Retro Jazz Singer Laura Ainsworth Shares Rare and Unusual “Merry Little Christmas”

Retro jazz vocalist Laura Ainsworth, photo by Alan Mercer

Retro jazz singer Laura Ainsworth caps award-winning year with unusual “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” featuring rare original lyrics

The songwriters thought they’d created a classic, but Judy Garland believed it was so sad, people would think she was a monster if she sang it to her little sister. ”

— Laura Ainsworth

DALLAS, TEXAS, USA, December 12, 2023 / — Retro jazz singer Laura Ainsworth racked up a number of accolades and awards in 2023 for her latest album of requests, “You Asked For It.” So she’s thanking fans with a special gift only on YouTube, the latest treasure unearthed from her musical archeological digs: a version of the classic holiday song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with the rejected original lyrics.

Ms. Ainsworth said, “This is my favorite Christmas song because even without the holiday connection, it’s a gorgeous melody with very moving lyrics. Last year, I released a version commercially with the words I prefer, the more melancholy version sung by Judy Garland in ‘Meet Me in St. Louis.’ But this year, I decided to post an alternate take exclusively on YouTube of the first lyric that Judy rejected.”

“The songwriters thought they’d created a classic, but Judy Garland believed it was so sad, people would think she was a monster if she sang it to her little sister. I think she was right, it is extremely sad, and more specific to the plot of the film. I doubt it would have become as popular with these lyrics. I like them, though, and now, my fans can get the chance to hear me sing a lyric to this standard that I bet most never knew existed. It’s a fascinating ‘what-might-have-been’ story.”

Musical spelunking is nothing new for Ainsworth, who’s become known both for her distinctive silky voice and for unearthing great long-forgotten songs and revitalizing well-worn classics for modern audiences, with fresh, creative arrangements and restored original intros and verses. For instance, her third album “New Vintage” won awards for the early Frank Loesser song “That’s How I Got My Start” that, as far as she’s been able to discover, hadn’t been recorded since Bea Wain did it over 80 years ago. And her reinvention of “Goldfinger” as a sultry jazz ballad on “You Asked For It” surprisingly landed on modern rock and hip-hop music video shows with its atmospheric film noir-style clip.

Both versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” are on YouTube, and the one that made it to the movie is available on major music download and streaming sites, along with Ainsworth’s four albums of studio material. A limited-edition best-of vinyl LP and expanded Japanese import deluxe CD, both called “Top Shelf,” are also available through her website,

As the year draws to a close, Ainsworth is already looking forward to more mixing and matching of the past and present. Her next release will be an older song that she says is surprisingly reflective of unsettling current events. It will mark her first collaboration with jazz saxophonist Justin Chart (Universal Music Group.) The two discovered each other’s music during the Grammy® nomination period and formed a mutual admiration society.

Ainsworth said, “Justin shares my love of film noir and suggested recording together, and I jumped at the chance. I love the sultry ‘40s nightclub sax style of some cuts on his wonderful album ‘Prosper’ and thought it would be the perfect complement to my next single. With 2024 looking scarily like 1940, I think people will find this song both classic and contemporary.”

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Pat Reeder
Eclectus Records
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Laura Ainsworth’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with the original, rejected lyrics

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