I’ve always liked Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride as a secular Christmas song 🙂 It’s not technically a Christmas song since the words never mention Christmas but it’s often played now so it seems like a way to ease into the season.
Anderson 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 and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra.
A fun arrangement has been made for piano duet. I have copies here for loan and it’s available on amazon (of course! What isn’t?)
• 1913 ~ Mary Martin, American singer and actress, primarily for the musical theater, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress, mother of actor Larry Hagman
• 1924 ~ Lady Be Good opened in New York City. George Gershwin wrote the music while Fred and Adele Astaire were well-received by the show’s audience for their dancing talents.
• 1936 ~ Lou Rawls (Louis Allen), American Grammy Award-winning singer of popular music, TV regular on Dean Martin Presents
• 1938 ~ Sandy Nelson, Drummer
• 1939 ~ Diane Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk Show, Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters
• 1940 ~ Glenn Miller got a call from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers). He was informed that he couldn’t use his Moonlight Serenade as his band’s theme song. He had to use Slumber Song instead because of an ASCAP ban.
• 1945 ~ Bette Midler, American Grammy Award-winning pop-rock singer and actress
• 1945 ~ Burl Ives made his concert debut. He appeared at New York’s Town Hall. We lovingly listen every year for the voice of this old-time radio personality as the narrator and banjo-pickin’ snowman in TV’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
• 1946 ~ Gilbert (Raymond) O’Sullivan, Singer
• 1950 ~ John Wesley Ryles, Singer
• 1950 ~ Ernest John Moeran passed away
• 1968 ~ Promises, Promises opened on Broadway. The play ran for 1,281 performances, earning $35,000 in profits each week of 1969. Dionne Warwick had a hit version of the title song.
• 1986 ~ Horace Heidt, orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon), died at the age of 85
• 1989 ~ Alvin Ailey, US choreographer (Blues Suite, Revelations), died at the age of 58
• 1997 ~ Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, died at the age of 89