Jingle Bell Rock

Album: Jingle Bell Rock (1957)
Charted: 27 3

Songfacts®:

  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • 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, Family Guy 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).

Comments: 22

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 1st 1957, Sam Cooke, the Rays, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, & Bobby Helms all appeared on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Mr. Cooke sang "You Send Me", at the time it was #1 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, the Rays did "Silhouettes", it was at #5, the Crickets sang "Peggy Sue" and it was at #10...
    Bobby Helms performed "My Special Angel" and it was at #12 at the time on the Top 100; three months earlier on Sept. 22nd he had performed the song for the first time on the 'Sullivan' show {see next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 22nd 1957, Bobby Helms performed "My Special Angel" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Two weeks later on October 8th, 1957 it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #55; and on November 19th, 1957 it peaked at #7 {for 1 week} and spent 23 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on December 3rd, 1957 it reached #1 {for 4 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; the record it replace at #1 was "Jailhouse Rock" by The King {and it was The Killer who knocked him out of the top spot with "Great Balls of Fire"}...
    The Vogues covered "My Special Angel" in 1968; and their version also peaked at #7 on the Top 100 chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1958, production began on the movie "The Case Against Brooklyn"...
    Bobby Helms appeared in the film as himself, and he also performed the song "Jacqueline"...
    The song entered Billboard's Top 100 chart on May 6th, 1958 for an eight week stay; peaking at position #63...
    It reached #5 on Billboard's Country/Western Music chart and #20 in the U.K.
    The movie premiered in June of 1958 and its leading stars were Darren McGavin, Margaret Hayes, and Warren Stevens...
    R.I.P. Mr. Helms (1933 - 1997).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 9th, 1962, "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Rydell and Chubby Check entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a two week stay, peaking at #92...
    One year earlier in 1961 the duo spent five weeks on the Top 100 with the song, reaching #21...
    In 1957 country singer Bobby Helms' original version peaked at #6 on the Top 100; and for four more Christmas seasons he charted with the song (#35 in 1958, #36 in 1960, #41 in 1961, and #56 in 1962)...
    Over the years at least four other artists have placed it on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Terry from Spring, Tx@Peter in Northridge - It's quite likely Garland was using a Gibson, but probably a Byrdland. The Gibson Byrdland was a collaboration between guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland at Gibson's request, hence the name "Byrdland." Get it?
  • Peter from Northridge, CaGreat guitar by hank "Sugarfoot" Garland really makes this tune. He played a similar sound on Brenda Lee's "Rockin' around the Christmas tree" at about the same time. Gibson Les Paul?
  • Alan from Glasgow, United KingdomThis was also a top ten hit in the UK for english singer Max Bygraves in 1959.
  • Scotty from Cheyenne, WyDoes anyone know if that's Anita Kerr doing part of the backing vocals? Sure sounds like her!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"Jingle Bell Rock" charted five different times; in 1957 it peaked at #6, then in 1958 it was #35, in 1958 #36, in 1959 it was #41, and finally in 1961 it reached #56. {Spent a grand total of 21 weeks in the Top 100}
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAlthough his "Fraulein" only peaked at No. 36; it stayed in the Top 100 for 27 weeks!!!
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiMy favorite Bobby Helms song! Jingle bell Rock!
  • Stormy from Kokomo, InChris from Arizona - It's never Christmas for me until I hear this song! Also, I believe that Bobby Helms was from Mooresville, Indiana which is just south of Indianapolis.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhThe opening guitar sounds followed by the jingle bells...ah! always usher in the Christmas season for me & keep it rockin' all the way thru to New Year's Day! A timeless classic which never gets old.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYou couldn't ask for a more upbeat Christmas tune. One of the all-time Christmas song staples. I love it.
  • Dominick from New York, NyThis song has been covered many times, but there was a great version by Brenda Lee that charted in both 1964 and 1967.
  • Dominick from New York, NyAt the time of its release in 1957, it seemed more raucous. At that time, the big Christmas song was White Christmas.
  • Nichelle from Port Colborne , Canadahey i love this song this is my favorite christmas song ever !!! oh my god man
    xoxox Nichelle Taylor xoxooxox
  • Ralph from Newton, MaI love this song. Chris, may I recommend a switch to decaf.
  • Steve from Toronto, CanadaI remember my Grandparents who bought the 45 rpm record Jingle Bell Rock back around 1958.They used to play this record for me when I was 3 yrs old on their hi-fi record player.Today my Grandparents have been long gone, but I still have that old 1957 record player and the same 45 rpm record song "Jingle Bell Rock" that they used to play.It still sounds great.I have known this song off by heart for the past 48 yrs and I still love to here this song by Bobby Helms.
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkChris, read a book sometime. "Rock" in 1957 meant something completely different, musically, from what we think of today. You have to look at this song in an historical context. The pounding drums and ear-bleeding guitars of modern hard rock evolved from music like this.
  • Rick from Clare, MiMaybe by today's standards Chris, but still a popular tune at the time. When I was a kid I don't recall having a problem with this tune. It was another part of the holiday season to me. Different strokes, I guess.
  • Chris from Marana, AzDismal. As dismal and banal as Christmas music can conceivably get. What is "rock" about this song, I will never know. Completely unnecessary, ill-advised, a black mark against humanity.
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