If you are planning to be home, you probably should have already headed out

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, and Buck Ram, sung by Lady Antebellum:


Video by Lady Antebellum

And an acoustic cover of “I’ll by Home for Christmas,” sung by Jason and Michael Castro:


Video by Jason Castro (Okay, yes, the stache is unfortunate.)

The song, wistful and haunting, first recorded in 1943, was an instant hit, resonating strongly with soldiers at the front during WWII as well as with their families. It still speaks to those who can’t be with their loved ones during the holidays (or indeed at any time).

As to the writers:

A couple of years back, Wikipedia said that lyricist Kim Gannon was Jewish; this year, however, it says Irish-American. I cannot, in fact, find any source that says he was Jewish, so I think it’s safe to say he was not.

Buck Ram has co-writing credit on the song, but there’s considerable controversy over whether or not he should. He certainly copyrighted a song (originally a poem) with that title, but it is not clear that Kent and Gannon saw that song before coming out with theirs, nor is any similarity–aside from the title–between the two songs. However, Ram sued and won, so the credit is his. In any case, Buck Ram…might have been Jewish. Or maybe not. Wikipedia now says he was, but last year it did not, and the source cited for his Jewishness says he was born and grew up in New York, while all the other sources I can find says Chicago. AllMusic just describes his parents as “upwardly mobile.” So…maybe? Ram started out as a violinist and showed promise until he fractured his hand playing football. He graduated law school and passed the California bar but never practiced law; instead he went into music arranging and writing and later turned his hand (very successfully) to talent management and music production.

So we have one “no” and one double “maybe”–but so far as I can tell, the composer of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Walter Kent, was Jewish. (He was originally named Walter Maurice Kaufman, which certainly gives weight to the claim.) I can’t find much online about him, but he was a songwriter, composer, orchestra leader–and a practicing architect. Busy man!