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"Silver Bells" was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951. The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.
"Silver Bells" started out as the questionable "Tinkle Bells." Said 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 child's slang for urination.
This song was inspired by a tiny bell Livingston and Evans had on their work desk.