CANTON One of the seasons most beloved Christmas songs also gives back to St. Lawrence University each and every time it is played on the radio.
J. Kimball Kim Gannon, who graduated from St. Lawrence in 1924, composed Ill Be Home For Christmas along with Walter Kent and Buck Ram. Bing Crosby first recorded the song in 1943 for Decca Records. The song became a top-10 hit during the mid-1940s, as Americans were in the midst of World War II.
Gannon, who also wrote St. Lawrences alma mater, left the university a portion of his royalties from all of his compositions in his will. Gannon died in 1974 and his will stipulated that St. Lawrence receive 30 percent of the royalties from his compositions after his wifes death. His widow, Norma Allen Gannon, St. Lawrence Class of 1925, passed away in 2000.
Since then, St. Lawrence has gained $378,842 from the royalties of Gannons music. For 2013 alone, Gannons music has already earned St. Lawrence University nearly $34,000, and Christmas hasnt even arrived yet.
Since its 1943 debut, Ill Be Home For Christmas has been re-recorded countless times. In 2010, a recording of by Amy Grant was the 10th most played holiday song, according to American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), being played a total of 20,478 times. This year, the song was recorded by Britains Got Talents contestant Susan Boyle, Christian rock group, 33Miles, and Canadian recording artist Michael Bublé.
Gannons other popular songs include big-band standards Moonlight Cocktail, recorded in 1942 by Glenn Miller; A Dreamers Holiday, recorded in 1949 by Perry Como; and I Understand, recorded at different times by Nat King Cole, Dave Brubeck and Jimmy Dorsey.