Christmas Song – Jingle Bells Story and Fun Facts!
‘Jingle Bells’ is one of the best known Christmas songs in the world, but its history tells us that it is not specifically a Christmas song. Known today as a fun, laugh-filled Christmas song and popular as a parody theme. James Lord Pierpont originally wrote the song in 1857 and it was copyrighted at the time as ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’. The song was reprinted in 1859 with the revised title of ‘Jingle Bells’. Pierpont wrote the song for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Savannah, Georgia in the United States, where he was the resident organist.
The melody of ‘Jingle Bells’ has been used in German and French songs to celebrate winter fun. The lyrics have nothing to do with the ones we all know and love. For example, Francis Blanche wrote the French song ‘Vive Le Vent’ which means ‘Long live the wind’ with references to New Year’s Day.
In 1898, “Jingle Bells” was first recorded by the Edison Male Quartette in the United States. Since then, it has been recorded by many great artists, including Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters. In 2006, when it was sung by Kimberley Locke, it became a number one hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
Here’s a fun fact. In 1965, on December 16, ‘Jingle Bells’ was the first song broadcast from outer space. Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, the astronauts aboard Gemini 6, made a joke. They communicated to mission control that they saw a UFO with eight smaller UFOs in front. His reports followed that the pilot in the largest UFO command module was wearing a red suit. The joke concluded with the astronaut duo playing ‘Jingle Bells’ on a harmonica accompanied by sleigh bells that they had smuggled on board. Today at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, both instruments are on display. Interestingly, they are considered the first musical instruments to be played in space!
‘Jingle Bells’ has also been the subject of parody. The best-known tribute to the original song is Bobby Helms’s ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. In the 1960s, children in the US used to sing the verse ‘Jingle bells, Santa Claus smells, Easter is on the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in a beat-up Chevrolet. Here’s another parody of ‘Jingle Bells’, a verse adults and kids alike loved and still love to sing while enjoying some laughs along the way’ Running through the snow, on a broken pair of skis, crashing against the trees a piece of moldy cheese Ha ha ha, the snow is turning red, I think I’m almost dead, please hurry to the hospital before I lose my mind. Ha ha ha.’
‘Jingle Bells’ remains a favorite Christmas song, whether sung in its original form or in parody form, it is still popular around the world today. A song that brings families and communities together by sharing good Christmas humor and fun every year at Christmas!