Song: “Silver Bells”

The song Silver Bells first was heard in the Bob Hope movie The Lemon Drop Kid. Uploaded by midmart.com.

This reminds me of my childhood more than almost any other Christmas song. Its imagery calls to mind the way Christmas used to be. Before malls, when people shopped for Christmas downtown. And people actually dressed like Santa Claus to ring the silver bells at the Salvation Army kettles.

The REAL Santa Claus at Miller & Rhoads, Richmond. Uploaded to Flickr by Cindy Woods.

And when everyone knew the real Santa Claus was at Miller & Rhoads in Richmond.

“Silver Bells” was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and was first recorded by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards in 1950. Bing also recorded it with Ella Fitzgerald, with Rosemary Clooney, and by himself. Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell performed it in the 1951 film, Lemon Drop Kid.

Believe it or not, the song was originally written as “Tinkle Bells.” Fortunately, Jay Livingston went home and told his wife about the song. Mrs. L. informed her clueless husband what “tinkle” was slang for.

“Silver Bells” has been recorded by just about everyone who’s ever made a Christmas record, but here are some of the more unusual artists who have covered it: Jeannie C. Riley, The Brady Bunch, Regis Philbin, R.E.M., Boxcar Willie, and Twisted Sister.

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2 responses to “Song: “Silver Bells”

  1. I agree… love hearing and singing “Siver Bells”; many fond images from the past are always evoked. I also remember visits to Miller and Rhoads….
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. Now I have to go pull out my sheet music of Silver Bells and tickle the ivories. That along with Winter Wonderland. Remember downtown NN at Christmas? Decorations hung across Washington Ave for several blocks. The Shipyard always had a Christmas scene on top of one of its buildings along Washington Ave about 39th Street. I lived in the Shipyard apartments on Wash Ave and my mom and I would walk downtown on Fridays. That was always exciting.

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