|Song by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra and the Lee Gordon Singers|
|Songwriter(s)||Jay Livingston, Ray Evans|
"Silver Bells" is a popular Christmas song composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
It was first sung by William Frawley, then sung in the generally known version immediately thereafter by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, which was filmed in July and August 1950 and released in March 1951. The first recorded version was sung by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards on September 8, 1950 with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra and the Lee Gordon Singers. The recording was released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby/Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to reshoot a more elaborate production of the song.
"Silver Bells" started out as "Tinkle Bells." Songwriter Ray Evans said: "We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his first wife said, 'Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?'" The word is slang for urination.
This song's inspiration is the source of conflicting reports. Several periodicals and interviews cite writer Jay Livingston stating that the song's inspiration came from the bells used by sidewalk Santa Clauses and Salvation Army solicitors on New York City street corners. However, in an interview with NPR, co-writer Ray Evans said that the song was inspired by a bell that sat on an office desk that he shared with Livingston.
Kate Smith's 1966 version of "Silver Bells" became popular and has since been featured prominently in film and on holiday albums. The song was recorded by American country duo the Judds and was released as a single in 1987, charting for one week in 1998 at No. 68 on the Hot Country Songs chart. In 2009 the song charted in the United Kingdom for the first time when a duet by Terry Wogan and Aled Jones that had been recorded for charity reached the Top 40, peaking at No. 27.
We wrote a song called 'Tinkle Bell,' about the tinkly bells you hear at Christmas from the Santa Clauses and the Salvation Army people. We said 'this is it, this will work for the picture,' so I took it home and played it for my wife. She said 'you wrote a song called 'Tinkle Bell'? Don't you know that word has a bathroom connotation?' So I went back to Ray the next day and told him we had to throw the song out, and we did.
Release Date November 28, 1966