Welcome to the season of holiday tunes and feel-good music – a great time to learn to play holiday classics by taking online piano lessons from the comfort of your home. Among the most popular holiday melodies is Jingle Bells, a catchy tune sung by every toddler in their PJs on Christmas Eve before age 5. James Lord Pierpont’s composer was the Uncle of financier JP Morgan. Like its composer, Jingle Bells has a fascinating history.
The Jingle Bells composer was a Boston native, although he was also an adventure seeker throughout his life. Pierpont lived life according to his terms, often with choices that ran counter to his own family’s ideals. Even the song’s birthplace remains a bit of a mystery, with dual competing legends referencing two cities in Massachusetts (Medford & Boston) staking the claim to Pierpont’s fame somewhere around 1850.
The original printing of this holiday classic was done by a publishing house in Boston in 1857 and included three verses. The initial title was ‘One Horse Open Sleigh.’ Its world-renowned title (Jingle Bells) is its second title – renamed two years later, likely because the song generated such festive feelings from its lyrics and music. Ultimately, the song dropped its more suggestive verses and is generally sung with one verse and a repeating chorus.
Despite its status among the most well-known and beloved yuletide staples, Jingle Bell’s lyrics have never had Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter) mentioned in the song. Legend notes that Jingle Bells was first performed during a Thanksgiving service led by his father or brother at a church, although much doubt circulates based on the song’s racy lyrics and the timeline of Pierpont’s life.
The first recording of Jingle Bells was done on an Edison Cylinder in 1889. Although no longer available, a second recording done about a decade (1898) later is available online. Since written, multitudes of talented artists have offered their renditions of this holiday classic, including –
- Bing Crosby
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Benny Goodman
- The Andrew Sisters
- And in more recent music times –
- Gwen Stefani
- Lauren Daigle
Jingle Bells also distinguishes itself from other songs as the first song ever broadcast from space. This incredible honor & feat happened about a week before Christmas in 1965. The astronaut crew aboard Gemini 6 played a bit of prank on the folks at Mission Control. First, they issued a statement of concern with Mission Control concerning a ‘low trajectory object’ traveling north to south – an implied reference to Santa Claus. Next, the astronauts broke into a surprise rendition of Jingle Bells using the small jingle bells and bite-sized harmonica they had smuggled aboard before beginning their space flight journey.
Jingle Bells holds a storied & colorful past despite its status as a Christmas classic. So, when the Christmas Carolers arrive at the front door for a live rendition of Jingle Bells, don’t roll your eyes. Instead, accompany these holiday singers with the piano skills learned by taking online piano lessons from Forbes Music Company. Online piano lessons nurture a student’s music skills, enjoyment, and appreciation.
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