Monday Night Christmas Music Byte
“Sleigh Ride” is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra. The song was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl. This original mono version has never been available on CD, although the later 1959 re-recording is available in stereo. The orchestra has also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor.
Although “Sleigh Ride” is often associated with Christmas, and often appears on Christmas compilation albums, the song’s lyrics never specifically mention any holiday or religion. In fact, the mention of pumpkin pie in the last verse might suggest an association with Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.
According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP] review of Christmas music, “Sleigh Ride” consistently ranks in the top 10 list of most performed songs written by ASCAP members during the Christmas season worldwide. According to author Steve Metcalf in the book Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography [Praeger 2004], “Sleigh Ride”… has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music.”
Please enjoy the original Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops‘ version of “Sleigh Ride” which happens to be my personal favorite traditional Christmas song.