Unlike upbeat Christmas songs like "Jingle Bells'"and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," America's most popular Christmas carol, "White Christmas," is much more mellow.
The melancholic song was first played on radio during the Kraft Music Hall show (that's right, it was sponsored by the food company) on Christmas Day, 1941, featuring Bing Crosby's unmistakable vocals.
By the following year, the song was played by the Armed Forces stationed overseas to remind them of home. When Crosby finally recorded the song for distribution in 1942, he toured military bases to perform for the American troops. However, he noticed that it made them somber.
"I hesitated about doing it because invariably it caused such a nostalgic yearning among the men, that it made them sad," the crooner said in an interview. "Heaven knows, I didn’t come that far to make them sad. For this reason, several times I tried to cut it out of the show, but these guys just hollered for it."
From then on the song sold more than 100 million copies worldwide to become the best-selling Christmas song of all time, and eventually made it into the Guinness World Records as the best-selling single ever, a title it held until Elton John re-released Candle in the Wind in 1997.
Although the song was played during a happier time, it did hit the airwaves just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked, but that's not exactly why the soulful tune gave listeners a sense of deep longing.
The song's sad back story dates all the way back to 1928, and was inspired by a loss that its composer, Irving Berlin, experienced.