In 1885 the Evangelical Lutheran Church published a school textbook which included the poem that would become "Away in a Manger." Controversy surrounds the song because it was inaccurately attributed to Protestant reformer Martin Luther. When music was added to the poem, it was first called "Luther's Cradle Hymn."
According to the book Best-loved Christmas Carols, James Ramsey Murray composed the music and is dishonestly responsible for the myth that Luther wrote the song.
The book Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas offers another explanation: "It's more likely that Murray was given the song and simply adapted the existing German-influenced melody into four-part harmony for his book. It also seems likely that Murray received the story of Martin Luther writing the piece from the person who originally gave him the song."
"Away in a Manger" has been recorded by numerous musicians. This year the song was included on the Duck Dynasty CD Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas.
This carol has been recorded by Bing Crosby, Elvis, John Denver and many more musicians.
Here are four different versions of the song ranging from instrumental to country to rock.