“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 heatwave 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 has 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).
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