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What Made Irving Berlin Write the Song?

Reina enjoyed writing essays even when she was only a pupil. She works freelance writing web content for various individuals and industries.

First of all, who is Irving Berlin? You will hear his famous song playing on the airwaves at Christmastime. His motivation for writing the tune is noteworthy. Read on to find out why.


I wrote a long article for a client and felt anxious that it wasn't good enough. I was afraid of rejection. So I sent the client a message asking if I could make revisions.

The client was quite considerate. He sent me back the article and permitted me to make revisions. When I finally submitted my work, he gave a warm remark on my writer's profile.

That was a redemptive experience for me as a budding writer. My heart was almost leaping with joy. I felt relieved. It gave me a boost of confidence.

But, it's not all glory and praise that I have received in my work these past few days. As I was about to get my hopes up, something happened to my writer's profile. My status suddenly dropped to a lower level.

The admins of the platform notified me that they had made changes to their rating system. There might have been a glitch in the software, and they are working to resolve the issue. But, I felt degraded.

That incident led me to discover the story of Irving Berlin's song. After praying about my unfortunate situation, the melody ran into my mind. Count your blessings instead of sheep. I didn't know about the artist until this time.

Bill Cosby and Rosemary Clooney Duet

Soundtrack for White Christmas

I found this video uploaded by a YouTuber on the 3rd of December in 2012. It is a movie clip from the 1954 film White Christmas featuring Irving Berlin's song sung by Bill Cosby and Rosemary Clooney. The movie was a hit at the time.

Irving Berlin wrote all the songs for the soundtrack of this oldies musical film. Count your blessings (instead of sheep) is one of them. Inspiration for the hymn arose from the composer's personal experience. It was a piece of friendly advice from his doctor about a medical condition.

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Before going further into the story of Irving Berlin's song, take a look at this list of the other tracks in the film.

  • "White Christmas" (Crosby)
  • "The Old Man" (Crosby, Kaye, and Men's Chorus)
  • Medley: "Heat Wave " / "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" / "Blue Skies" (Crosby & Kaye)
  • "Sisters" (Clooney & Trudy Stevens)
  • "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" (Kaye with Trudy Stevens)
  • "Sisters (reprise)" (lip-synced by Crosby and Kaye)
  • "Snow" (Crosby, Kaye, Clooney & Trudy Stevens)
  • Minstrel Number: "I'd Rather See a Minstrel Show" / "Mister Bones" / "Mandy" (Crosby, Kaye, Clooney & Chorus)
  • "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)" (Crosby & Clooney)
  • "Choreography" (Kaye)
  • "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing (reprise)" (Kaye & Chorus)
  • "Abraham" (instrumental)
  • "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" (Clooney)
  • "What Can You Do with a General?" (Crosby)
  • "The Old Man (reprise)" (Crosby & Men's Chorus)
  • "Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army" (Crosby, Kaye, Clooney & Stevens)
  • "White Christmas (finale)" (Crosby, Kaye, Clooney, Stevens & Chorus)

You must be getting curious by now. What made Irving Berlin write the song? It's not about the movie but Mr. Bean has something to do with it. Watch Mr. Bean here.

Mr. Bean Counting Sheep Full Episode

Read Irving Berlin's Story By Benjamin Sears

Why Count Your Blessings

It might be helpful to listen to the song and pay attention to the lyrics. It says that when I'm worried and cannot sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. Then I fall asleep, counting my blessings. There goes the reason Irving Berlin wrote the song.

Irving Berlin had trouble sleeping while the film was on the drawing board. Imagine having to write all those songs. It must have brought him stress. Anyhow, he was successful. We still hear his music played today. That stress even contributed to his work.

The songwriter went to his doctor to seek help for his medical condition. He recalled complaining about having sleepless nights, feelings of self-pity, and belly aches. His doc came to see him and recommended that he try counting his blessings to fight his insomnia.

Counting sheep is a famous English idiom that means doing a monotonous or repetitive action until it puts you to sleep. That is what Rowan Atkinson illustrated in that one episode of Mr. Bean. The song and Mr. Bean give us a lesson on positive thinking.

When I'm worried and cannot sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. Then I fall asleep, counting my blessings. In other words, try to see things from a different perspective. Look on the bright side of life. Focus on the good, not the bad. Think of what you can do instead of what you cannot do.

Anxiety is a heavy burden that slows your progress. Think of all the good things in your life and try to count them. That will put a smile on your face and let you sleep in peace. You can learn more about Irving Berlin from the reader.

More Than A Christmas Carol

Irving Berlin's White Christmas composition became a top-charting hit. Several artists made their recordings of Count Your Blessings. In the Philippines, the singer and songwriter Jose Mari Chan popularized the song as a Christmas carol.

Count Your Blessings became the title of a Christmas album in 1994. Irving Berlin's composition is the first track on the album. A trio of famous Canadian and American artists performed the song. The album is a recording of a Christmas concert broadcast over Canadian and American radio the previous year.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Reina Mendoza

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