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“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” a beloved World War II Christmas song, dedicated to “The Greatest Generation”

November 20, 2013

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent & Buck Ram

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a Christmas song recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby who scored a top ten hit with the song. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has since gone on to become a Christmas standard.
The song is sung from the point of view of an overseas soldier during WWII, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family that he will be coming home, and to prepare the holiday for him including requests for “snow”, “mistletoe”, and “presents by the tree”. The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”
The song was written by the lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent. Buck Ram, who previously wrote a poem and song with the same title, was credited as a co-writer of the song following a lawsuit. The original 1943 release of the song by Bing Crosby on Decca Records listed only Walter Kent and Kim Gannon as the songwriters on the record label. Later pressings added the name of Buck Ram to the songwriting credit.
The song touched the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were in the midst of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows. Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby “accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era”.

This is, once again, a chord/melody solo instrumental. As in most of my chord/melody arrangements I suggest using only the thumb and no finger picking involved whatsoever.
I always stroke the strings up the neck a bit for the warmest, sweetest sound, using only the flesh of the thumb.
Below is a short example of the song showing the intro “vamp”. A “vamp” is a short (usually 4 bar) chord progression that can be repeated freely to introduce the song. Typically during a vamp the artist may even speak over it while introducing the song. At the end of the vamp you will notice a double line. Double lines in musical notation are usually used to indicate the end of a distinct phrase or section of the piece.
In this example you’ll also see the generous use of Jazz chords such as the min7 and dim7. These are terrific chords to add to your chord vocabulary.

Music 1

The short excerpt below shows notation for a “double slur” that is more thoroughly described in the tutorial video above. Notice the use of the letter “H” for Hammer on and letter “P” for pull off. Achieving each of these skills takes time and patience to develop. Don’t give up on it. I would suggest practicing the part first without the effects then add them in later after your technique has more fully developed. It does take time . . .

Music 2

Full standard notation and ukulele tablature is available for purchase: $5.39 and can be purchased by paying through the paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website:
Once purchased I will email it to you within the day.

Don’t forget I also have a large “2 in 1” UKULELE CHRISTMAS eBook . . .
Here is a blog detailing the contents of that collection:

For information regarding any ukulele product please email:

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 30, 2015 2:54 p11

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE.

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