Christmas Song Story: Mary’s Boy Child
“Mary’s Boy Child” is a Christmas song written by Jester Hariston in 1956.
According to Wikipedia, a friend asked Hairston to write a song for a birthday party. Hairston wrote the song with a calypson rhythm “because the people at the party would be mainly West Indians. The song’s original title was “He Pone and Chocolate Tea”, pone being a type of corn bread.” This version was never recorded.
Later, Walter Schumann asked Hairston to write a new Christmas song for his choir. Hairston remembered his old song and provided new lyrics for it.
Harry Belafonte heard the choir sing the song and asked permission to record it, releasing it as a single in 1956 and on an album the following year.
The song has also been recorded by numerous artists including Andy Williams, Tom Jones, Harry Connick Jr., and The Bee Gees included it in a melody.
The song is also known as “MAry’s Little Boy Child.”