Twelfth . . . night
12 Silent Night The Miracles
Written, on Christmas Eve 1818, for the parishioners of St Nicholas’, in Obendorf, Austria, by Catholic priest Josef Mohr and his organist Franz Gruber. Legend has it that the organ had broken earlier that day so Mohr and Gruber had to come up with something quickly for the next evening’s Christmas mass. The tune they wrote — Stille Nacht, in its original German — was for two voices and a guitar. They sang it themselves, perhaps with a backing from a small choir of girls.
It quickly entered the Christmas folk canon right across the German-speaking lands of central Europe. It was probably spread across Europe by The Strasser Sisters. Though first published in in 1832, it only reached the rest of the world when it was included in a Methodist hymn book in 1849.
It was the first holiday song recorded by Bing Crosby, in 1935. I’ve no idea where this version by the Miracles comes from. I’m not even sure it’s Smokey Robinson singing on it.
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