Tinkle Bells

December 20, 2021

Hopefully this finds you pulling out your fuzzy socks and preparing to sit next to a warm fireplace with your favorite toddy. In the spirit of this festive season, I am swapping financial planning for a few stories about some favorite holiday tunes.

“The Chipmunk Song” was the first Christmas song to ever top the Billboard Hot 100. It remained the only one to do so until Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” topped the charts in December of 2019.

“Jingle Bells” holds the Guinness World Record as the first song played in space. On December 1965, Astronauts Walter Schirra and Tom Stafford used a harmonica and a bell — also the first instruments in space — to perform the song aboard NASA’s Gemini 6A space flight. This song was actually debuted during a Thanksgiving service and the oldest known recording was performed by the Edison Male Quartet in 1898.

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” is famously a song to cozy up to on a cold winter’s day, but it was written during a heatwave in 1944. The music was written by Mel “The Velvet Fog” Tormé. He and his friend and lyricist Bob Wells began writing the song as a way to distract themselves from the heat.Nat King Cole was the first to record the tune.

These ten classic “Christmas” songs were written by Jewish songwriters: “White Christmas” (Irving Berlin); “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” (Albert Hague); “Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Run Rudolph Run,” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Johnny Marks); “Silver Bells” (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans); “Let It Snow” (Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn); “Winter Wonderland” (Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith); “The Christmas Song” (Mel Torme); and, “I’ll be Home For Christmas” (Walter Kent).

“Up On the Housetop” was the first Christmas song to tell the story of Saint Nicholas in the guise of Santa Claus. Benjamin Hanby’s song was largely inspired by Clement Moore’s famous 1823 poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” It has since been recorded by a multitude of singers, most notably Gene Autry in 1953.

First appearing in the movie of the same name in July 1942, “White Christmas” performed by Bing Crosby, reached No.1 on the National List of Best-Selling Retail Records chart in October 1942, where it remained for 11 consecutive weeks. This version has sold over 100 million records around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles.

And, perhaps the most humorous…the song “Silver Bells” composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, was originally titled “Tinkle Bells” until Jay Livingston’s wife, Lynne Gordon, pointed out the unintended meaning to the duo. She saved the day and the song went on to be a huge success, peaking at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and holding that spot for about eight weeks.

I hope these fun facts inspired your holiday spirit!

I wish you all warm, happy, fuzzy feelings and a very lovely Holiday with all those you love.

Whitney Butler