Bing Crosby originally recorded "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in 1943, based on a song written by Kim Gannon. The song almost didn't see the light of day as many music professionals rejected the song before Crosby decided to record it. The reason for the controversy was the last line "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." With so many soldiers overseas fighting in the war, the music industry believed that would lower the morale of soldiers.
Even after Crosby released it, the U.K. banned it for years due to those concerns over morale. However, the song ended up re-released by the U.S. War Department for the troops, and it became a hugely popular song among those in the military as well as those who dreamed of coming home again for Christmas.
Over the years, there have been close to 600 different recordings of "I'll Be Home For Christmas," from contemporaries like Perry Como to country stars like Glen Campbell and rockers like Chicago. With so many versions to choose from, here are five of the best covers of the classic Christmas song "I'll Be Home For Christmas."
Those fans who only know Seth MacFarlane as the creator of the risque adult cartoons "Family Guy" and "American Dad" might be surprised to learn that he is also an accomplished musician. When it comes to his influences, listening to him makes it clear that Bing Crosby was a huge influence in his musical career. He covered "I'll Be Home For Christmas" on his 2014 album Holiday for Swing. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.
Before hitting it big, Pentatonix made their name with a number of cover songs released on their YouTube page. One of the things that the popular A Capella band did for their fans was to record some great holiday songs over the years as well. One of these recordings was their cover of I'll Be Home For Christmas." They released the song on their second ever holiday album in 2016, a platinum release that peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts.
Delivering a highly unique version of the Bing Crosby song, The Carpenters released the track in 1978 on their album Christmas Portrait. With Karen Carpenter's distinct vocals, the album also includes the band's best known Christmas song "Merry Christmas Darling." The album reached platinum status 20 years after its release and remains one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all-time.
In 2003, Whitney Houston released her Christmas album, titled One Wish: The Holiday Album and included "I'll Be Home For Christmas" as one of her chosen tracks. The album was a Top 20 hit and even included a duet with her daughter Bobbi Kristina. This version of the Bing Crosby song is a more soulful version than most fans may be used to.
In 1957, Elvis Presley recorded a cover of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" on his holiday release titled Elvis' Christmas Album. While not released as a single, that was Presley's initial holiday release, his third ever studio album, and his first triple-platinum release. In an interesting 2008 release called Christmas Duets, Carrie Underwood recorded a "duet" with the late Presley and the song peaked at 14th on the U.S. Country Music Charts.