Songwriter Hugh Martin says the success of his "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is the most thrilling thing that ever happened to him.
He told the San Diego Union-Tribune it is "out of this world exciting." Martin, who lives in Encinitas, wrote the song in 1943 for Judy Garland and the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis."
Martin, 96, said the original was too sad, with the lyrics like "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last." He changed the song because Garland asked him to; 14 years later, he changed it again because Frank Sinatra asked him to.
More than 500 artists have recorded it through the years.
Martin said Garland was right: If he had insisted on the sadness, the song would have been long forgotten.