A Journal of Musical Things10 Things You Didn't Know About the Soundtrack to 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' » A Journal of Musical Things

Published on December 24th, 2012 | by Alan Cross


10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Soundtrack to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

Is there a better Christmas special than this one?  Since the the original–sponsored by Coca-Cola–was first aired by CBS in 1965, you’ve probably seen it dozens of times.  But how much do you know about the special’s soundtrack?

The music was the responsibility of Vince Guaraldi, a respected American-Italian jazz musician.  Here are 10 things you may not have known about his Charlie Brown music. (Via Music.CBC.  Thanks for Jennifer for the link.)

1. Long before a TV network proposed a Peanuts Christmas special to Lee Mendelson, the producer had made a hit documentary about baseball star Willy Mays (one of the best baseball players) and decided to create another about Peanuts cartoonist Charles Shulz (whose cartoon featured one of the worst). Mendelson was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco when he heard Guaraldi’s Grammy-winning song “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” on the radio, and decided he wanted Guaraldi to write the music for the doc.

2. Two weeks after they met over lunch in San Francisco, Guaraldi phoned Mendelson and said ‘I’ve got this great song I want to play for you. I hope it fits the documentary.” That Charles Shulz documentary was never officially released, but the song later became “Linus and Lucy.” Remembers Mendelson in a radio documentary, “I knew as soon as I heard it not only would it make the documentary, but something in my mind said that song is going to become very important to me somehow down the line. Didn’t know how, didn’t know why. But it did.”  

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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