When a group of elementary school teachers in Ottawa, Ontario decided to change the lyrics to “Silver Bells” for a sing-a-long concert some parents grew downright furious. According to a report from CBC News they were planning to replace the phrase “Christmas day” with “a festive day” until the parents voiced concern.
I really don’t see what all the fuss is about and frankly I don’t think Ray Evans, who wrote the lyrics, would have cared for this either. Though Ray Evans joined his writing partner Jay Livingston in the great beyond earlier this year we still have access to this telling feature, produced by NPR back in 2005, all about Evans and his role in the origin of "Silver Bells."
The song debuted in 1951 in this scene from a Bob Hope holiday film entitled The Lemon Drop Kid.
Bing Crosby recorded a version for radio-play shortly thereafter and a long list of entertainers followed suit. The song has since been recorded and performed countless times. It has sold over 500 million copies and it has undergone almost as many re-arrangements and re-interpretations.
So I find it hard to imagine why anyone would take offense if the school kids had performed their modified version. Alas, in the end, they decided to drop the song from their program altogether.
In lieu of their performance I plundered my own collection of Christmas albums for different versions of the song and then spent yesterday afternoon browsing the Salvation Army record bins before enlisting the aid of Conor, young nephew to my neighbor Alice. He managed to find digital copies of some of my old favorites plus a few additions of his own and many more that neither of us had ever heard before.
This morning we pared our collection down and arranged for you this rather eclectic playlist.
Merry Christmas from Nelson & Nelson Antiques!
Silver Bells by The Ventures:
Silver Bells by The Heritage Hall Jazz Band:
Silver Bells by Twisted Sister:
Silver Bells by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band:
Silver Bells by Jacob Miller: