Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Great Non-Christmas Songs

I looked up “Jingle Bells” on the Internet and, sure enough, it’s not a Christmas song at all. It was originally written for Thanksgiving The author and composer was a minister, James Pierpoint who composed it in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas. When you look at the lyrics, by golly, there is nothing in there even remotely connected to Christmas. It’s all about a sleigh ride in the winter, with a girl friend mentioned in the third verse.

Then there’s that other Christmas favorite, “Frosty the Snowman” Uh, Christmas? Where does it say “Christmas”? Song writers Jack Nelson and Steve Rollins decided to write a silly, catchy song doing variations on an icon of Christmas. It took them months to decide on a living snowman as their subject. Gene Autry recorded it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Sleigh Ride” is another great Christmas favorite, written by Leroy Anderson during a heat wave in August of 1946, about “sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting tingling too.” But where does it say “Christmas”? Same as the others, it’s just not there. The only celebration mentioned is, “There’s a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray.”

Hmmmm; let’s try another traditional Christmas song, “Winter Wonderland.” The lyrics of Winter Wonderland have undoubtedly contributed to the magical vision of snow at Christmas together with the tradition of building snowmen. Except it’s another winter song, with nary a mention of the holyday.


Anonymous RuthC said...

I've often wondered why the types of songs you write of seem to appear around (American) Thanksgiving and disappear from the radio at midnight (on the dot) Christmas night.

There's plenty of cold and snow left in the Winter for them to be heard.

(Add Baby It's Cold Outside to the list).

December 18, 2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who knows

December 20, 2007 8:28 PM  

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