It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year was written by Edward Pola and George Wyle for Andy Williams’ popular TV show and appeared on his first Christmas album in 1963. It wasn’t released as a single at the time but has gone on to become one of the top 10 Christmas songs thanks, in part, to air play – and probably because, along with Johnny Mathis’ version of It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, it seems to pop up with greater regularity than anything else on those Christmas TV trailers.
Pola and Wyle also have the distinction of penning two (albeit minor) hits for Doris Day – I Didn’t Slip, I Wasn’t Pushed, I Fell and I Said My Pajamas (and Put On My Pray’rs), classics both.
The Man With The Best Hair In Jazz recorded both Wonderful Time and A Lot Like Christmas (you really don’t expect me to type that lot out again?) on his third Christmas Album, What A Night!, In 2008. I love the way he’s gently recast the former – something of a specialty of Connick’s who’s made a habit of casually mixing jazz, pop, R&B, funk and other styles of music without ever making it A Thing. Such cross-fertilisation has always existed in popular music but artists seem to do it much more self-consciously nowadays – perhaps because critics have started to note it as though it’s some kind of innovation. Harry just gets on with it – as well as acting, writing and appearing in Broadway musicals, raising a stack of money for Katrina-beleaguered New Orleans – and patenting a computerised ‘system and method for coordinating music display among players in an orchestra’.
If he weren’t so darned nice it would be irritating.