Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

JINGLE BELLS in the History of Space and in Illustrated Song

Posted on: March 4, 2011

I love that “Jingle Bells” is a WINTER song.  Lots of Christmas albums include a rendition of “Jingle Bells,” but this is a joyous song anybody and everybody can enjoy.

Being a busy mom, and magazine lover, I save up my favorite unread magazines figuring that I’ll get to them sometime or other.  Smithsonian Magazine is one of my favorites and I just discovered the September 2007 edition patiently waiting in a basket.  It is filled with delights, but the smallest entry caught my eye:  about Jingle Bell’s 150 year anniversary entitled “Dashing Ditty.”  The small item says that the song was first published in 1857 (under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”) and can claim over 1,500 recordings.

An interesting historical account of the song including biographical information about the songwriter James Pierpont, here:
http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/jinglebellssong.htm

Smithsonian Magazine maintains a terrific website with archived editions online.  I went looking for “Dashing Ditty” and didn’t find it.  But a search for “Jingle Bells” revealed a terrific article about the Gemini 6 space mission in December 1965 when, just before coming back to earth, Walter M. “Wally” Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford said the saw a space module piloted by a man wearing a red suit and followed that up with a rendition of “Jingle Bells” complete with harmonica and homemade jingles which they’d stowed at personal items for the trip.  The items are on display at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum:


Read the article here:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Christmas_Cards.html

This Wikipedia article tells the story as well, including pictures and information about the whole Gemini mission:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_6A

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JINGLE BELLS SONG HISTORY ONLINE

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Wikipedia article, about “Jingle Bells” which also includes pictures and relates the story of “Jingle Bells” as the first song sung in space:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jingle_Bells

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The story of Jingle Bells
http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/jinglebellssong.htm

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JINGLE BELLS FOR SBWE AND LIMBERJACK HORSE
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Jingle Bells 4 SBWE limberjack
JINGLE BELLS (for SBWE and Limberjack)
Song by James Pierpont
Arranged by ELEG for SBWE and Limberjack Horse
To view or print this sheet, click here:
Jingle Bells 4 SBWE limberjack

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Note to self:
Ooooo on G
Jingle chorus begin on E
Verses begin on low G

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JINGLE BELLS in Illustrated Song
These would be versions that use some combination of the original lyrics

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jingle bells susan jeffers.jpg
Jingle Bells
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers

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Jingle Bells SBWE w chords Jeffers

Jingle Bells (w chords for SBWE 1)
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Chords and Arrangement by ELEG for SBWE
Intended to Fit Rendition Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
To view or print this page, click here:
Jingle Bells SBWE w chords Jeffers

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Jingle Bells, A Pop-up Holiday Song

Traditional Tune
Poem excerpt by James Lord Pierpont
Illustrated by Eren Blanquet Unten

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Jingle Bells (Spin Me A Storybook)

Traditional Words and Tune
Published by Playmore Inc. (Hackensack, NJ)
ISBN 1-59060-592-6

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This version uses the lyrics from the song, but but also has a story added

Jingle Bells (Golden Book)
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Text by Kathleen N. Daly
Illustrated by J.P. Miller


Jingle Bells (Sing and Read Storybook)
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Illustrated by Darcy May

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Jingle Bells
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Illustrated by Michael Hague

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JINGLE BELLS is also included in many anthologies of Children’s Poetry.

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JINGLE BELLS in Illustrated Adaptations
These are versions that use the tune (and general idea) but change the lyrics

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In Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani, the sleigh takes you around the world to experience how people in different cultures celebrate Christmas. A terrific opportunity to get out a map and locate these places on the globe.

Jingle Bells

Traditional Tune
Words Adapted by Iza Trapani
Illustrated by Iza Trapani

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jingle bell mice mccue
Jingle Bell Mice
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Illustrated by Lisa McCue

**********************

“Jingle Bells” is also included in many anthologies of Children’s Poetry.

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JINGLE BELLS LYRICS
(as complete a set of lyrics as I have found so far)

Jingle Bells
By James Pierpont

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh,what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’re the hills we go
Laughing all the way
The bells on bobtail ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh,what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And we got upsot (upsot?)

