Tuesday, 16 December 2014


JINGLE BELLS, as most (if not all) American
readers will know, is not actually a Christmas song.  Well,
it is now, of course, but didn't start out that way.  Originally
(and this is for British readers), it was a Thanksgiving song
called ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH.  We don't observe
that celebration on this side of the pond 'though, so we've
always associated it with the Yuletide season.

The original version had five verses, two of which
are now commonly ignored as they don't really lend 
themselves to the song's adopted Christmas theme.

Anyway, here's the velvet-voiced JIM REEVES
with his rendition.  Everybody sing along now. 


Gey Blabby said...

I had the Christmas Album on in the car today, with, of course, Jingle Bells as the opening track. I was delivering a couple of copies to my niece and her friend in time for the holiday season - so two more converts to the cult of Reeves, at least for the next three weeks or so. Ye cannae whack it at this time of year.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that about Jingle Bells, Kid - but a lot of these Christmas songs and carols have non-Christmas origins. Apparently 'Good King Wenceslas' started off as a song about flowers and springtime !! YouTube is great for looking at all these festive songs - my watch history is currently full of various Xmas songs and clips from things like 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and in the next few days I plan to use YouTube to watch some old Christmas specials from the '70s like the 1973 Xmas special of 'Steptoe & Son'- the one where Harold plans a party then gets chicken pox.

Kid said...

Brilliant Christmas album for sure, GB. My favourite. (Did you get lots of snaps of the 'old place' when you were over on holiday?)


Here's the one we used to sing as kids, CJ:

Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
Turned his trousers inside out
because his bum was freezin'.

Not sure it makes any sense, but we thought it funny at the time.

TC said...

Well, for many years, I thought of it as a Christmas song, and it was relatively recently that I found out it was originally for Thanksgiving. Everyone I know associates it with Christmas. "Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House" seems to be our traditional Thanksgiving song now.

Colin is right about several songs having non-Christmas origins. "Joy To the World" was originally about the Second Coming. And "Sleigh Ride" does not mention any particular holiday. Although, IIRC, the Carpenters' version says "Christmas party" instead of "birthday party" in the bridge.

Kid said...

Won't be long 'til Christmas now, eh, TC? Now there's a scary thought.

TC said...

The department stores already have their Christmas decorations up.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fill the stores with Santas jolly
Kindle bright the Yule log ember
But, d@#* it, not in mid-November!

Kid said...

Maybe I wasn't paying proper attention this year, TC, but in my neck of the woods, it seems that the shops at least waited 'til Hallowe'en and Bonfire night were out of the way before putting out the Christmas decorations and stock. Usually, all three celebrations are competing with one another in shops at the same time.

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