JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS

Jingle bellsTerryn Hardy

One of the most well known Christmas carols, Jingle Bells, was written and composed by James Lord Pierpont. Pierpont was born in 1822. He was a church music director. Pierpont was the uncle to famous businessman JP Morgan.

Living during the civil war Pierpont’s family was divided. With his brother and father supporting the ideals of the North, Pierpont became a supporter of the confederacy. He enlisted in the 1st Georgia Cavalry. While serving in the Confederate Army, Pierpont wrote anthems to support the confederacy.

When first printed Jingle Bells was first published under the title One Horse Open Sleigh in 1857. Two years later in 1859, it appeared with the more   

    familiar title Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells was never intended to be a Christmas song. In the lyrics no mentions are made to Christmas or any other holiday. In the other verses which are sung less often, talk of drag racing on snow leading to a high-speed crash and how to pick up girls.

In 1965, Jingle Bells became the first song to be broadcast from space. On December 16, 1965, the crew aboard the Gemini 6 reported to mission control “We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, up in a polar orbit. He’s in a very low trajectory traveling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio. It looks like it might even be a … Very low. Looks like he might be going to reenter soon. Stand by one … You might just let me try to pick up that thing.” After the report “Wally” Schirra on harmonica and Tom Stafford playing a handful of sleigh bells, Jingle Bells as it became the first song broadcast from space.

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