Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Jingle Bell RockReleased: 1957Charted:
This is considered the first mainstream rock 'n' roll Christmas song. Helms was a new, relatively successful Country artist with two #1 country hits in 1957, "Fraulein" and "My Special Angel," both of which were crossover hits that made it into the pop Top 40.
Although this was released only two days before Christmas in 1957, the single still hit #6 on the pop chart. The song was re-released around Christmas in 1958 and again in 1960, making it back to the charts each time.
The B-side of the single is "Captain Santa Claus And His Reindeer Space Patrol."
Many artists have covered this song, including Hall & Oates, The Platters, 38 Special, and The Beach Boys. The only other version to chart was by Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell; their rendition hit #21 in 1962.
The Hall & Oates version, released in 1983, was accompanied by an exceptionally campy video that got a lot of airplay on MTV, which launched in 1981. When we asked Daryl Hall why they covered the song
, he said that he was in a rockabilly phase at the time and wanted to do a rockabilly Christmas song.
This song is credited to Joe Beal and Jim Boothe. Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland played guitar on this track as well as Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
." Before his death, Garland filed suit against the record label, claiming that he and Helms, not Beal and Boothe, wrote the song.
In a 1986 interview, Helms said he made significant changes to many of his songs, but never got credit. "Jingle Bell Rock," he said, originally didn't have a bridge so he wrote one ("What a bright time, it's the right time, to rock the night away...").
Helms' version has been used in several TV shows, including The Wonder Years, Chuck, House M.D., It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Simpsons, South Park, and Once Upon A Time. It's also featured in the movies Lethal Weapon (1987), Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Jingle All The Way (1996), and Vanilla Sky (2001).