This much-loved Christmas Carol uses words published by Cecil Sharp in 1911. But to what extent did he graft Christian elements onto a very different original? FT arts editor Jan Dalley traces the gender shifts which define the song’s evolution. Credit: Universal-Island Records Ltd; Warner Classics
Each week we bring you the story of a song, from its origins and early recordings through cover versions good and bad. Each episode is written and presented by an FT music critic or contributor. Formerly called FT Arts.