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Silver Bells Christmas Song

Silver Bells

Year: 1950

Written By: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans

Silver Bells has long gladdened people's hearts who hear it during the Christmas season. The idea of children laughing, people dancing, and bells ringing is enough to give even the meanest Scrooge the Christmas spirit. Especially since the song is set in the city where nine times out of ten people are just not that friendly normally. The singing of Silver Bells combined with the Christmas season seems to work wonders in just about everyone children and adults alike.

Silver Bells was written in a team effort by Jay Livingston and Ray Edwards. The song was first performed in a duet by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell for the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid. The film was filmed in July and August of 1950 but not released until 1951. In the meantime, it was recorded by Bing Cosby and Carol Richards and released in 1950. The song gained instant fame causing the producers of The Lemon Drop Kid to call Hope and Maxwell back to do a more elaborate version of the song for the movie.

It then charted for the very first time in the United Kingdom where it hit the top 40 and peaked at 27. It took a little longer to catch on in the United States but is one of the more popular carols of today.

There are two conflicting versions as to the inspiration for the song. One says that the song was written to honor the Salvation Army workers who stand and ring their bells to collect money during the holiday season. The other rumor states that Silver Bells was inspired simply by a tiny bell that sat on one of the composer's desk and reminded him of Christmas.

One interesting fact about Silver Bells is that it was originally titled Tinkle Bells. Livingston went home and told his wife about the song and the name and she laughed then asked if he as crazy. Tinkle is children's slang for having to urinate. Needless to say, the title of the song was changed.

Other notable artists to record Silver Bells over the years include country star Alan Jackson, the fictious Alvin and the Chipmunks, Anne Murray, Country legend Brenda Lee, Brad Paisley, and R.E.M. In recent years, the Silver Bells has been recorded by Twisted Sister in 2006 and again by Relient K in 2008. It was also performed by the Mormon Tabernacle choir in 1994.


Silver Bells Lyrics

Silver bells, silver bells] It's Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling], Hear them ring [ting-a-ling]Soon it will be Christmas day.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks. Dressed in holiday style In the air there's a feeling of Christmas [Children laughing, People passing, Meeting smile after smile] And on every street corner you'll hear 
Silver bells, [Silver bells] Silver bells, [silver bells] It's Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling], Hear them ring [hear them ring]Soon it will be Christmas day. 
[Strings of streetlights Even stop lights Blink a bright red and green As the shoppers rush Home with their treasures 
Hear the snow crunch See the kids rushThis is Santa's big day And above all this bustle you'll hear 
Silver bells] the corner Santa Claus, [Silver bells], it’s busy now because It's Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, [it fills the winter air] Hear them ring (you’ll hear it everywhere]Soon it will be Christmas day. 
City sidewalks, [silver bells] busy sidewalks,[Silver bells] Dressed in holiday style In the air [It’s Christmas time in the city] there's a feeling of Christmas Children laughing, [ring-a-ling]People passing, [Hear them ring]Meeting smile after smile Very soon it will be Christmas day.