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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Greatest Selling Record Of All Time


What's the best selling record of all time? No, it's not Thriller by Michael Jackson (reported numbers are said to be inflated so it's difficult to even tell how many copies it's sold). It's"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby and written by songwriting legend Irving Berlin. The single is said to have sold over 50 million copies alone with the album putting total sales over 100 million.

Recorded in 1942 just after the World War II started and debuted in the movie "Holiday Inn" with Crosby and Fred Astaire, it's widely held that the war actually had a lot to do with the song gaining popularity. Since millions of troops were overseas and longing for family, the song brought a little bit of comfort and the feel of home. From that point, it's become ingrained in our consciousness as a standard that's played constantly (over and over and over again) throughout the holiday season.

There's a lot that's interesting about songwriter Irving Berlin, He was self-taught and could only play using the black keys of F#. Because he was self taught, he also frequently wrote with unusual cadences, and many times never bothered with a song bridge, which was contrary to the times. Still, the song has outlived hundreds of competitors over time with more introduced every year. Despite all the famous songs that Berlin wrote that everyone somehow knows, ("Alexander's Ragtime Band,""Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "God Bless America."), White Christmas will be the one he's best remembered for.

So if you really want to make your mark as a songwriter, write a holiday song.

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