Story Behind the Song: ‘Silent Night’ by Bing Crosby
For me, it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't attend church on Christmas Eve for candle light service and sing "Silent Night" while carefully holding my candle and avoid dripping wax on my red v-neck sweater.
And I'm certain that's the case for most people including you. The song is an absolute Christmas standard.
The story behind the song began in the early 1800's in Europe. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village on the Salzach river in present-day Austria.
A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had already written the lyrics of the song. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.
Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on the night of December 24, 1818.
The song was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War I. The version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time.