Silver Bells: Christmas in the City
Silver Bells is one of my favorite songs of the season; it definitely speaks to those of us who live in cities at Christmastime. It captures exactly what you would see and feel while Christmas shopping before things get too hectic.
The first time I really took notice of the song was when I heard Marie Osmond sing it on a Bob Hope Special in the ‘70s; I was a bit of an Osmond fan at the time. At least I think it was Marie Osmond, the only video I could find of that song being sung on a Bob Hope Special was Olivia Newton John. I know I didn’t imagine it, if you remember it too please set my mind at rest.
There used to be so many Christmas variety specials to watch on television at this time of year; Andy Williams, Bob Hope, Perry Como. They were all filled with wonderful music and heart warming family scenes in the case of the Andy William’s specials. There are some specials that show up on television now but they just don’t give me the same feeling as those others did.
Silver Bells was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was originally called Tinkle Bells but one of the writer’s wives talked them out of that title. The song was inspired by the Salvation Army bell ringers who used to be on almost every street corner.
The song was first performed in 1950 in the movie “The Lemon Drop Kid” by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. It was first recorded that same year by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards. Since then almost everyone and his sister has recorded Silver Bells, from Bing Crosby to Jim Reeves to Elvis to Twisted Sister. My favorite new version is by Lady Antebellum which you can listen to below.
I grew up listening to the music of Jim Reeves; my parent's were big fans. I find his voice like an old comfortable quilt. He was a great singer and does this song great justice.
Twisted Sister recorded a Christmas album with songs such as O Come All Ye Faithful and Silver Bells. They had a short, but bright career in the music business. The lead singer even ended up with a family reality show which didn't last that long fortunately.
Steve Martin and Paul Simon
Steve Martin added some of his own lyrics to the song. It takes a while for him to show up but it's well worth it; it's hilarious.
Nothing says Christmas like the sound of Johnny Mathis's smooth, unique voice.
I haven't heard a lot of this band's music but I really like how they do this song. The lyrics are also visible on this video.
What do you think
Do you like Silver Bells? Who has recorded the best version in your opinion? Share your opinions in the comments box below.