|Published||1948 by Mills Music|
"Sleigh Ride" performed instrumentally by the United States Navy Band in December 2012
"Sleigh Ride" is a light orchestra standard whose music was composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had formed the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946, and he finished the work in February 1948. The original recordings were instrumental versions. The lyrics, about riding in a sleigh and other fun wintertime activities, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950.
The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. "Sleigh Ride" was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become one of the orchestra's signature songs. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl. The Pops have also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor.
The Ronettes recorded a cover of "Sleigh Ride" in 1963 for Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You, which was commercially successful in the United States and featured in various media. American singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani recorded a cover in October 2020 for the reissued deluxe edition of her fourth studio album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas (2017).
The main melody of "Sleigh Ride" was used, but without crediting Anderson, as the main theme of Victor Young's score for the 1949 western Streets of Laredo. Mitchell Parish worked with Young at this approximate time, writing the lyrics for Young's version of Hoagy Carmichael's previously instrumental "Stardust." In 1950, The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal version of "Sleigh Ride," using the lyrics Parish had written.
Although "Sleigh Ride" is often associated with Christmas and appears on Christmas compilation albums, its lyrics do not mention any holidays. (Certain recordings, such as those by the Carpenters, Walter Schumann, and Air Supply, substitute "Christmas party" instead of "birthday party" in the song's bridge.) The song is noted for the sounds of a horse clip-clopping, and a whip used to get the horse moving. In most performances, a percussionist provides these sounds on temple blocks and a slapstick (or occasionally, drum rim shots), respectively. Toward the end of the piece, a trumpet imitates the sound of a horse whinnying.
According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) review of Christmas music, "Sleigh Ride" consistently ranks as one of the top 10 most-performed songs written by ASCAP members. ASCAP named "Sleigh Ride" the most popular piece of Christmas music in the U.S. in 2009–2012, based on performance data from over 2,500 radio stations. Anderson's recording remains the most popular instrumental version, while Johnny Mathis's has become the most popular vocal version.
In his book Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography [Praeger 2004], Steve Metcalf says "'Sleigh Ride' ... has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music."
"Sleigh Ride" is in seven-part rondo form. The first rondo episode utilizes an unusual, unprepared modulation to the mediant, then the supertonic.  has caused several recordings to alter the harmonies or omit this section altogether, as in Phil Spector's production of the Ronettes's version.
The Ronettes version
|Single by the Ronettes|
|from the album A Christmas Gift for You|
|Released||November 22, 1963|
"Sleigh Ride" was covered by the American girl group the Ronettes. The Phil Spector-produced recording has become the most popular version outside the traditional pop standard genre, charting yearly in Billboard's Top Ten U.S. Holiday 100 and was #26 in 2018 in the Hot 100. After achieving a new peak of #21 in 2020, it became the group's second-highest chart hit in the US after "Be My Baby". It features the well-known "Ring-a-ling-a-ling, ding-dong-ding" background vocals, and the clip-clop and whinny of a horse at its beginning and end. Both Bridge sections were omitted from this version, leaving only the refrains intact.
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||17|
|Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)||30|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||55|
|Global 200 (Billboard)||24|
|Hungary (Stream Top 40)||13|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||16|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||22|
|Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)||23|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||30|
|UK Singles (OCC)||33|
|US Billboard Hot 100||13|
|US Holiday 100 (Billboard)||10|
|US Rolling Stone Top 100||10|
Certifications and sales
|Denmark (IFPI Danmark)||Gold||45,000|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||400,000|
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
Gwen Stefani version
|Promotional single by Gwen Stefani|
|from the album You Make It Feel Like Christmas|
|Released||October 13, 2020|
Background and release
Stefani released her fourth studio album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas through Interscope Records, on October 6, 2017, a collection of six original songs and six cover versions of Christmas standards. The album was preceded by the release of lead single "You Make It Feel Like Christmas", a duet with her boyfriend, American singer Blake Shelton. According to Stefani, the album's initial release generated a positive response, allowing her to return to the studio with collaborators busbee and Justin Tranter. The following year, You Make It Feel Like Christmas was reissued with five new bonus tracks and a proper music video for the title track was released.
