Christmas songs: Silver Bells

Silver Bells is a popular Christmas song written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Silver Bells was first performed by Bob Hop and Marilyn Maxwell for the movie The Lemon Drop Kid in the summer of 1950.  The film was released in March 1951.

Bing Crosby and Carol Richards recorded the song which was released in October 1950.

Silver Bells started out as Tinkle Bells.   Said Ray Evans, “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.”

The writers provide conflicting reports for the inspiration of the song.  Livingston told an interviewer it came from the sidewalk “Santa Clauses and Salvation Army solicitors on New York City street corners.”  While Evans told a reporter that “the song was inspired by a bell that sat on an office desk shared by Livingston and himself.”

The duo went on to write other Academy Award winning hits Que Sera, Sera {Whatever Will Be, Will Be} and Mona Lisa.

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