmas song. After Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas'? The idea's just ridiculous."[4] Styne was emphatic, however. "'Frank wants a Christmas song.'"[4]

The two met in Styne's apartment to begin work on the project, and Cahn asked the composer, "'Hey, Jule, has there ever been a Christmas waltz?' He said no. I said, 'Play that waltz of yours.' He did so,"[4] and Cahn began work on the lyrics of "The Christmas Waltz", which many other artists have also recorded.

Referring to the line that goes, "And this song of mine, in three-quarter time," Cahn writes, "You'll notice there's an impure rhyme in that lyric, 'mine' and 'time'."[5] He notes that another of his collaborators, Jimmy Van Heusen, would not have let him get away with such an imperfection but that Styne was not quite so rigid.[5]

For what would become the B-side of "White Christmas", Sinatra first recorded "The Christmas Waltz" with a chorus as well as an arrangement by Nelson Riddle on August 23, 1954.[6] On July 16, 1957, Gordon Jenkins took over the arranging, and The Ralph Brewster Singers provided backing vocal on the recording for A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra.[6] On August 12, 1968, Riddle again provided arrangements, but it was The Jimmy Joyce Singers who lent their voices to the recording for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.[6]

In 1992 Mel Tormé made a recording of the song for his first-ever Christmas album, for which the liner notes indicate that "Mr. Cahn wrote a new full set of additional lyrics as a personal gift to Mel."[7]

There was not a version of the song that reached any of the various charts in Billboard magazine, however, until the 2003 holiday season when Harry Connick, Jr. reached number 26 with it on the Adult Contemporary chart during a two-week stay that began in the issue dated January 3, 2004.[8]


"The Christmas Waltz" has been covered many times over the years by a wide variety of artists, including:


