Welcome to almost Winter — in the Northern hemisphere at least. Johnny Mathis sings with choir and orchestra in “Winter Wonderland.” As the song says, “love knows no season.” It can happen at any time of the year. This Christmas pop standard was written by 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyrics). The inspiration for Smith was seeing Honesdale’s Central Park (in Honesdale, PA) blanketed in snow. Smith wrote the words while in the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton, PA, where he was being treated for tuberculosis. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists and is performed frequently as a Christmas song in the Northern hemisphere. The original recording was by Richard Himber and His Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra.
Johnny Mathis recorded and released it in 1958 as the first track on his album Merry Christmas. It was a “safe” response, as it were, to the brouhaha around the rock and roll of the 1957 Elvis’ Christmas Album. Mathis’ album was very successful, rising to #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album sales chart in 1959. It went to #10 in 1960 and #12 in 1962. The single of “Winter Wonderland” went to #17 on the U.K. Singles Chart in 1958. Percy Faith provided the musical direction for the album.