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Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson

Album: Greatest HitsReleased: 1948
  • Leroy Anderson wrote the music for this song during a heatwave in July of 1946, at his summer home in Woodbury, Connecticut where he was vacationing with his family. Anderson was an orchestral composer who lived in the Boston area and moved to Woodbury permanently in 1948, where he lived until his 1975 death at age 66. He had a big hit in 1952 with the song "Blue Tango."

    Arthur Fiedler premiered the song with the Boston Pops, who Leroy was an arranger for earlier in his career. Words for "Sleigh Ride" were added in 1950 by Mitchell Parish, and the song has since become a Christmas classic.
  • Like "Winter Wonderland," this song does not make any specific reference to Christmas, but the seasonal imagery has made it very much associated with the holiday. It's hard to think of a sleigh in winter without thinking of Santa.
  • The lyrics, "Like a picture print by Currier and Ives" refer to a printmaking firm that produced some of the most iconic and popular American artwork of the 19th century. The company specialized in publishing hand-colored lithographs that were sold inexpensively to the American middle class. A sample can be seen here. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Patrick - Bremen, GA
  • The Ventures did an instrumental version that is based on their hit "Walk - Don't Run." Another unusual take on the song comes courtesy of The Ronettes, who recorded it under the direction of producer Phil Spector. This version has the famous "Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding" backup vocals, and has become one of the more popular recordings of the song. It was included on the 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, which had the misfortune of being released the same day US president John F. Kennedy was assassinated: November 22, 1963.
  • Other artists to record this song include Neil Diamond, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Grant, Harry Connick, Jr., Herb Alpert, the Spice Girls, TLC, Kenny G, KT Tunstall, Air Supply, the Carpenters, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Hampton String Quartet, Hilary Duff, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Vera Lynn, Natalie Cole, and She & Him, and fun. A version by Bela Fleck got a Grammy nomination in 2009 for Best Country Instrumental Performance. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • According to ASCAP, this was the most-played holiday song on American radio from 2009-2012, beating out "Winter Wonderland," "The Christmas Song" and "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!."
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Comments: 6

Why'd Phil have the girls record a very truncated version of 'Sleigh ride'? He left out many of the lyrics!Dave - Wheaton, Il
The Ronettes is my favorite version, but the Karen Carpenter also sings a knockout version on the best Christmas album ever recorded, "A Christmas Portrait."Guy - Woodinville, Wa
Wonderfultune...forthe 50's bop instrumental version,try the Herb Geller Quartet on Emarcy records(outofprint,but may be on cd now.)Steve Dotstar - Los Angeles, Ca
Stefanie, if you like Phil Spector, if you like his "Wall of Sound" just buy his Christmas cd.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
I mihgt have heard that version. I'm not sure.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
On the Christmas cd "A Christmas gift to you from Phil Spector" there's a version from the Ronettes; it's very good, very original, very Spector.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
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