Jingle Bells (aka The One Horse Open Sleigh)

(Words and music by James Pierpont, 1857)

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared:

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1):

Comments:

From Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be)—September 6, 2003

"Jingle Bells" was written by James S. Pierpont (1822-1893) in 1857; Pierpoint (not to be confused with lyricist John Pierpont, 1785-1866) wrote the number as "The One-Horse Open Sleigh" (a friend of Pierpont, admiring the song, called it a "merry little jingle" and helped give the tune the name by which we know it today) in order to cheer up the local Sunday-school evening meeting.

Originally recorded (on an Edison brown wax cylinder, number 2218) by Edison Male Quartette in 1898, it was also performed by the Andrews Sisters, Barry Manilow, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Bobby Vinton, Booker T. & the MG's, Count Basie, Dean Martin, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Mercer, Julie Andrews, Les Paul, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Pat Boone, Patti Labelle, Paul Anka, Perry Como, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, ... and then some.

"Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, / Jingle bells, jingle bells, / Jingle all the way, / Oh, what fun it is to ride / In a one horse open sleigh, hey! / Jingle bells, jingle bells, / Jingle all the way, / Oh, what fun it is to ride / In a one horse open sleigh / Dashing through the snow / In a one horse open sleigh, / O'er the fields we go, / Laughing all the way / Bells on bobtails ring, / Making spirits bright / What fun it is to ride and sing / A sleighing song tonight, Oh! / Jingle bells, jingle bells, / Jingle all the way, / Oh, what fun it is to ride / In a one horse open sleigh, hey! / Jingle bells, jingle bells, / Jingle all the way, / Oh, what fun it is to ride / In a one horse open sleigh"

Meanwhile in Germany: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, / heller Glockenklang, / Unser Schlitten saust dahin, / auf dem Felsenhang, / Jingle bells, jingle bells, / komm und steig mit ein, / Unser Schlitten fährt uns hin, / in Wind und Welt hinein / Eine Decke überm Knie, / ja verliebt so wie noch nie, / Uns're beiden Hände binden / sich, ich sag ich liebe dich / Komm jetzt steigen alle ab, / denn jetzt geht es nicht bergab, / Unser Pferdchen wird uns dankbar sein, / und wir laufen hintendrein / Winterwelt, Wunderwelt, / herrliche Natur, / Dir mein liebes Christkind sind / wir heute auf der Spur / Winterzeit, Seligkeit / macht das Herz uns weit / Denn die ganze Welt hat heut / an das schönste Kleid" ... etc.

And in France: "Sur le long chemin / Tout blanc de neige blanche / Un vieux monsieur s'avance / Avec sa canne dans la main / Et tout là-haut le vent / Qui siffle dans les branches / Lui souffle la romance / Qu'il chantait petit enfant / Oh! Vive le vent, vive le vent, / Vive le vent d'hiver, / Qui s'en va sifflant, soufflant / Dans les grands sapins verts, oh! / Vive le temps, vive le temps, / Vive le temps d'hiver, / Boule de neige et jour de l'an / Et bonne année grand-mère"... etc.

"Jingle Bells" has come to be practically synonymous with Christmas (it was actually written for a Thanksgiving performance): it was probably the first secular carol of consequence in the US, although "Up On the Housetop", which was composed in the 1850s or 1860s, could have preceded it; another secular carol which could possibly be earlier than "Bells" is the anonymous and undated song, "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" (the odds are, though, that "Nicholas" is somewhat later).

 

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