Christmas Song Story: Mary’s Boy Child
Mary’s Boy Child is a popular Christmas carol written in 1956 by Jester Hairston.
Hairston roomed with a friend who asked him to write a song for a birthday party. He wrote the song with a calypso rhythm for the culture of those attending and titled the song “He Pone and Chocolate Tea”. However, the song was never recorded in this form.
Later on, Walter Schumann, the conductors of Schumann’s Hollywood Choir, asked Hairston to write a new Christmas song for his group. The composter remembered the old song and wrong new lyrics for it.
Upon hearing the song being performed, Harry Belafonte sought to record it and released it in 1956 and again in 1957 with a longer take. His release reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1957.
The song has also been recorded by Andy Williams, Mahalia Jackson, Evie, Anne Murray, the Bee Gees and Harry Connick Jr. to name a few.