Frank Sinatra version

Chart (2019) Peak
US Rolling Stone Top 100[54] 62


  1. ^ (1954) "White Christmas/The Christmas Waltz" by Frank Sinatra [78 RPM disc label]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records CL 14174.
  2. ^ (1957) A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra by Frank Sinatra [album jacket]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records W 894.
  3. ^ (1968) The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas by Frank Sinatra featuring Frank Sinatra, Jr., Nancy Sinatra, and Tina Sinatra [album jacket]. Burbank: Reprise Records FS 1026.
  4. ^ a b c d Cahn 1974, p. 138.
  5. ^ a b Cahn 1974, p. 139.
  6. ^ a b c "Songs Recorded by Frank Sinatra Beginning with the Letter C". Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ a b (1992) Christmas Songs by Mel Tormé [CD booklet]. Cleveland: Telarc CD-83315.
  8. ^ Whitburn 2004, p. 29.
  9. ^ (1960) Christmas Carousel by Peggy Lee [album jacket]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records ST 1423.
  10. ^ (1964) The Doris Day Christmas Album by Doris Day [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Records CS 9026.
  11. ^ (1964) The Jack Jones Christmas Album by Jack Jones [album jacket]. New York: Kapp Records KS 3399.
  12. ^
  13. ^ (1966) Christmas Is a Comin' by Pat Boone [album jacket]. Hollywood: Dot Records DLP 25770.
  14. ^ (1966) For Christmas This Year by The Lettermen [album jacket]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records ST 2587.
  15. ^ (1968) Robert Goulet's Wonderful World of Christmas [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Records CS 9734.
  16. ^ (1968) The Great Songs of Christmas: Album Eight [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Special Products CSS 888.
  17. ^ (1968) The David Rose Christmas Album by David Rose [album jacket]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records ST 2583.
  18. ^ (1968) The Capitol Disc Jockey Album - December 1968 [album jacket]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records 4656/4657.
  19. ^ (1971) The Joyous Songs of Christmas [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Records C 10400.
  20. ^ (1972) An Evening with Sammy Cahn by Sammy Cahn [album jacket]. New York: Laureate Records LL 604.
  21. ^ (1976) The Osmond Christmas Album by The Osmonds [album jacket]. New York: Polydor Records PD 2-8001.
  22. ^ (1978) Christmas Portrait by The Carpenters [album jacket]. Hollywood: A&M Records SP 3210.
  23. ^ (1986) Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis by Johnny Mathis [album jacket]. New York: Columbia Records FC 40441.
  24. ^ (1990) I Still Believe in Santa Claus by Andy Williams [CD booklet]. Nashville: Curb Records D2-77350.
  25. ^ (1993) Mistletoe Magic: Holiday Jazz Improvisations [CD booklet]. Hollywood: Quicksilver QSV 4008.
  26. ^ (1993) Christmas with Kathie Lee Gifford by Kathie Lee Gifford [album jacket]. Burbank: Warner Special Products/Heartland Music OP 2722/HL 3046.
  27. ^ (1993) Christmas Songs [CD booklet]. New York: Milestone Records MCD-9211-2.
  28. ^ (1993) A Cabaret Christmas [CD booklet]. New York: DRG Records 91415.
  29. ^ (1995) Jazz to the World [CD booklet]. New York: Blue Note Records CDP 8321272.
  30. ^ (1995) An Oscar Peterson Christmas by Oscar Peterson [CD booklet]. Cleveland: Telarc CD 83372.
  31. ^ (1996) White Christmas by Rosemary Clooney [CD booklet]. Concord: Concord Records CCD-4719.
  32. ^ (1997) Christmas Love Song by Scott Hamilton [CD booklet]. Concord: Concord Records CCD-4771-2.
  33. ^ (1997) Christmas Dreams by Don McLean [CD booklet]. Santa Monica: Hip-O Records HIPD-40074.
  34. ^ (1998) Christmas with You by Natalie Cole [CD booklet]. Kansas City: Hallmark Cards, Inc. 695XPR1145.
  35. ^ (1999) The Magic of Christmas by Natalie Cole [CD booklet]. New York: Elektra Records 62433.
  36. ^ (1998) Christmas with the George Shearing Quintet by George Shearing [CD booklet]. Cleveland: Telarc Jazz CD-83438.
  37. ^ (1998) Christmastime by Michael W. Smith [CD booklet]. Brentwood: Reunion Records 10015.
  38. ^ (1999) Jazz Piano Christmas by Beegie Adair [CD booklet]. Brentwood: Green Hill Productions 5148.
  39. ^ (1999) An Uptown Christmas [CD booklet]. Plattsburgh: Uptown Records UPCD2733.
  40. ^ (2000) The Best Christmas Ever by Helen Reddy [CD booklet]. Philadelphia: Select Media Concepts CD-1006.
  41. ^ (2002) A Christmas Gift of Love by Barry Manilow [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records CK-86976.
  42. ^ (2003) Harry for the Holidays by Harry Connick, Jr. [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records CK-90550.
  43. ^ Aiken, Clay (2004). A Clay Aiken Christmas (Television production). New York, NY: RCA.
  44. ^ (2006) All Is Well by Clay Aiken [CD booklet]. New York: RCA Records 88697-02699-2.
  45. ^ (2004) Christmas Time Is Here by Dianne Reeves [CD booklet]. New York: Blue Note Records 73344.
  46. ^ (2005) The Season by Jane Monheit [CD booklet]. New York: Epic Records 77711.
  47. ^ (2006) Christmas with the Pops by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra [CD booklet]. Cleveland: Telarc 80226.
  48. ^ (2008) A Swingin' Christmas (Featuring The Count Basie Big Band) by Tony Bennett [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records 732250.
  49. ^ (2008) A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas by Kristin Chenoweth [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music Distribution SNYC 34256.
  50. ^ (2011) Winter Moon: Songs for Christmas by Mindy Gledhill [CD booklet]. Provo: Mindy Gledhill 5070195.
  51. ^ (2011) A Very She & Him Christmas by She & Him [CD booklet]. Durham: Merge Records 50424.
  52. ^ (2012) This Christmas by Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta [CD booklet]. Universal City: Hip-O Records 001762402.
  53. ^ "Syco/Columbia Records to Release Home For Christmas". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2013.
  54. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019.


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