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  • David Bentley

Our Christmas song 2020: Marte Eberson – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

One bleak, cold, dark Sunday afternoon in late November Marte Eberson looked out of her Oslo window to a depressing scene that’s very familiar to me, looking out of my Oldham window on just about any day from the beginning of October to the end of March. Hardly surprising that she was feeling down in the dumps.

But Marte picked herself up, dusted herself down and plonked herself in front of her piano to record an enchanting version of the 1943 Martin & Blane classic performed by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St Louis.

She put it on Facebook at first, accompanied by private family snapshots, and kindly agreed to re-publish it to YouTube, for which we are eternally grateful.

So if you too are feeling a bit down, pour yourself a drink, roll a joint or whatever is your pleasure, and wallow in it.

As for me, as Ebenezer Scrooge’s natural successor, I’ll be using this as my Christmas Card.

Fun facts about the song:

In 1957, Frank Sinatra asked Martin to revise the line "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow." He told Martin, "The name of my album is ‘A Jolly Christmas’. Do you think you could jolly up that line for me?"Martin's new line was "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."(Perfectionists will note that Marte stuck to the original version).

It’s been covered by everyone from Frank, via Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, The Pretenders, James Taylor and Luther Vandross, to Michael Bublé and Sam Smith. The latter’s 2014 version was the first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (just, at #90).

There have been two recent recordings. In November 2019, by Richard Ashcroft. That must have been bittersweet, but he’s got a verve. Then in November of this year by Andrea Corr. Corr Blimey! as The Sun might say.

But none of them are quite as charming and honest as Marte’s.

Fun facts about Marte:

She is the daughter of the well known guitarist Jon Eberson. They write and perform as the duo Eberson (whom we haven’t featured yet, memo to self).

She is currently a member of the bands Löv and Husma Hav. Previous bands and collaborations have included Morning Has Occurred, Machine Birds, Cokko and Highasakite.

It was her birthday last Saturday, so Happy Birthday Marte and thanks again for this Christmas gift that keeps on giving!

Find her on Instagram.

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