Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)

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"Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)"
Single by the Browns
from the album Town & Country
B-side"Blue Bells Ring"
Released1959 (1959)
LabelRCA Victor
Composer(s)Evelyn Danzig
Lyricist(s)Jack Segal
Producer(s)Chet Atkins
The Browns singles chronology
"The Three Bells"
"Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)"
"The Old Lamplighter"

"Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)" is a popular song. The music was written by Evelyn Danzig and the lyrics by Jack Segal. The song has become a standard with many recorded versions and has appeared on several Christmas albums.

Background and lyrics[edit]

"Scarlet Ribbons" was written in only 15 minutes in 1949 at Danzig's home in Port Washington, New York after she invited lyricist Segal to hear her music.[1] The song tells a miraculous tale: a father hears his small daughter pray before she goes to bed for "scarlet ribbons for her hair". It is late, no stores are open in their town, nor is there anywhere the dad can obtain the ribbons so he is distraught throughout the night. At dawn he again peeps in and is amazed to see beautiful "scarlet ribbons" in "gay profusion lying there." He says that if he lives to be a hundred, he will never know from where the ribbons came.[2]


Jo Stafford[edit]

"Scarlet Ribbons" was first released by Jo Stafford in 1949. In January 1950, Stafford's version reached No. 14 on Billboard's chart of "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys".[3]

Harry Belafonte[edit]

In 1952 Harry Belafonte, at his third session for RCA Records, covered the song with an arrangement using his guitarist Millard Thomas and male vocal group. The four-year-old recording finally became a success in 1956[4] after it appeared on his second album, which reached No. 1 on Billboard's album chart for six weeks and stayed on the chart for over a year. The song reached No. 18 on the UK's New Musical Express chart in late 1957.[5]

The Browns[edit]

In 1959, the Browns released what would become the most successful version of "Scarlet Ribbons" in the US. The Browns' version spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 13 on January 2, 1960,[6] while reaching No. 7 on Billboard's Hot C&W Sides.[7]

Cliff Richard[edit]

In 1991, Cliff Richard released the song on his Christmas album Together with Cliff Richard, and as a single. The song reached No. 19 on the New Zealand Singles Chart and No. 51 in Germany.[8]


  1. ^ Oliver, Myrna (2005-02-18). "Jack Segal, 86; song lyricist - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  2. ^ Rufo, Tony. (2006) The Complete Book of Pop Music Wit & Wisdom, Tyndale House Publishers. pp. 68-69. Accessed September 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys", Billboard, January 28, 1950. p. 24. Accessed September 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Vosburgh, Dick (1996-08-08). "Obituary:Evelyn Danzig - People - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  5. ^ "Official Charts Artist: Harry Belafonte". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  6. ^ The Browns - Chart History - The Hot 100, Accessed September 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Billboard Hot C&W Sides", Billboard, January 11, 1960. p. 48. Accessed September 25, 2016.
  8. ^ Cliff Richard - Scarlet Ribbons, Accessed September 25, 2016.