“Jingle Bells” is one of the most sung Christmas tunes in the world, although its lyrics vary from country to country (it’s also one of the most spoofed). It was written by James Lord Pierpont–for Thanksgiving–in remembrance of the sleigh races in his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts. He published the song, which he called “One Horse Open Sleigh,” in 1857–160 years ago–during a decidedly unsnowy fall in Georgia.
“Jingle Bells” was one of the first songs ever recorded for the newly invented Edison Gramophone in 1889 (no copies exist today), and in December, 1965, became the first song ever played from space during the Gemini 6 mission.
It’s popularity may have inspired the modern use of the term “jingle” to describe a catchy, commercial melody.
Here’s a delightful rendering of 17 Different Versions of Jingle Bells, performed by the relentlessly clever pianist and singer Tony DeSare: