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O Holy Night, a Magnificent Christmas Carol

Updated on November 9, 2011

The song O Holy Night is my all-time favorite Christmas carol. I am not a particularly religious person and am not ordinarily moved by most hymns, but this song never fails to bring me to tears. Of course, sometimes I cry because I'm hearing a particularly bad version and I'm weeping for the humanity of it all. But usually, the emotional reactions of the singer and the wonderfully touching lyrics of the song always manage to move me greatly. A couple of years ago I had at least ten different versions of the song on my iPod; right now I have three versions, one of them is a reggae instrumental version. 

O Holy Night (Mi­nuit, chré­tiens, c'est l'heure so­len­nelle) was written by Adolphe Adam in 1847, based on a poem by Placide Cappeau. Cappeau was a French poet who had been asked by his parish priest to write a Christmas poem, Adam set it to music. The song was translated into English in 1855 by John Sullivan Dwight, a Unitarian minister. On Christmas Eve of 1906, an instrumental version of O Holy Night played on the violin became the first music ever broadcast on radio.

Almost every singer you can think of has recorded O Holy Night, from Clay Aiken to Trisha Yearwood. Some do a better job of it than others. It's almost as it's seen as a rite of passage for successful singers to record this song. It's as if it's one way they think they can be taken seriously.

I don't think anyone does the song better than Andy William, and I have featured it here. Hearing him sing O Holy Night brings me back to those wonderful Christmas specials of his. It was the highlight of the Christmas season in my house to watch the Andy Williams Christmas Specials.

This hub celebrates some of the better versions of O Holy Night, plus some comic relief courtesy of South Park. In addition to Andy Williams' version, there is an instrumental version by the Aqua Velvets taped on a beach, a couple of Celtic versions courtesy of Celtic Woman and the Corrs, Josh Groban lends his operatic/pop styling to one of my favorite versions of the song, and the similarly smooth but very different sounds of Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole round it all off. Enjoy some great versions of the greatest Christmas carol ever written.

Andy Williams

Celtic Woman, recorded at Sloan Castle, Ireland

Josh Groban, Rockefeller Center 2002

The Corrs, a touch of the old green

Johnny Mathis

Nat King Cole

Aqua Velvets, an Hawaiian Christmas

Eric Cartman: A Shocking Version

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  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 

    2 years ago from US

    Right on Christmas, childhood memories, love it.

  • profile image

    Louis Lopez 

    6 years ago

    Teach me how to play oh holy night PLEASE

  • BourneElysium profile image

    BourneElysium 

    6 years ago from India

    One of my favorite carols too.Our school choir sung it evry christmas...great hub..thank you for the story behind it.. :)

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for commenting everyone.

    Crazdwriter, I am very impressed with Celtic Woman :)

  • profile image

    Crazdwriter 

    8 years ago

    OMG OMG OMG!!!! You have the Celtic Women version. I LOVE THEM!!!! And this hub UW rocks! I love all of the different youtubes you posted for the song. And HAHA Eric Cartman? lol

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    A bit early to be listening to O Holy Night but I'm with you on this one - my all time favorite Christmas song. It's so beautiful and powerful. I love the Aqua Velvet's version. It's right now getting me a bit teary.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 

    9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Super hub Susan! The song in any version will put me in the right frame of mind for Christmas. Thanks.

    By the way awesome new avatar... here's me holding a glass of wine too, cheers to you Zsuzsy

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    It always makes me break out in goosebumps. That's how I know it's a song I really like :)

  • profile image

    Great song 

    9 years ago

    I love O Holy Night but I had never heard Josh G. sing before. And when I heard his version I was moved to tears its absolutely breathtaking!

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for the lovely comments :)

  • gjcody profile image

    gjcody 

    9 years ago

    Uninvited Writer ...This is a beautiful hub. I have to admit that the first singer "Celtic Woman" can bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring feeling. With that I will call it a night as it is very late in PA. This is a great way to end my evening. My best to your success on hubpages!

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 

    9 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Nat King Cole sings my favorite version of this song. Thanks for the lovely hub as I always did love this song around Christmas. Brings back memories of caroling in school :).

  • ajcor profile image

    ajcor 

    9 years ago from NSW. Australia

    thanks for this hub Uninvited Writer - we also used to watch the Andy Williams Christmas Show!

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for commenting Dottie, I'm glad you like it.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 

    9 years ago from MA, USA

    I too love "O Holy Night" and cannot tire of it. I'm listening to the Aqua Velvets, it's a Hawaiian Christmas" video. Quite an interesting version. I like it but I'd like it better if I was on the Hawaiin Beach listening to it. Now here comes Eric Cartman, A shocking version. I LOVE THIS VERSION, IT IS HYSTERICAL, why didn't he do the French version?LOL Thank you for Oh Holy Night! Very Nice.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    It is such a great song, it's hard to get tired of it. I'm glad you liked the hub, thanks for commenting

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 

    9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    I have always loved the song O HOly Night...and I love watching the different versions. It is quite early to be listening to christmas carols but I don't mind, it's my favorite season of the year! :) thanks...

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks NYLady. I hear you, I spent an hour listening to different versions of the song. I don't usually get into Christmas quite so early...

  • NYLady profile image

    NYLady 

    9 years ago from White Plains, NY

    UW: Another great hub -- about a song that always moves me, no matter how many times I hear it. Love the various video versions you have here! I'm getting nostalgic about the holidays now, and it's not even Halloween yet!

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