REReader (rereader) wrote,

A big storm system has dumped ice and snow over a big chunk of the country...

...but here in New York City, although it is in fact snowing, we're just getting a pretty dusting. So, let's go on a little

"Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish, sung by The Ronettes:

Video from PhilSpectorVEVO

That's a 1963 recording, and a classic, but if you prefer something a little more contemporary, here's "Sleigh Ride" sung by Pentatonix (which also has the advantage of including the two verses--almost everyone else leaves them out):

Video from PTXofficial

Leroy Anderson composed "Sleigh Ride" as an orchestral piece first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops:

Video posted by luckysmusic

However, when the Boston Pops recording became a hit, Anderson got Mitchell Parish, who had already written lyrics for a number of Anderson's compositions, to fit lyrics to the melody. It's not the easiest thing in the world to fit lyrics to a melody that is already fixed in people's heads. As Leroy Anderson said, usually the lyricist gets to choose the title:

But here, he was stuck with the title, he had the title already, and that was not only the subject, but he had to get the word "Sleigh Ride" in somewhere, he had to fit that word in and he had to build the lyrics around it. And this takes a very skilled writer, a very skilled lyricist.


And although Leroy Anderson was not Jewish, Mitchell Parish was. Born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky in Lithuania, Parish was a mainstay of Tin Pan Alley. As did so many others, he began as a song plugger, trying to sell a publisher's songs to vaudeville acts. Over the years he wrote the lyrics for over 600 songs with at least a hundred different composers, many of which became standards, including "Star Dust" with Hoagy Carmichael, "Sophisticated Lady" with Duke Ellington, and "Moonlight Serenade" with Glenn Miller. Parish was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.

Comments welcome! Please leave them at my new blog. :)
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