Christmas bell carols Part II

By | December 9, 2009

Chiming in with more information on an appealing topic: Christmas bell carols.

Carol of the Bells or
Ukrainian Bell Carol
Written in 1916 by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych, this carol is based on an ancient New Year’s folk chant called Shchedryk. It was originally meant to be sung a cappella. The song was first used for New Year’s and, as Christianity became established, became an Epiphany carol. It is linked to a Ukrainian legend that says that, on the night Jesus was born, every bell in the world rang at midnight.
The song has been called the “Ukrainian Bell Carol “or “Carol of the Bells” since 1936, when composer Peter J. Wilhousky altered it into a Christmas carol. Minna Louise Hohman wrote the most well-known lyrics in 1947.
Lyrics and choir: Ukranian Bell Choir

Christian-themed video with music by George Winston and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Ukranian video

Silver Bells
This carol was written in 1950 by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston and inspired by the Salvation Army bell-ringers. It was recorded by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards for Christmas that year, but was really composed for the 1951 movie, The Lemon Drop Kid, starring Bob Hope. Various sources have noted that this is one of the few carols that has city setting rather than at home, in church or a rural setting.
Perry Como version: Silver Bells

Jingle Bell Rock
Not exactly a carol, but a familiar Christmas song by now. It was first released in 1957 by Bobby Helms. It was written by Joe Beal and Jim Boothe. According to ASCAP (2006), the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, it is seventh on the all-time list of favorite Christmas songs.
Lyrics at Jingle Bell Rock lyrics

Original version by Bobby Helms: JB Rockc

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