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Christmas song 2021: Marte Eberson – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I’m not sure I should be posting this because I don’t have the artist’s permission this year.

However, I did last year so fingers crossed it’s okay.

Marte Eberson recorded this version of the song in November 2020 on a dull, rainy Sunday afternoon in Oslo.

It is an enchanting version of the 1943 Martin & Blane classic, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ 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.

So if you too are feeling a bit down and can’t face a week of turkey and mince pies, pour yourself a drink, roll a joint or whatever is your pleasure, and wallow in it.

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, Tori Amos, Coldplay 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 2020 by Andrea Corr. Corr Blimey! as The Sun might say.

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

She is the daughter of the well known guitarist Jon Eberson. They write and perform as the duo Eberson, which released its second album, ‘Between Two Worlds’ in October. (Reviewed in NMC and also featured in Top Albums of 2021.

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

While she is probably better known as a composer and keyboardist she’s no mean vocalist either and I recommend checking her Facebook page for a recent solo performance of ABBA’s ‘The Winner Takes it All’ on Norwegian TV, which is particularly appealing.

Thanks again Marte, for this Christmas gift that keeps on giving!

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