The words to "O Little Town of Bethlehem
" were written by an Episcopal priest named Phillips Brooks in 1867 after a visit to the town of Bethlehem two years prior. The music, simply titled "St. Louis," was written by Lewis H. Redner in 1868. Redner was Brooks’ organist at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is said that the tune came to him on Christmas Eve, and was first sung the next day.
The carol has been covered by artists from just about every style of music. The following list covers the most popular versions by Christian & Gospel Arists.
San Juan Music Group
There is a sweetness that comes through Mahalia Jackson's voice in her delivery of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" that makes it soar. The bluesy feel combined with her passion and the vocals give this carol what Randy Jackson would call the "it factor."
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The Barlow sisters add a touch of rock to "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," giving it the signature BarlowGirl treatment, making it a a definite new holiday favorite.
Fernando Ortega's version of the classic carol is beautifully done, very quiet and personal. (Christmas Songs
will be available on October 21, 2008)
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On her Christmas album Yuletide Joy
, Sandi Patty combines "Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child" with "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" for a rockin' gospel combo that will really bring joy to your Christmas season.
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The warmth of Bebe Winans' rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" brings to mind crackling fires, hot chocolate with plenty of tiny marshmallows, and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.
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Kevin Max keeps "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" purely traditional, adding no bells and whistles at all. His voice and sincere delivery says it all.
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4HIM combines four Christmas classics for a montage of holiday cheer on their version of the popular carol. Joining "O Little Town of Bethlehem" are "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Away In A Manger" and "Silent Night! Holy Night!"
You can definitely hear the Christmases of Kathy Troccoli's past in her medley. The combination of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Away In A Manger" bring to mind memories of my own childhood and listening to the classics being crooned by the likes of Sinatra, Burl Ives and Perry Como.
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Warmth and hope shine through on Steven Curtis Chapman's rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
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Spring House Music Group
Bill and Gloria Gaither
and the rest of the Homecoming crew deliver a solid traditional rendition of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" on their Joy To The World
album. Outstanding harmonies make this a stand-out version that will add to any Christmas collection.
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