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Songs of the Season: Jingle Bells

Certainly one of the most widely known and popular (in the United States) of all Christmas songs. Sing along:

(This YouTube video – which bills itself as the “Original Jingle Bells Animation Clip” – includes clips from a variety of sources, including animated cartoons, Christmas movies and TV shows, with karaoke-style sing along lyrics overlaid. It’s quite well done, I think.)

I’ve got versions of “Jingle Bells” from a whole bunch of artists, though predictably more from the jazz and pop side of things than classical, folk or Celtic musicians. Even David Hasselhoff of “Bay Watch” recorded it (ugh). The jazz versions can be quite interesting – particularly the ones by Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Fats Waller. And more traditional/predictable versions, like those by Nat King Cole (and by his daughter Natalie) and Bing Crosby.

It’s odd how many artists have recorded versions. It’s a fun song, but for kids – it’s not really beautiful, but it is upbeat and easy to sing. Its real merit is as something we can sing, rather than as something to listen to on holiday evenings. In any case, we will hear it far too often, or at least the basic tune, in store muzak and commercials long before the holidays are over.

Nonetheless, here are a few versions I find reasonably listenable or interesting in other ways:

Ella Fitzgerald, “Jingle Bells” – from Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas

Diana Krall, “Jingle Bells” – from Christmas Songs

The Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby, “Jingle Bells” – from White Christmas

Earl Scruggs, “Jingle Bells” – from A Very Special Acoustic Christmas

And here are some of the many other versions that are out there – a vaguely representative sampling of bigger name versions. If you’re like me, you may have already had as much “Jingle Bells” as you really want. but if you haven’t yet, I can guarantee you will have if you listen to all of these…

The Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Jingle Bells” – from Boogie Woogie Christmas

Willie Nelson, “Jingle Bells”

Celia Cruz, “Jingle Bells” – from Feliz Navidad – Christmas in Cuba

Alvin and the Chipmunks, “Jingle Bells”

David Hasselhoff, “Jingle Bells” – from The Night Before Christmas

Ray Conniff, “Jingle Bells” – from Christmas With Conniff

Booker T and The MGs, “Jingle Bells” – from In the Christmas Spirit

Frank Sinatra, “Jingle Bells”

Duke Ellington, “Jingle Bells” – from Christmas in New Orleans

Dean Martin, “Jingle Bells”

Natalie Cole, “Jingle Bells” – from Christmas Hits 2007

For more…

Filed under: Song of the Day, , ,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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