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Silent Night


(Mohr / Gruber)


Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) of the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria, composed the poem Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (the original title was Song From Heaven) after visiting the home of a poor woodcutter. He saw similarities between the birth of the woodcutter’s new baby and the birth of Jesus Christ centuries earlier. Mohr had his organist, Franz Gruber (1787-1863) write some music for the poem and they sang it at midnight Mass with guitar accompaniment (the organ had broken down). In the spring of 1919, Karl Mauracher, organ builder and repairman, came to fix Mohr's Grotien pipe organ. Gruber played Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht on the organ and Mauracher fell in love with the tune. He took a copy of it back to his home in the Zillertal.


In 1831, Mauracher arranged the carol for four children's voices and had Joseph, Caroline, Andreas, and Amalie Strasser sing it. After the children sang Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1832, they were invited to sing for the king and queen in the Royal Saxon Court Chapel in Pleissenburg Castle on Christmas Eve 1832. The carol quickly gained international popularity. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht was translated into English by the Rev. John Freeman Young (1820-1885) in 1863.


Silent Night has been recorded by countless performers over the years. One of the first recordings was by the Haydn Quartet (Victor 4511) in 1905. Bing Crosby recorded Silent Night with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra at the Max Terr Choir on June 8, 1842, in Los Angeles. Crosby's Silent Night backed with Adeste Fidelis (Decca 621) has reportedly sold more than 30 million copies over the years, possibly surpassing White Christmas as the biggest-selling record of all time. Sister Rosetta Tharpe had a popular rhythm & blues recording of Silent Night (Decca 48119) in 1949. In 1962 Mahalia Jackson recorded the song under the title Silent Night, Holy Night (Apollo 750).


Elvis recorded Silent Night on September 6, 1957, at Radio Recorders. Dudley Brooks (on piano) and Millie Kirkham (backing vocal) were featured on this recording. Take #9 was chosen by RCA for release.


Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright
'Round young virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glorious strains from Heaven afar
Heavenly ghosts sing alleluia
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born


Where it was released:

Released for the fist time on Elvis' Christmas Album »



- Christmas With Elvis (1958) »



- Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957) »

- Elvis’ Christmas Album (1958) »

- Elvis Christmas Album (1964) »

- Elvis’ Christmas Album (1970) »
- Elvis Christmas Album (1975) »
– Pickwick Pack (1978) »

- Memories of Christmas (1982)

- The King of Rock’n’Roll – The Complete 50’s Masters (1992)

- It’s Christmas Time (2000)

- White Christmas (2000)

- If Every Day Was Like Christmas (2004)

- Christmas Peace (2003)

- Christmas Peace – Digipack (2004)

- Elvis Christmas (2006)

- Elvis' Christmas Album (2014) - FTD »
– His Songs of Praise, Volume 2 (2017) - FTD »


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