The Bells of St. Mary's (song)

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"The Bells of St. Mary's" is a 1917 popular song. The music was written by A. Emmett Adams, the lyrics[1] by Douglas Furber, following a visit to St. Mary's Church, Southampton, England.[2]

The song was revived in 1945, in the film of the same name, by Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.

Christmas connection[edit]

Due to the inclusion in the 1945 film of a scene featuring a Christmas pageant, both the film and the song have come to be associated with the Christmas season, although the song has no direct lyrical connection with the holiday (and, indeed, refers to the "red leaves" of autumn in the chorus). The Drifters recorded the song as the B-side of their 1954 "White Christmas" single, and several other artists have included it on Christmas albums; examples include Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans (A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, 1963); Andy Williams (Merry Christmas, 1965); Aaron Neville (Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas, 1993); and Sheryl Crow (Home for Christmas, 2008).

In popular culture[edit]

The song appears in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. In a skit called "Musical Mice", Ken Ewing (Terry Jones) claims to have trained mice to squeal at the specific pitches necessary to play the song (as he demonstrates with debatable success).[3]

The Drifters' version is featured in the 1990 movie Goodfellas, in the Christmas Eve scene with Henry Hill and family, and the following scene where Stacks (Samuel L. Jackson) is shot dead by Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci).

This song is also associated with Saint Mary's College (Indiana), Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and Saint Mary's College of California.

A version of this song is the anthem of State University of New York Maritime College, whose first training ship was the USS St. Mary's.

Recorded versions[edit]


  1. ^ Song lyric
  2. ^ Hooper, Brian; Henry, Jeff. "The Bells Of St Mary's". Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "A man with two noses / Musical Mice". Monty Python's Flying Circus Episode 2 Partial Script. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  4. ^ "The Bells of St. Mary's". By Request, A Perry Como Discography. Retrieved 2007-05-15.