Holidays #5

“Sleigh Ride”

Another song that does not mention Christmas but the theme obviously fits. Written by Leroy Anderson in the summer of 1946 it was first recorded by The Boston Pops Orchestra in 1949.

This happens to be the second most recorded song to originate from 1949 with 779 versions and at #1 is the very Christmassy “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with 834 versions which was written by the “King of Christmas Songs” Johnny Marks. Another non-Christmas song from 1949 that is popular this time of year is “Baby it’s Cold Outside” that has been covered 474 times.

A search of Youtube has the rendition by Ella Fitzgerald next on the list, the greats Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams know how to do Holiday songs as well as anyone. High on the search list was this surprising 1987 version from the soft rock superstars Russell Hitchcock (and to economize on names), he teamed up with Graham Russell to form Air Supply.

Holidays #4

“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”

This is the first recording and for some still the favorite. Sung by Vaughn Monroe and the Norton Sisters. It was written by the legendary lyricist Sammy Cahn who wrote so many great songs such as “Come Fly with Me” and “Time After Time”, he also wrote other Holiday songs such as Frank Sinatra’s “Pocketful of Miracles” and “The Christmas Blues”. This song he wrote with the equally legendary composer and musician Jule Styne. The pair wrote dozens of hit songs and were the favorite writers for Frank Sinatra among others. You will know many of Styne’s songs such as “People” by Barbra Streisand or “Everything’s Coming up Roses” by Ethel Merman. The pair also wrote “The Christmas Waltz” for Sinatra and it has since been covered 227 times.

As in my past examples this song does not mention Christmas but as it was released in November of 1945 it became a #1 hit song by December. It is one of the songs that is popular in the Southern Hemisphere during the months of July and August.

Franks Sinatra had a hit with his rendition in 1950.

Gotta love me some Dean Martin!

Jessica Simpson knows how to cover a Holiday song

Holidays #3

“Jingle Bells” the oldest surviving recording is by the Edison Male Quartet in this medley from 1898.

Jingle Bells” was not a Christmas song! It was written in the mid-19th century by James Pierpont, who was living in the Southern US at the time and missing the snowy winters of his home in New England. Seems it was a popular Parlour song and played around the Thanksgiving holiday. It notes the beginning of winter, and as time went on the two holidays and subsequently the music, just got linked together.

As Christmas and Holiday songs dominate the most recorded songs of all time list it is no surprise this is the 9th most covered song with 1569 versions. The second recording was twenty seven years later in 1925 by the Shannon Quartet.

The upbeat recording by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters from 1945 remains one of the most popular versions still today.

The amazing Katharine McPhee

Michael Bublé featuring The Puppini Sisters in the style of Bing and The Andrew Sisters.

Happy Hanukkah!

Holidays #2

“Winter Wonderland”

This song was written as a poem by Richard (Dick) Smith as he admired the freshly fallen snow in his hometown of Honesdale Pennsylvania. Smith had Tuberculous, but before he succumbed to the disease in 1934 he showed the poem to his friend Felix Bernard who composed the music. The most popular version was the cover by Guy Lombardo which came out just a week after the original (above) on the competing Decca Records. Over the years it has been recorded by just about every major name from the 1930’s through to today’s stars such as Norah Jones and Thomas Rhett. It is the tenth most recorded song of all time with 1560 versions, just ahead of “Over the Rainbow” that currently has 1490 renditions.

There is no mention of Christmas at all in the song but of course it is full of the imagery of freshly fallen snow, sleigh bells and young love. The fictitious Parson Brown becomes a Circus Clown in the more children friendly version.

Here are some of the more popular versions, both Bennett and Love have charted with this song.

Personally I have to go with this swinging version by Ella Fitzgerald but I am sure you have your favorite(s).

References: 1,2,3