The Story Behind Merv Griffin’s “Christmas City”
Everyone is familiar with the song “Christmas City”. Merv Griffin is a huge Icon and artist. How did he do a song for Duluth, and a “Small” parade? I found the story.
According to Paul Lundgren who posts for perfectduluthday.com Chris Rich said his Grandfather started the whole process, wanting an original song for the parade.
In the early 1960s a gentleman by the name of Don Peterson approached my grandfather with two songs he had written for the parade. “Christmas City” the up-beat toe tapping song that you can’t help but sing along with and “The Song of the Christmas City” a more slow tribute with a jazz feel similar to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
My grandfather then asked a friend of his, Merv Griffin, if he would sing the songs and put it to music. This was well before Mr. Griffin had become the successful TV personality and media man that he would later become. Both Merv and his wife flew to Duluth, met with my grandparents and stayed at their house on London Road. Merv took the sheet music back to a recording studio in New York City where both songs we pressed on a 45rpm record with full big band orchestras. Merv’s wife also sang in one of the songs.
The song plays on KOOL 101.7 during our Christmas music run from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day and is featured for the Christmas City of the North Parade on KBJR November 16th.