“Jingle Bells” is one of the best-known and commonly sung American songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. It has been claimed that it was originally written to be sung by a Sunday school choir, or as a drinking song. Although it has no original connection to Christmas, it became associated with Christmas music and the holiday season in general decades after it was first performed by blackface minstrel performer Johnny Pell in Ordway Hall on September 16, 1857. Some area choirs adopted it as part of their repertoire in the 1860s and 1870s, and it was featured in a variety of parlor song and college anthologies in the 1880s. It was first recorded in 1889 on an Edison cylinder; this recording, believed to be the first Christmas record, is lost, but an 1898 recording also from Edison Records survives.
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