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh,what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell
A gent was riding by
In a one horse open sleigh
He laughed as there I sprawling lie
But quickly drove away

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh,what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls tonight
and sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bobtailed bay
Two forty for his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack! you’ll take the lead

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh,what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

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Some fun sing-along videos:

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeNJmOsBS94

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU9d79ho6dE

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgNSX5YzDSs
(I have always loved Barbra Streisand’s version)

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a2u3b6-aak

**********************
I adore Andy William’s singing Kay Thompson’s fabulous Christmasy arrangement for “Jingle Bells”

**********************

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Artist Nour Tohme created a DRAW ME A SONG poster:

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Jingle Bells (Draw Me a Song)
Draw Me a Song (Singable Posters)
Traditional Tune
Poem excerpt by James Lord Pierpont
Illustrated by Nour Tohme

**********************
Addendum 12/2/2012

A page for the Sing Books with Emily SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR

Jingle Bells,” what fun is is to sing a sleighing song tonight…

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SBWE Advent Calendar Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
To view or print this SBWE Singable Advent Calendar page for “Jingle Bells,” click here:
SBWE Advent Calendar Jingle Bells

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Addendum 12/17/2013

JINGLE BELLS is the perfect song to incorporate the LIMBERJACK rhythm instrument.  Jingle bells around the wrist add extra flavor.

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Getting started, sit on the board and put jingle bells in wrist…
2013 12 sbwe jingle bells

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Dashing through the snow…
2013 12 sbwe limberjack1

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A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride…
2013 12 sbwe limberjack2

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The horse was lean and lank…(he says “Thank you!”)
2013 12 sbwe limberjack3

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Oh, What fun it is to ride in a one…horse…o…pen…SLEIGH!
2013 12 limberjack4
Jingle Bells Sung with Limberjack Horse
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional Tune

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Addendum, 8/18/2015

jingle bells LGB nursery songs malvern - Copy
Jingle Bells (by Corinne Malvern)
Music and Lyrics by PIerpont
Music Arranged by Leah Gale
Illustrated by Corinne Malvern
From: LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK NURSERY SONGS (1942, Original Corinne Malvern Cover)

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Addendum, 11/28/2017

I’m still waiting for someone to illustrate ALL (or even more) of Pierpont’s JINGLE BELLS lyrics in a picture book rendition.  But while I’m waiting, this illustration by Susan Jeffers is a beautiful delight.  It’s got a little surprise at the end, so I have drawn up a simple guitar arrangement to play and sing it.  I think it would be fun to sing this version with the guitar and then pick up the limberjack horse to sing it again, with the extra verses.

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jingle bells susan jeffers.jpg
Jingle Bells
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers

*

Jingle Bells SBWE w chords Jeffers

Jingle Bells (w chords for SBWE 1)
Poem by James Lord Pierpont
Traditional  Tune
Chords and Arrangement by ELEG for SBWE
Intended to Fit Rendition Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
To view or print this page, click here:
Jingle Bells SBWE w chords Jeffers

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Publisher HarperCollins’ webpage for this book:
https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062360205/jingle-bells#

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Addendum, 11/29/2017

I think Ella Fitzgerald’s is my favorite recording of Jingle Bells.  Her Christmas Album, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, is one of the best of the best.  Someone put the whole album on YouTube, HERE.

 

 

I recently made a song sheet with (SIMPLE!, since that’s what I can play) guitar chords to fit (and to accompany myself while singing with kids) a new (and really pretty) illustration of Jingle Bells (illustrated by Susan Jeffers).

No illustration that I know of, though, illustrates ALL the lyrics that Pierpont wrote for his poem. And, for example, I LOVE the seldom sung verse that Ella Fitzgerald sings in her recording of Jingle Bells for Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, (one of my very favorite Christmas records).

So, I set out to find the full set of lyrics and fit to them the set of (SIMPLE) guitar chords I assembled. The attached Sing Books blog post has the results. There are two (free, printable) PDFs in it. One with guitar chords and one with just the words. I drew the title header so that kids could color and decorate them like a coloring page.

The less seldom sung verses of Pierpont’s poem are a lot of fun, with wonderful (as my friend and mentor Judy Simmons would say) CHEWY words in them (like CRACK and SPRAWLING). I highly suggest enjoying the whole kit and kaboodle.

 

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Jingle Bells for SBWE w chords complete
Jingle Bells (for SBWE w chords, complete poem)
Poem by James Pierpont
Traditional Tune
Guitar Chords Assembled by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
Jingle Bells for SBWE w chords complete

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Jingle Bells for SBWE no chords complete
Jingle Bells (for SBWE no chords, complete poem)
Poem by James Pierpont
Traditional Tune
Guitar Chords Assembled by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
Jingle Bells for SBWE no chords complete

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Addendum, 4/18/2018

This school year, I was very lucky to receive a teacher’s grant from the Tuckahoe Elementary School PTA.  With part of that I purchased jingle sticks so kids could help me jingle along while we sing JINGLE BELLS.
jingle stick
Jingle Sticks

I’ve had some experience with different kinds of jingle sticks and these are excellent.  About 10″ long and with 21 bells, they aren’t to big or too small and have an excellent hardy sleighbell sounding jingle.  I have put these jingle sticks to use with songs like JINGLE BELLS, WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, and OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOOD.  I ask for volunteers and kids jingle away while we sing the songs.

