'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' Songwriter Hugh Martin Dead
By Zach Dionne Posted Mar 14th 2011 04:55PM
Niece Suzanne Hanners confirmed Martin's death to the New York Times. Born in Birmingham, Ala., Martin is survived by a brother, Gordon.
The Times calls 'Merry Little Christmas' "one of a triumvirate of achingly wistful seasonal ballads from World War II (the others are 'White Christmas' and 'I'll Be Home for Christmas') to have transcended their era."
See Garland sing Martin's Christmas classic at 1:30 in the clip below:
The famous Christmas song originally contained glum lyrics such as "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be your last ... Faithful friends who were dear to us/Will be near to us no more." In 2007, Martin recalled the rewriting process to Entertainment Weekly:
"They said, 'It's so dreadfully sad.' I said, 'I thought the girls were supposed to be sad in that scene.' They said, 'Well, not that sad.' And Judy [Garland] was saying, 'If I sing that to that sweet little Margaret O'Brien, they'll think I'm a monster!' And she was quite right, but it took me a long time to get over my pride. Finally, Tom Drake [the young male lead], who was a friend, convinced me. He said, 'You stupid son of a bitch! You're gonna foul up your life if you don't write another verse of that song!'"Martin shared songwriting credits with collaborator Ralph Blane, who passed away in 1995. Martin wrote four Broadway musicals from 1941 to 1964 -- 'Best Foot Forward,' 'Look Ma,' 'I'm Dancin'!', 'Make a Wish,' 'High Spirits' and a 1989 stage iteration of 'Meet Me in St. Louis.'
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