In 2019, Stefani duetted with Shelton again on "Nobody but You", a new track recorded for his compilation album, Fully Loaded: God's Country. The song was released as a single and distributed to US country radio outlets on January 21, 2020. It became a hit, topping Billboard's Country Airplay and Digital Songs charts and becoming Stefani's highest-charting effort on the Billboard Hot 100 since 2007. In late 2020, rumors of new solo music from Stefani circulated after it was announced she would be returning as a judge to the American television series The Voice. Stefani then confirmed plans to release new music during a promotional advertisement made for the show. Her cover of "Sleigh Ride" was announced as a surprise to her fans on October 12, 2020, the day before its scheduled release. It is expected to appear as the eighteenth track on an upcoming reissue of You Make It Feel Like Christmas, due for release later in 2020.
"Sleigh Ride" was produced by American musicians Brent Kutzle and Brandon Collins. It is the first track from You Make It Feel Like Christmas that was not produced by busbee or Eric Valentine; busbee had previously co-written all of the original songs on the parent album with Stefani and Tranter, but passed away in September 2019 after a battle with glioblastoma. Stefani's cover of "Sleigh Ride" credits Anderson and Parish as composers. The song was released to music retailers for digital download and streaming on October 13, 2020 through Interscope Records. A promotional audio video of the song was uploaded to Stefani's YouTube channel the same day of its release. It serves as first solo release since the rest of You Make It Feel Like Christmas. Alongside the release of "Sleigh Ride", Stefani teased that there was "more to come" the following week.
Stefani's version of "Sleigh Ride" has been described as a holiday-themed song with a "lushly"-arranged orchestra. American musician Ryan Tedder who, along with Kutzle, is a founding member of the band OneRepublic, contributes as a vocal producer of the song, and Stefani is accompanied by American singer Laura Cooksey for background vocals. The song uses various forms of instrumentation in its production, and was supported by orchestral arrangements; Kutzle and Grant Pittman play keyboards, Luke Sullivant performs on both acoustic guitar and electric guitar, Matt Melton plays bass, Paul Nelson plays the cello, Jon Hyrkas plays drums, and Collins is credited as the song's strings contractor. Violinists David Angell, David Davidson, and Betsy Lamb also perform, and Lamb additionally contributes to the track on viola.
Sophie Smith from the entertainment website uDiscover Music was positive about Stefani's cover, calling it a "cheery" and "festive" new track. A contributor to WSRW felt that Stefani got "in the holiday spirit" with her cover, but felt that it was released too early before the holiday season.
Credits and personnel
- Gwen Stefani – primary artist
- Brandon Collins – producer, strings contractor
- Brent Kutzle – producer, keyboards
- Leroy Anderson – composer
- Mitchell Parish – composer
- Ryan Tedder – vocal producer
- John Nathaniel – vocal producer, mixing
- Grant Pittman – engineer, keyboards
- Doug Sarrett – engineer
- Tyler Spry – engineer
- Mike Wilson – engineer
- Chris Gehringer – mastering engineer
- Laura Cooksey – background vocals
- Luke Sullivant – acoustic guitar, electric guitar
- Matt Melton – bass
- Paul Nelson – cello
- Jon Hyrkas – drums
- Betsy Lamb – viola, violin
- David Angell – violin
- David Davidson – violin
|US Holiday Digital Song Sales (Billboard)||6|
|Various||October 13, 2020||Interscope|||
This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2020)
- 1949 – Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. The original hit recording, this version has never been available on CD. Other Boston Pops recordings have been made under conductors Fiedler (1959, 1970, 1972, and 1976), John Williams (1991), and Keith Lockhart (1998, 2004, and 2011).
- 1950 – Leroy Anderson. The Decca Gold Label Series singles (#16000, both 45 and 78 rpm) referenced above were not issued as individual records, but were part of the four-disc set Leroy Anderson Conducts His Own Compositions. This version is played mostly during the holiday season, and has appeared in various compilations. Anderson re-recorded "Sleigh Ride" in stereo for the 1959 Decca LP Leroy Anderson Conducts Leroy Anderson.
