It was Christmas 1942, 80 years
ago Irving Berlin’s immortal song "White Christmas"
John Scott Trotter (left),
Ethel Merman, and Bing Crosby are pictured ready to do a radio show.
John Scott arranged Bing’s rendition
of “White Christmas,” which in 2022 is still the one or
two best-selling musical recordings in the history of the world.
Scott began playing piano with a school
band that was formed at the University of North Carolina, where he
wrote many of the arrangements.
and his partner Hal Kemp became famous almost overnight, playing aboard
big, scheduled passenger ships crossing the Atlantic between New York
and Southampton during the 1930s.
band, called The Hal Kemp Orchestra, was invited to play for Edward
VIII— the year he was throwing a big party as the future King
of England as he traveled from New York across the Atlantic. Later
he renounced his throne “for the woman I love,”
becoming the Duke of Windsor.
one point, the Prince, who fancied himself something of a musician
(drums) joined the band; that simple gesture made headlines, and Hal
and Scott became famous.
wrote arrangements for many of the Kemp tunes. Some 700 were recorded,
all at 78 rpm, before Hal’s untimely death in 1940, after which
The Hal Kemp Orchestra was no more.
Scott kept on arranging music with Bing, who after White Christmas
and the album of Christmas music that followed wouldn’t work
without him. Up until the mid-1950s, Bing rarely allowed anyone else
to arrange his music.
of hit songs the duo created has never been matched.
Crosby said this about Trotter: “I'm not musically educated
enough to really describe what he was in music terms. I just knew
he was very good and he had marvelous taste,” der Bingle declared.
Here is a celebration video of 80 years
another arrangement featuring just Bing and guitarist genius Les Paul,
that to me is Crosby's greatest recording ever, perfectly capturing
our world in 1945 with all its hope and pathos.
tune written by Jules Styne and Sammy Chan is titled “It's
Been A Long, Long Time".
your days be merry and bright!