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Sleigh Ride

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Fozzie singing Sleigh Ride
Fozzie Bear sings the song in A Muppet Family Christmas.
Music by: Leroy Anderson
Lyrics by: Mitchell Parish
Date: 1946 (music)
1948 (words)
Publisher: EMI Mills Music Inc.
Featured in:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
A Special Sesame Street Christmas
A Muppet Family Christmas
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Jingle All the Way
A Diva's Christmas Carol
Elf

"Sleigh Ride" is a popular song usually associated with Christmas. It was originally written as an instrumental piece in 1946 by Leroy Anderson, who intended it to refer to any winter event, not specifically Christmas. Mitchell Parish added words later, as he did for several of Anderson's compositions. The most famous recording of it is by the Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Arthur Fielder.

Lyrics

Just hear those sleigh bells
Jingling ring ting tingling too
Come on it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling Yoo hoo
Come on it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
Giddy up giddy up giddy up,
Let's go, let's look at the show
We're riding in a wonderland of snow
Giddy up giddy up giddy up
It's grand, just holding your hand
We're gliding along with
A song of a wintry fairy land
Our cheeks are nice and
Rosy and comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be
Let's take that road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
There's a birthday party
At the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect
Ending a of perfect day
We'll be singing the
Songs we love to sing
Without a single stop
At the fireplace while
We watch the chestnuts pop
Pop! pop! pop!
There's a happy feeling
Nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around
The coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a
Picture print by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives
[First Stanza reprised]
It's lovely weather for a
Sleigh ride together with you
[Last line repeated]

Recording history (Selected versions)

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  • 1949 – The Boston Pops' instrumental version was the original, but Leroy Anderson himself recorded a (slightly faster) instrumental version the following year. The Boston Pops have re-recorded it several times
  • 1950 – Leroy Anderson. The Decca Gold Label Series singles (#16000), both 45 and 78 rpm, referenced above were not issued as individual records. They were part of the four-disc set Leroy Anderson Conducts His Own Compositions. Anderson would re-record the song in stereo in 1959.
The Andrews Sisters – notable as the first known vocal recording of the tune.
Merv Griffin with the Freddy Martin Orchestra
  • 1954 – Bing Crosby with vocal backing by Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra (Decca 28463); Crosby recorded the song again in 1977 for his final album, Seasons.
George Melachrino – Christmas in High Fidelity. The arrangement is more string-heavy; even the horse's whinny is done by the violins.
  • 1955 – Walter Schumann – The Voices of Christmas
  • 1956 – Jo Stafford – Ski Trails
Spike Jones – A Xmas Spectactular
Ferrante & Teicher - Adventures In Carols (Westminster LP; re-recorded in 1962's Snowbound)
  • 1958 – Johnny Mathis – Merry Christmas
  • 1959 – Ray Conniff – Christmas with Conniff
Andre Kostelanetz – Joy to the World: Music for Christmas. A similar arrangement to the Leroy Anderson and Boston Pops version, but moderately faster in speed and featuring a whistle in portions of the song.
Hugo Winterhalter – Wish You Were Here
  • 1960 – Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
  • 1961 – Mitch Miller – Holiday Sing-Along
  • 1963 – The Ronettes - A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. An altered version with background vocals singing "Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding" and excluding the lyrics "Giddy up giddy up giddy up let's go" and "The birthday [or] Christmas party at the home of Farmer Gray."
Bert Kaempfert – Christmas Wonderland
  • 1964 – Jack Jones – Christmas Album
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme – That Holiday Feeling
The Ramsey Lewis Trio – More Sounds of Christmas
  • 1965 – Al Hirt – The Sound of Christmas
The Ventures – Christmas Album. A surf-style instrumental, similar in beat and arrangement to their biggest hit, "Walk Don't Run". Omits the "Farmer Gray" portion of the song.
Andy Williams – Merry Christmas
  • 1966 – The New Christy Minstrels – Christmas with the Christies
  • 1968 – Herb Alpert – Christmas Album
Robert Goulet – Wonderful World of Christmas
  • 1969 – Boots Randolph – Boots and Stockings
  • 1970 – Lawrence Welk – Merry Christmas
  • 1971 – The Partridge Family – A Partridge Family Christmas Card
  • 1977 – Burl Ives – Christmas by the Bay
  • 1978 – The Carpenters – Christmas Portrait (this version mentions "Christmas party" instead of the usual "birthday party" in the bridge)
  • 1983 – Amy Grant – A Christmas Album
  • 1987 – Fozzie Bear – in the television special A Muppet Family Christmas
  • 1992 – Deborah Gibson (then known as Debbie Gibson)– A Very Special Christmas 2. (This version, based on the Ronettes version, featured the backup singers singing "Sleigh Ride...Sleigh Ride" instead of "Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding")
TLC – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York soundtrack (also on MTV's "TRL Christmas" album in 2001)
Mel Tormé – Christmas Songs
  • 1993 – Harry Connick, Jr. – When My Heart Finds Christmas
Amy Grant – A Christmas Collection
  • 1994 – Neil Diamond – The Christmas Album, Volume II
Lorrie Morgan – Merry Christmas from London
Spice Girls – B Side of "2 Become 1" (similar to the Ronettes' version)
  • 1999 – Garth Brooks – Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas (Re-recorded in 2001's Call Me Claus)
Kenny G – Faith
  • 2000 – The Three Tenors – The Three Tenors Christmas
Vanessa Williams – from the movie A Diva's Christmas Carol
Billy Gilman – From the Christmas Album Classic Christmas
  • 2002 – Hilary Duff – Santa Claus Lane
  • 2003 – Chicago – What's It Gonna Be, Santa?
  • 2004 – Clay Aiken – Merry Christmas with Love
  • 2005 – JoJo – Performed a live version for President Bush at "Christmas in Washington"
  • 2007 – KT Tunstall – A Target exclusive CD
  • 2008 – Béla Fleck and the Flecktones – From the album Jingle All the Way, this rendition was nominated for the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance

Explanations

  • Currier & Ives was a popular printing company in the 19th century. It closed in 1907, 39 years before the song was composed.
  • The horse whinny five bars at the end is made by a trumpet half-valve glissando.
  • The whip cracks are made by a percussionist, preferably with a slapstick, although rimshots are also acceptable.
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