- 1950 – The Andrews Sisters (first vocal version)
- 1958 – Johnny Mathis – Merry Christmas
- 1960 – Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas; this version was later featured in the 2003 film Elf.
- 1965 - The Ventures arranged an instrumental version of the song in the style of their hit recording of "Walk: Don't Run!" and made it, "Sleigh-ride" the leadoff track on their popular LP, "The Ventures Christmas Album". It was also released as a Ventures 45RPM record and was then, still is, a mainstay in seasonal radio music. Later, at least 2 other popular versions that are inspired by The Ventures have been recorded, by Los Straitjackets, and by Jon and The Nightriders.
- 1978 – The Carpenters – Christmas Portrait
- 1983 – Amy Grant – A Christmas Album
- 1993 – TLC recorded a version of the song for the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that was later included on the 1993 holiday album, A LaFace Family Christmas, featuring them and other artists signed to the LaFace Records label. Their version features a rap written and performed by Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes.
- 1996 – Spice Girls recorded a version of the song, which appeared as a B-side for 2 Become 1 and also feature on the 1998 film Jack Frost (1998 film) soundtrack.
- 2002 – S Club Juniors, the junior spin off of S Club 7, released their version as part of a double-a-side with their version of Paul Anka's "Puppy Love". Reaching #6 in December that year, it is still the only version of the song to have charted in the UK.
- 2012 - Sufjan Stevens released a version of the song as part of the ninth volume of the Silver & Gold Christmas boxset.
Mariah Carey version
|Song by Mariah Carey|
|from the album Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special (Apple TV+ Original Soundtrack)|
|Released||December 4, 2020|
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||25|
|US R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs (Billboard)||25|
Ella Fitzgerald version
Classical "Sleigh Ride" pieces
"Die Schlittenfahrt" ("Sleigh Ride") is also the popular name of one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Three German Dances. It is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Wolfgang's father, Leopold Mozart, whose own Divertimento in F major is popularly known as "Musical Sleigh Ride".
The "Troika" movement of Lieutenant Kijé by Sergei Prokofiev is also a musical sleigh ride, referring to a three-horse team drawing a carriage (troika means "group of three"). Christmas carol expert William Studwell wrote that Prokofiev's work was "even better" than "Sleigh Ride", having a more "exhilarating" style and imagery.
- Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliograph, Praeger 2004, chapter 2 – Works, pages 25–81.
- Christmas in New England, Commonwealth Editions 2006, pages 116–121
- Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography, Praeger 2004, chapter 2 – Works, pages 25–81.
- "ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs – "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting ...)" Tops List". Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- "ASCAP Members Reign Over Top Ten Most-Played Holiday Songs List". ASCAP. Archived from the original on 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Wieland, William. "Listen for Form Answer Key". Northern State University. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- "The Ronettes Sleigh Ride Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- "The Simpsons (TV Series) Holidays of Future Passed (2011) Soundtracks". IMDB. Archived from the original on 14 October 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
- "Holidays Of Future Passed Soundtrack". Tunefind. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
- "Australian-charts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
- "The Ronettes Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Top Singles (téléchargement + streaming)". Syndicat National de l'édition Phonographique. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "The Ronettes Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
- "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 52" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Mūzikas patēriņa tops gadu mijā" (in Latvian). LAIPA. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
- "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 31, 2018. Archived from the original on December 28, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Portuguesecharts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
- "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 52". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
- "Swisscharts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
- "The Ronettes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "Michael Buble Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 16, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 24, 2019. Archived from the original on December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
- "Danish single certifications". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved March 18, 2021. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2021 to obtain certification.
