My Christmas Song of the Day for December 24, Christmas Eve, is a spoken-word recording except for two lines or so. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been officially reissued since 1972, yet many children and adults of the era remember it fondly.
The year 1966 marked two milestones for actor Cary Grant (1902-1986), and they were not unrelated. First, he became a father for the first and only time at age 62, as his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon, gave birth to their daughter Jennifer. Second, in order to spend more time with her, Grant retired from motion pictures after completing his last feature, Walk, Don’t Run. He never would return to the screen, but in 1967, Grant made his first and only 45 rpm record.
Singer Peggy Lee teamed with Cy Coleman to write “Christmas Lullaby” specifically for Grant on the occasion of Jennifer’s first birthday. Using his acting skill, he gave it a tender reading, and he even sang a couple lines. During the holiday season of 1967, it spent two weeks in the lower part of Billboard‘s special Christmas chart and then mostly vanished. In 1969, it was included on the W.T. Grant compilation A Very Merry Christmas, Volume 3, but because “Christmas Lullaby” had only been issued as a monaural single, it was in rechanneled stereo on the LP. Three years later, it appeared on the album Joyous Christmas Volume 6, produced for the Beneficial Finance System. And that seems to be it.
Listen as Cary Grant pays tribute to his young daughter in “Christmas Lullaby.”