AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT WORKS INC.
O HOLY NIGHT
In 1847, Placide Cappeau a local businessman in the small town of Rogurmaure France, was asked to write a Christmas poem by the parish priest. He wrote the poem called "Cantique de Noel," on the train to Paris for business.
Looking to set his new poem to music, Cappeau was introduced Adolphe Adam, a composer at the Paris conservatory. Adam – most famous for composing the ballet “Giselle” - wrote the melody we know today as "O Holy Night."
When the song premiered in Roquemaure, that Christmas however – the powers within the church were not happy. Not because the song was bad. The lyrics are simple and elegant, the music poignant and lilting. The Diocese was upset by the songwriters themselves.
Placide Cappeau – who rarely attended church - had followed into the family business as a wine and spirits distributor. An unsavory profession for a hymn writer. And the composer
Adolphe Adam, was worse. He had started his career as a vaudeville songwriter, and musician with Gymnasie Dramatique, a theater known for its, quote "compromising situations, cold turpitudes, calculated affronts, sobs and agonies."
The church, mortified by the backgrounds of these two men, declared “O Holy Night” unfit for services, and absent of the spirit of religion.
The people of France however, fresh off a Revolution, sang it anyway, and the song soon spread across the continent.
Sometime in the 1850s, John Sullivan Dwight, a American minister, translated the lyric into English, and 'Cantique de Noel' became 'O Holy Night."
On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a former employee of Thomas Edison, did something that was, at the time, unthinkable. Using a new technology, he broadcast the Nativity story from Luke over the Morse Code wireless system.
Code Operators on land and sea were stunned... when instead of the familiar dots and dashes, they heard a voice, coming through their speakers.
As word spread that evening, and people gathered to hear this miracle of technology, Fessenden picked up his violin and began to play, making "Oh Holy Night” the first song ever broadcast on radio.