- "British single certifications – Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
- Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- Tenreyro, Tatiana (September 21, 2017). "Gwen Stefani Teases 'You Make It Feel Like Christmas' Album: Watch Preview". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- Atkinson, Katie; Caulfield, Keith (December 4, 2018). "Gwen Stefani Talks Deluxe Edition of 'You Make It Feel Like Christmas' & 'Magical' Art of Holiday Songwriting". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- Lenniger, Shea (October 26, 2018). "Gwen Stefani Releases Deluxe Edition of Her Christmas Album: Stream It Now". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 6, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- Myers, Justin (October 16, 2018). "Christmas albums released in 2018". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
- Stein, Megan (November 20, 2018). "Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani Just Released a Video for 'You Make It Feel Like Christmas'". Country Living. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- Whitaker, Sterling (October 23, 2019). "Blake Shelton Reveals Details for Upcoming Album, 'Fully Loaded: God's Country'". Taste of Country. Archived from the original on January 20, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- Stefano, Angela. "Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani Duet on New Single 'Nobody but You' [Listen]". The Boot. Archived from the original on December 14, 2019. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- Asker, Jim (April 28, 2020). "Blake Shelton Tops Country Airplay With Gwen Stefani Duet 'Nobody But You': 'I Connect With Every Lyric'". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
- "Blake Shelton Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 22, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
- "Gwen Stefani Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 5, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
- Kile, Meredith B. (October 8, 2020). "Blake Shelton Says It's 'Comforting' to Have Gwen Stefani Back on 'The Voice'". Entertainment Tonight. Archived from the original on October 13, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
- Dresdale, Andrea (October 19, 2020). "Gwen Stefani's back on 'The Voice,' armed with t-shirt cannon, new music & a peek at Kelly's new album". ABC News Radio. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Sleigh Ride" (Spotify digital single). Gwen Stefani. Interscope Records. 2020. Spotify URI: 5J41NKbYKuA0LD47G3If6H.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- You Make It Feel Like Christmas (CD liner notes). Gwen Stefani. Interscope Records. 2017. 02557-84801.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- Wood, Mikael (September 30, 2019). "Busbee, Grammy-nominated country and pop songwriter, dies at 43". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 8, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
- "Gwen Stefani – Sleigh Ride: Credits". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
- "Gwen Stefani – Sleigh Ride (Audio Video)". YouTube. October 13, 2020. Archived from the original on October 13, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
- Smith, Sophie (October 13, 2020). "Gwen Stefani Gets Festive with 'Sleigh Ride'". uDiscover Music. Archived from the original on October 14, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
- "Gwen Stefani Gets In The Holiday Spirit with 'Sleigh Ride'". WSRW. October 14, 2020. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
- "Gwen Stefani Chart History (Holiday Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
- "Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson: Complete reference". Leroyanderson.com. Woodbury Music Company LLC 06798. Archived from the original on 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
[1.] Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler, 1949, Naxos 8120649 [2.]Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler, 1959, RCA 144665, RCA 61237, RCA 61685 [3.]Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler, 1976, DG 419414 [4.]Boston Pops Orchestra, John Williams, 1992, Sony 48232 [5.]Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart, 2004, Boston Pops Recordings 2 .Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart, 2011, BSO Classics1305
- "Sleigh Ride Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler". Prestomusic.com. Presto Classical Limited. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
Fiedler and his Boston Pops Orchestra... made several recordings for Polydor / Deutsche Grammophon... [Among them was:] Anderson['s] Sleigh Ride, Recorded: 1970-02 Recording Venue: Symphony Hall, Boston
- "Holiday Pops". Prestomusic.com. Presto Classical Limited. Archived from the original on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
Anderson, Leroy: Sleigh Ride: Keith Lockhart, John Oliver, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston Pops Orchestra... Release Date: 29th Sep 1998.
- Stevens, Sufjan. "Sufjan Stevens, "Sleigh Ride" [Track 4/9, Vol. 9]". YouTube. Asthmatic Kitty Records. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- Hermelin, C.D. "The 10 Best Versions of the Song 'Sleigh Ride'". Vulture. Vox Media. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
- "Mariah Carey Chart History (R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Portuguesecharts.com – Ella Fitzgerald – Sleigh Ride". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
- Studwell, William (1995). The Christmas Carol Reader. Psychology Press. p. 131. ISBN 9781560249740. Archived from the original on 2020-10-14. Retrieved 2018-10-18.