8 Surprising Facts About 'Let It Snow'

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra on the set of the Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Christmas Show in 1967.
Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra on the set of the Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Christmas Show in 1967.
Martin Mills/Getty Images

All it takes is hearing the piccolo at the beginning of Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow” to make some people crave the cold. No matter how you feel about the holidays, the honorary Christmas song celebrates a part of the season everyone can get on board with—namely, getting cozy indoors when the weather outside is frightful. Here are some festive facts you should know about the ultimate hygge anthem.

1. The lyrics of "Let It Snow" contain no mention of Christmas.

"Let It Snow" has become a regular part of radio stations' holiday playlists, along with tracks like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "All I Want for Christmas Is You." But unlike those songs, "Let It Snow" contains no references to Christmas. Fire, popcorn, and winter weather are all mentioned, none of which are uniquely Christmas-y. So feel free to continue singing "Let It Snow" into the New Year and beyond.

2. "Let It Snow" was written during a heatwave.

Lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne had to use their imaginations when writing "Let It Snow." The two were struggling to endure one of the hottest days on record in Southern California in July 1945. Instead of heading to the beach, they decided to stay inside and write a song that would transport them to the winters of their youths.

3. The full title of "Let It Snow" is a mouthful.

Cahn and Styne's tune was first recorded in 1945 and released under the full title "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" Today, the wordy title is commonly shortened to the simpler "Let It Snow."

4. You've probably never heard the original version of "Let It Snow."

Singer Vaughn Monroe was the first person to record "Let It Snow" in 1945. His version was a hit, climbing to No. 1 on the Billboard charts by late January 1946, but it isn't the track many people are familiar with today. Dean Martin recorded a cover in 1966, and even though it was released more than 20 years after the original, it's regarded by many as the classic version of the track.

5. It took 50 years for Dean Martin's version of "Let It Snow" to enter the Billboard charts.

After playing on radio stations through decades worth of Christmases, Dean Martin's cover of "Let It Snow" finally entered the Billboard Top 100 in 2018. It marked the first time in 49 years a Dean Martin track made the list, the last time being when "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" charted in 1969. Martin was just eight years shy of beating Louis Prima's record for longest gap between Hot 100 hits, which lasted 57 years.

6. The official music video for "Let It Snow" was only released in 2019.

After charting for the first time in 2018, Dean Martin's "Let It Snow" reached another important milestone in 2019: An official music video for the song was uploaded to YouTube in November. It features an animated version of the singer celebrating the holidays with a cartoon cast of characters. The video was produced by Universal Music Enterprises, which has also released animated videos for classic holiday songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

7. A lot of big artists have covered “Let It Snow.”

As is the case with many famous holiday songs, “Let It Snow” has been covered by some of the biggest names in the music industry. Before Dean Martin recorded his iconic version in 1966, his Rat Pack buddy Frank Sinatra released his own single in 1950. In recent decades, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Jewel, and 98 Degrees have covered it. Some artists have found creative ways to make the classic song sound fresh; in 2005, Carly Simon released a version from the perspective of the party host instead of the guest.

8. "Let It Snow" has a warm-weather counterpart.

After writing one of the most popular winter songs of all time, Cahn and Styne joined forces again to pen a tune about nostalgia for warmer weather. In "The Things We Did Last Summer," the singer relies on happy summer memories to get through the winter months—a reversal of the situation that inspired "Let It Snow." "The Things We Did Last Summer" was a Top 10 hit when it was released in 1946 and it has since been covered by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and The Beach Boys.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Jimi Hendrix’s Connection to Hogan's Alley—Vancouver's Lost Black Neighborhood

Marjut Valakivi, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons
Marjut Valakivi, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

From the early 1900s through the 1960s, Hogan’s Alley—the unofficial name of Park Lane, an alley that ran between Union and Prior Streets in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighborhood—was a multicultural area that hosted an enclave of Black Canadians, largely immigrants and their descendants, who had resettled from American states to find work, generally on the Great Northern Railway system.

As a result of rampant racism and housing discrimination within the city, many of Vancouver's Black residents also migrated there, establishing numerous businesses including Pullman Porters’ Club, famed eatery Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, and the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel, the city’s only Black church at the time, which was partly spearheaded by Zenora Rose Hendrix—a pillar of the community and grandmother to legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix. Yet, despite the neighborhood's thriving business and cultural scene, city officials didn't hesitate to level Hogan's Alley and displace its many residents when it got in the way of an ill-conceived government construction project that was eventually abandoned altogether.

