Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleigh Ride/The Glenn Miller Orchestra

from youtube
It's been 65 years since the immortal Glenn Miller disappeared just before Christmas on December 15, 1944. His Orchestra, in the too-short run under his personal leadership, had recorded only one Christmas song, ("Jingle Bells," October 20, 1941). Dedicated fans around the world are certain that, had he lived through World War II, he would have recorded a complete album of the best-loved music of the holiday season.
In the 1980s, Richard Wilhoyte, one of the horde of Glenn Miller buffs around the world, heard about the idea of members of the Miller Orchestra recording an album of Christmas songs, His instant reaction: "Let's do itnow!" So the combination of Wilhoyte, Richy Barz, Dale Thompson and John La Barbera came together and took hold. A list of desirable players was drawn up musicians had to be working currently, had to be alumni of the Glenn Miller band, had to have recognized and outstanding talent, had to be able to take a leave-of-absence fro their current "gig," and had to be available to come to New York to record.
In The Christmas Mood was the resulting album from those sessions65 minutes of musical memories, of good cheer, of the most enduring "sound" of the Swing Era Big Bands arranged and performed by alumni of The Glenn Miller Orchestra.
"Sleigh Ride" is a popular light orchestral piece, composed by Leroy Anderson, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter's day with another person. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. It was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra. The song was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl.
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 except certain "Sleigh Ride" versions (the Carpenters and Air Supply being examples).

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