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WaPo Uses ‘White Christmas’ To Point Up Virus Deaths
A copy of singer Bing Crosby's 1945 Decca label album 'Merry Christmas' for sale in an antique shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

On Sunday, The Washington Post decided to link the increasing number of deaths from the coronavirus in the United States to the time-honored, classic song “White Christmas.”

In an article by Philip Bump of the Post, he wrote:

It’s hard to resist the sense that the slowly growing number of deaths in the United States each day is a tragedy of world-shaping proportions. For all of the efforts by some to diminish the death toll and to shrug at the steadily expanding saturation of American hospital beds, our country is losing an American every 33 seconds to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that emerged last year. Every time you listen to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” about five people have died of the virus between the beginning and the end of the song.

The Post even chose to highlight that quote in its tweet referencing the article:

Bing Crosby’s recording of Irving Berlin’s immortal song “White Christmas,” is the world’s best selling single; it has sold more than  50 million copies worldwide, according to the Guinness  Book of World Records in 2018. Crosby first recorded it on Christmas Day, 1941, on his NBC radio show “The Kraft Music Hall.” He later recorded it with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca Records on May 29, 1942; it was released at the end of July as part of an album of songs from the musical film “Holiday Inn.” In 1942, Crosby’s recording was on the Billboard charts for eleven weeks; it was rereleased by Decca in the winter seasons of 1945 and 1946 and soared to No. 1 both years. 

Because the 1942 master recording was damaged, Crosby re-recorded the track on March 19, 1947; flutes and a celesta were added to the original orchestration. That recording is the one commonly heard today.

Howard Crosby, Bing Crosby’s nephew, recalled to the Spokesman-Review:

I once asked Uncle Bing about the most difficult thing he ever had to do during his entertainment career. He didn’t have to think about it. He said in December, 1944, he was in a USO show with Bob Hope and the Andrews Sisters. They did an outdoor show in northern France. … At the end of the show, he had to stand there and sing “White Christmas” with 100,000 G.I.’s in tears without breaking down himself. Of course, a lot of those boys were killed in the Battle of the Bulge a few days later.

He added, “Whenever anybody finds out that I’m his nephew and that I have musical abilities, they want to hear me sing ‘White Christmas.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s the Fourth of July.”

“White Christmas” has been recorded and released hundreds of times; some notable singers who have done so include Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Perry Como, The Ravens, Ernest Tubb, The Drifters, Andy Williams, Otis Redding, Michael Bolton, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, and Andrea Bocelli.

Social media battered the Post for the tweet:

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