As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

A Christmas Song is Born 4: Sleigh Ride

Today we look into the birth story of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”.


Creators of Sleigh Ride:

Sleigh Ride Instrumental piece composed by—
Leroy Anderson (June 29, 1908 – May 18, 1975)

  • son of Swedish immigrants, Leroy grew up in a musical family. His father, who worked for the U.S. Postal service, played both mandolin and banjo, while his mother, who was a church organist, gave Leroy his first piano lessons.
  • received his B.A (magna cum laude) and M.A. in music from Harvard University
  • was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler
  • his best-known work is undoubtedly Sleigh Ride, but also well- known are The Syncopated Clock (theme for CBS New York’s The Late Show for over 25 years), The Typewriter, and Blue Tango. Mitchell Parish added lyrics to seven of his popular pieces; Belle of the Ball, Blue Tango, Forgotten Dreams, Serenata, Sleigh Ride, The Syncopated Clock and The Waltzing Cat
  • John Williams described him as “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music.” –
  • Leroy described his music as “concert music with a pop quality.”

Read more on Wiki , songwritershalloffame and britannica


Leroy Anderson
Swedish-American conductor, arranger, and composer of “Sleigh Ride,” “Blue Tango,” and other popular light orchestral music with memorable, optimistic melodies and often unusual percussion effects.
Image source

 Sleigh Ride Lyrics written by-
Mitchell Parish (July 10, 1900 – March 31, 1993)

  •  was an American lyricist
  • born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky to a Jewish family in Lithuania. His family emigrated to the United States, arriving on February 3, 1901 on the SS Dresden when he was less than a year old.
  • his best-known works include the lyrics to songs such as Star Dust, Sweet Lorraine, Deep Purple, Stars Fell on Alabama, Sophisticated Lady, Volare (English lyrics), Moonlight Serenade, Mr. Ghost Goes to Town, One Morning in May, and Louisiana Fairy Tale, which was the first theme song used in the PBS Production of This Old House

Mitchell Parish
 Lithuanian-born American lyricist celebrated for the numerous popular and Broadway tunes he wrote during his long life
Image source


The story of  Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”
All Info from leroyandersonfoundation and wikipedia

  • Leroy Anderson and his wife Eleanor first came to Woodbury, Connecticut in 1946 to spend the summer in a cottage on Painter Hill Road. The cottage was on land owned by Eleanor’s mother and her two sisters who planned to retire there. During a July heat wave and drought, Leroy was digging trenches to try to find some old pipes coming from a spring. He began composing several tunes, including Sleigh Ride, in which he envisioned as a musical depiction of the winter season long ago.
  •  “Sleigh Ride” is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson
  • The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948.
  • Though Sleigh Ride was originally an instrumental piece, lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950.
  • The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
  • According to Leroy’s widow Eleanor Anderson, “Leroy didn’t set out to write a Christmas piece when he wrote ‘Sleigh Ride.’ His intentions were to convey the entire winter season through the imagery of a sleigh ride, much in the way that Mozart did with his piece of the same name.”
  • Although “Sleigh Ride” is often associated with Christmas, and often appears on Christmas compilation albums, the song’s lyrics never specifically mention any holiday or religion (apart from certain recordings, such as those by the Carpenters, Walter Schumann and Air Supply, that substitute “Christmas party” for “birthday party” in the song’s bridge). In fact, the mention of “pumpkin pie” in the last verse might suggest an association with Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.Read more on wiki
  • According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP] review of Christmas music, “Sleigh Ride” consistently ranks in the top 10 list of most performed songs written by ASCAP members during the Christmas season worldwide. Read more on wiki
  • According to author Steve Metcalf, in his book, Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography, “‘Sleigh Ride’ … has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music.”

For more info about the great Leroy Anderson please visit:

3292.200 naxos leroy anderson ocard 6.indd

Sleigh Ride album of Leroy Anderson
Image source

Sleigh Ride recorded by  the Boston Pops Orchestra

Sleigh Ride, version by Ella Fitzgerald

Sleigh Ride, Disney sing-along


rx-logo-11So do… take inspiration from Leroy Anderson’s creation of Sleigh Ride—when things start getting to you (be it the weather or other troubles), don’t be blue – let your imagination roam free. An idea, a solution may just present itself.


One comment on “A Christmas Song is Born 4: Sleigh Ride

  1. The Anderson Family
    January 7, 2015

    The information about Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” was copied from the website; http://www.leroyandersonfoundation.org. Also see http://www.leroyanderson.com.

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2014 by in Communicate and tagged , , .
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