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Subject: FUN FACT: Though it was Vince Guaraldi who wrote the haunting holiday tune "Christmas Time is Here" for TV's "A Charlie Brown Christmas", it was Lee Mendelson who wrote the lyrics for now classic song ! ...
The first instrumentals for the special were recorded by Guaraldi at Glendale, California's Whitney Studio with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey. Recycling "Linus and Lucy" from the earlier special, Guaraldi completed two new originals, "Skating", and "Christmas Time Is Here". In the weeks preceding the premiere, Mendelson encountered trouble finding a lyricist for Guaraldi's instrumental intro and wrote "Christmas Time Is Here" in "about 15 minutes" on the backside of an envelope.
The special begins and ends with a children's choir from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael performing "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". One of the singers, Candace Hackett Shively, became an elementary school teacher and sent a letter of gratitude to Schulz after he announced his retirement in 2000. In the letter, she recalls recording the choir at Fantasy Studios and going out for ice cream afterwards, while noting that she tells the story to her students every holiday season. The recording sessions were conducted in late autumn 1965 in three sessions over two weeks. They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; as a result, numerous new children were present at each session. The children were directed by Barry Mineah, who demanded perfection from the choir. Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, wanting "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut. Children were paid five dollars for their participation. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!".
Guaraldi brought in bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli and re-recorded tracks such as "The Christmas Song" and "Greensleeves". The album credited Guaraldi solely, neglecting to mention the other musicians; Guaraldi was notorious for never keeping records of his session players. Nearly three decades later, in an effort to correct the matter, Fantasy surmised that the recordings with Budwig and Bailey were employed in the television special while Marshall and Granelli recorded the album. Despite this, other musicians have claimed to have recorded the special's music: bassists Eugene Firth and Al Obidinski and drummers Paul Distel and Benny Barth. Firth and Distil are noted as performers on a studio-session report Guaraldi filed for the American Federation of Musicians. Not all the music featured in the holiday special was released on the soundtrack. For example, "Surfin' Snoopy" did not make the cut, but it was released on Charlie Brown Holiday Hits.
Since its debut in 1965 on A Charlie Brown Christmas, the composition has become a popular Christmas song that is often used on Christmas-related media and also played on radio stations during the holidays. It is regarded by many to be a classic!