The holidays are time for joy and merrymaking, so take this ukulele video lesson and learn a new Christmas song to make the season a little brighter for you and your loved ones! The ukulele is actually a fantastic instrument for many Christmas songs. It allows you to blend in that sweet island sound to the cold and wintry holiday. “Silver Bells” is a classic song written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and is easily one of the most popular Christmas songs out there. It should be at the top of your list to learn.
While the Bing Crosby and Carol Richards version of the song is probably the one most people know, he was not actually the first person to perform it. That honor goes to Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell who performed it in a movie called The Lemon Drop Kid that came out in 1951. They performed the song in August of 1950, but the movie didn’t come out for another few months. Crosby and Richards recorded the song and released it in October of 1950, so their version is the one that the public remembers as being first. Their take was so popular that Hope and Maxwell actually had to come back into the studio to redo their version to get it on par with the one on the radio. Over the years, countless others have covered this classic song, including Dean Martin and Martina McBride. Listen to some different versions to see the various takes.
One of the most interesting things about the song is that “Silver Bells” was not actually the original title. Livingston and Evans were working for Paramount and writing songs for films. One of the movies they were working on at the time needed a new Christmas song. The duo did not like the idea of writing a holiday tune, since they felt that all of the good ones were already out there, and that people always sang the same songs. Paramount was insistent that they got a Christmas song though, so they set off to work.
They got inspiration for their song from a little bell that was sitting on Livingston’s desk. The two started thinking about the bells the Salvation Army would ring when trying to solicit donations during the holidays. The tinkling of the bells on the street corners and outside of stores evoked memories of the season for them, and they figured it would do the same for others. While that might be true, their initial title left quite a bit to be desired.
Rather than “Silver Bells”, they wanted to call the song “Tinkle Bells”. While it seemed like a good title to them, Livingston’s wife reminded him that tinkle had a double meaning, and a great Christmas song probably wouldn’t want to remind someone of going to the bathroom!
They chose “Silver Bells” and the rest is history. People today know and love the song, and during the holiday season, you really can’t go for more than a couple of hours without hearing some rendition of it. Instead of listening to the same old versions on the radio, take the time to learn to play it on your own. It’s a relatively simple song, you probably know the lyrics already, and it will be a real treat for your friends.
It does not matter where you are during the winter holidays, playing “Silver Bells” on your ukulele will bring a smile to everyone’s face. You can convey a tropical feel to any holiday party, or you can just strum along while you watch the snow falling outside your window.Return to Home Page
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