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YouTube Gold: I’ll Be Home For Christmas

This song was a beacon of hope in dark times

Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There are a lot 0f great Christmas songs obviously and many great versions of each one. There’s also an R&B tradition of great Christmas songs that are generally better. Katie Webster’s version of Deck the Halls is just great. Boogie-Woogie Santa Claus? Sign us up.

But probably the best, most affecting, aching Christmas song is from 1943 - ”I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

It’s written from the point of view of a soldier in Europe who is putting his life on the line to save the world. He imagines what he’s missing even as he makes clear he has to miss it and, quite possibly, will never see another.

It’s a brilliant, moving performance that apparently did a lot to boost morale of real soldiers.

When the war ended, the song was sort of bookended by “It’s Been A Long, Long Time,” which imagines a soldier coming home to his love. The guitar work by Les Paul is the finest of his career, far from his usual frenetic, glassy sound. It’s warm and sensual, a perfect match to Bing Crosby’s voice

Listen to them both today and remember that Christmas means something different to everyone, but that some people need it much more than others. Find someone to be kind to who maybe could use that. That’ll be good for them and even better for you.