This song was based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written on Christmas Day in 1863.
Longfellow had lost his wife in a tragic fire two years before. His son then went off to fight in the Civil War, and was injured (he recovered). This is the poem Longfellow wrote, in the midst of his grief.
"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
- and wild and sweet
- The words repeat
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
- Had rolled along
- The unbroken song
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
- A voice, a chime,
- A chant sublime
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
- And with the sound
- The carols drowned
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
- And made forlorn
- The households born
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
- "For hate is strong,
- And mocks the song
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
- The Wrong shall fail,
- The Right prevail,
In 1872 the poem was put to music. Even today, its lyrics remain powerful and timely.
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men!"
Now, for a memory of my early childhood.
In just four days, we say goodbye to 2015. When growing up, there was only one band to listen to on New Year's Eve-Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. There was only one way to mark the end of the year - the dropping of the ball from the Times Tower in New York City, narrated by Ben Grauer. (I could devote an entire blog post to him.)
This is part of the New Year's Broadcast in New York City, New Year's Eve 1957. The quality is terrible (it is a kinescope), but it gave me chills. I may have been allowed to stay up late to see this very broadcast. "May you have a happy and prosperous 1958"!
Do you remember Guy Lombardo? He's been dead for many years but a New Years custom he originated still lives on.
In the United States, we still ring in the New Year using a music show. And, a ball comes down the same building once known as the Times Tower (now known as One Times Square), which opened New Years Eve 1904 with a fireworks display.
How will you celebrate the New Year?