Felix Bernard

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Best known for the Christmas standard "Winter Wonderland," songwriter Felix Bernard was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1897. His father played the violin professionally, and he himself took up the piano, later…
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Best known for the Christmas standard "Winter Wonderland," songwriter Felix Bernard was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1897. His father played the violin professionally, and he himself took up the piano, later performing on the vaudeville circuit as a tap dancer. His first success as a composer came with 1919's "Dardanella," for which he co-wrote the music with Johnny S. Black (lyrics were by Fred Fisher). Researchers have tabbed bandleader Ben Selvin's recording of "Dardanella" as probably the first record ever to sell over a million copies. It wasn't until 1934 that Bernard teamed up with lyricist Dick Smith to write "Winter Wonderland," which became a hit for Guy Lombardo that holiday season. Bernard went on to write songs for a succession of films dating from the mid-'30s to the early '40s, working with partners like L. Wolfe Gilbert, Alfred Bryan, Paul Francis Webster, Raymond Klages, and Irving Bibo. He passed away in 1944, two years before Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters both made hugely popular recordings of "Winter Wonderland" that solidified its status as a Christmas classic.