It looked like it was going to be a bloody Christmas tragedy. Nathaniel R. Lewis, 34, of East Vincent Township in Pennsylvania, had snapped on Christmas night.
He barricaded himself inside his home, about 42 miles west of Philadelphia, and fired shots at eleven police officers with his rifle during a 10-hour standoff. Lewis was distraught after separating from his wife before Christmas. Nobody had been hurt in the exchange of gunfire, but the tense confrontation lasted from approximately 7:30 p.m. on Christmas until 7:00 am the next morning, and a peaceful ending was hardly a certainty. Then Lewis told the SWAT team that he might calm down and surrender if the negotiator would sing “Nat King Cole’s version” of “White Christmas” for him.
So the officer sang “White Christmas,” not quite like Nat, presumably—nobody sang like Nat—but close enough. Lewis came out of the house and surrendered to police. He now faces 11 charges of attempted homicide of a police officer.
When he wrote “White Christmas” in 1940, Irving Berlin described the wistful ballad, in part inspired by the death of his infant daughter on Christmas day, as “the best song that anybody’s ever written.” It became the best selling song of all time, and as this incident shows, still has its magic intact.
There is a strange aspect to the story, however; I mean other than the episode itself, which is strange enough. I doubt that Lewis ever heard Nat King Cole sing the song, because there’s no evidence that he ever did! The song does not appear on Cole’s classic Christmas album; I have mine right here. Nat’s Christmas standard was “The Christmas Song.” There is a half-decent amateur Nat King Cole imitator whose version comes up first on YouTube—maybe it was the negotiator!—but that’s definitely not Nat, and it’s an ethics outrage that anyone would be fooled into thinking that inferior version was Cole singing.
Nat King Cole had his own song called “The Little White Christmas”…
and he performed Irving’s song on the piano on his TV show…
…but if he ever sang “White Christmas,” nobody recorded it. I’m sure it would have been terrific.
Here’s Nat at his Christmas best:
Source: Fox News