As national uprisings in support of the Black Lives Matter movement continue, racism has been declared a public health crisis throughout the U.S. following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement. Standing in solidarity with Americans calling for an end to police militarization, cultural advocates in Vancouver have been outraged by the harsh treatment of protesters in the United States. Growing frustration in the area has prompted a demand for the once-bustling, historic Black community of Hogan’s Alley to be recultivated as a cultural, commercial, and residential center for Black Vancouverites.

The Rise and Fall of Hogan's Alley

Ross and Nora Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix's paternal grandparents.Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Zenora “Nora” Rose Hendrix was born in the States, but became a much-admired member of the Hogan's Alley community. Nora (who, like her grandson, was a talented musician) was a cook at Vie's, a restaurant that was frequented by jazz icons including Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong during concert stops.

Jimi, who was raised in Seattle, forged a strong bond with the area during summer visits with his grandparents and via a short stint living with them, during which he attended first grade at Vancouver’s Dawson Annex School. He returned to the area in the early 1960s, where he regularly performed at local venues like Dante’s Inferno and Smilin’ Buddha.

At the same time Jimi was building his reputation as a world-renowned musician, the city of Vancouver began work on a development project to replace and expand the Georgia viaduct. To accommodate its redevelopment, which included the construction of a new interurban freeway, parts of the city would need to be destroyed. Hogan’s Alley was among the neighborhoods that city authorities had deemed disposable because, according to the Vancouver Heritage Fund, it had a reputation as “a center of squalor, immorality, and crime.”

Vancouver’s Chinatown was yet another neighborhood that was at the top of the list to be razed to make way for the Georgia viaduct and its new freeway, but Chinatown residents and the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) were able to effectively protest and shield that area from demolition. Though many of Hogan’s Alley’s Black residents participated in protests against the urban renewal agenda that was aimed at wiping out their neighborhood, they were unsuccessful.

In 1967, work on the first phase of construction began, effectively erasing the western half of Hogan’s Alley and forcing many Black families to leave the area in search of new housing and better opportunities. Though the building of the freeway was eventually stopped, it was too late for the residents of Hogan’s Alley.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Hogan's Alley: Then and NowMike via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In the near-half-century since the demise of Hogan’s Alley, no other cultural epicenter for Vancouver’s Black community has sprung up to take its place. Today, even within the city, the story of Hogan’s Alley and its dismantling is largely unknown—though there have been various efforts made to ensure that the neighborhood and its importance to the city’s history are not forgotten.

When the city revealed its plans to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in 2015, the announcement received a lot of attention in the area. In June 2020 activists—including members of the Hogan's Alley Society, a nonprofit organization that works to highlight the contributions of Black Vancouverites to the city’s history—held a peaceful protest wherein they occupied the viaducts in order to bring attention to the role the structures played in the decimation of Hogan's Alley. While they're happy to see the viaducts go, the protestors want to make sure that the city fulfills its promise to erect a Black Cultural Center in the structures' place and restore a vital part of Vancouver's lost Black history.

Dr. June Francis, chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society, told Global News the viaducts were “a monument to the displacement and the oppression of the Black community ... [Hogan’s Alley] was erased by the actions of the city.”

While the city promised to build a cultural center where Hogan's Alley once stood, Francis said two years have passed with no actions taken to fulfill that commitment. "I expect the city, actually, to come out with a definitive statement to these young people to say 'We believe in your future and here is our response to you,'" she said.

A Shrine to Jimi

Vancouver's Jimi Hendrix ShrineRunran via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2019, Nora Hendrix Place—a three-story, 52-unit, modular housing facility—was opened in the former Hogan’s Alley area to provide temporary shelter to the city’s homeless population. According to The Star, “The building will be run by the Portland Hotel Society and have a focus on supporting marginalized groups experiencing homelessness, while also including design elements shaped by Black culture.” But Nora’s famous grandson hasn't been forgotten either.

In the 1990s, a Jimi Hendrix Shrine—a small, fire engine red temple—was created where Vie’s once stood. It was an homage to Jimi’s career and the time he spent in Hogan’s Alley, complete with vinyl records, concert flyers, and letters from Jimi to his grandmother. Though the space is currently closed, its creator, Vincent Fodera, hopes to not only upgrade the shrine but to eventually have a 32-foot statue of Jimi towering over it.

While few physical reminders of Hogan’s Alley remain today, thanks to the lasting contributions of the area’s residents—including the Hendrix family—and the tireless efforts of its preservation advocates, the legacy of Hogan’s Alley’s will hopefully once again become an indelible part of the cultural fabric of Vancouver and its history.