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Related Posts

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JINGLE BELLS, IN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/jingle-bells-in-the-history-of-space-and-singable-picture-books/\

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A 2017/2018 School Year Tuckahoe Elementary School PTA Teacher’s Grant (and what I got with it)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/a-tuckahoe-elementary-school-pta-teachers-grant-and-what-i-got-with-it/

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POETRY SINGABLE POETRY IN COMPILATIONS

An list of  singable poems from compilations of poetry for children
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/singable-poetry-a-list-of-poems-that-can-be-sung-from-illustrated-compilations-of-poetry-and-singable-picture-books/

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POETRY, SINGABLE POETRY IN INDIVIDUALLY ILLUSTRATED SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
A list of individually illustrated poems that have been set to music and can be sung
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/poems-individually-illustrated-spb/

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WINTER

Singable Picture Books for Winter
Some of these are sung at Christmastime, but this is a list of songs about Winter that you can sing all season long!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/singable-picture-books-for-winter/

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SING BOOKS WITH EMILY SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/the-sing-books-with-emily-singable-advent-calendar/

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CHRISTMAS

A Collection of Singable Picture Books that celebrate CHRISTMAS!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/singable-picture-books-for-christmas/

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DRAW ME A SONG, SINGABLE POSTERS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/draw-me-a-song-singable-posters/

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JINGLE ‘BOT, NEW WORDS TO AN OLD TUNE BY ELEG

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/jinlge-bot-new-words-by-eleg/

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LIMBERJACK RHYTHM INSTRUMENT
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/limberjack-rhythm-instrument/

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Jingle Bells with Jingle Bells and Limberjack (12/17/2013)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/jingle-bells-with-jingle-bells-and-limberjack/

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JINGLE BELL MICE, A CUTE ADDITION TO THE COLLECTION
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/jinlge-bell-mice-a-cute-addition-to-the-collection/

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A funny picture for Jingle Bells
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/a-funny-picture-for-jingle-bells/

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GEOGRAPHY SONGS IN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/geography-songs-in-singable-picture-books/

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JINGLE BELLS FOR SBWE & LIMBERJACK
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/jingle-bells-for-sbwe-and-limberjack/

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LIMBERJACK SONGS FOR SBWE
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/limberjack-songs-for-sing-books-with-emily/

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Jingle Bells, a Song Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/jingle-bells-a-song-illustrated-by-susan-jeffers/

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Jingle Bells for SBWE, the whole kit and kaboodle
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/jingle-bells-the-whole-kit-and-kaboodle/

2 Responses to "JINGLE BELLS in the History of Space and in Illustrated Song"

Pierpont wrote four verses in his original Jingle Bells song. Looking at your songsheet, I see that you’ve only got the first two verses, but not the last two.

The third verse goes:

A day or two ago, the story I must tell
I went out on the snow, and on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by, in a one-horse open sleigh,
He laughed as there I sprawling lie, but quickly drove away.

The fourth verse goes:

Now the ground is white, go it while you’re young,
Take the girls tonight and sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bob tail bay two forty for his speed .
Then hitch him to an open sleigh and crack, you’ll take the lead.

I know that there may not be enough stamina to sing all four verses in one go, but it would be good if I could let you know that they exist

Hello, thank you for visiting Sing Books.
Yes, I know the other verses. I embedded a wiki article that tells the whole history of the song and includes all Pierpont verses. I’m not a fan of the 3rd, but love the 4th (which Ella Fitzgerald uses in her wonderful version). But an artist has to make choices. Kids love this song, but adding another verse would make it too long. I had many great teachers at the Yale Cabaret Conference where I was lucky to be a fellow in 2003, and one of them said (I might be paraphrasing a little), “…all songs are too long.” As a performing artist, a vocalist, I’m acutely aware of the messages every song (and my purposes in it) conveys. JINGLE BELLS is pure winter fun and nostalgia. I sing it a capella and with a limberjack that is in the form of a horse and I wrap jungle bells around its neck. With the two verses and choruses, adding anything else would be too much.

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