Album:The Best Of Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride
Though today Sleigh Ride is a Christmas perennial, it might surprise you that it was a hit single in 1949. Leroy Anderson was a composer and arranger who specialized in using sound effects in his music and scored some hit singles in the 50s. He wrote Sleigh Ride as a member of The Boston Pops Orchestra. He was born June 29, 1908 in Cambridge, MA. His mom was a church organist and she taught him to play piano. Anderson studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and Harvard. He first worked with Boston Pops Orchestra leader Arthur Fiedler in the 30s and Anderson wrote the songs Jazz Pizzicato and Jazz Legato. In WWII, Anderson was a translator for US Counter Intelligence. He spoke several languages. They even offered him a job in The Pentagon after the war. But Anderson returned to the Boston Pops and wrote hits like The Syncopated Clock and Sleigh Ride. Sleigh Ride started out as an instrumental and the words were written later by Mitchell Parish. Anderson wrote Sleigh Ride during a heat wave and it wasn't intended to be a Christmas song. But it has those sound effects that Anderson liked using. It was a hit single when Arthur Firdler and the Boston Pops recorded it in 1949 and again when Anderson recorded his own version in 1950. Today it's one of the best loved Christmas songs. Anderson signed with Decca and scored a few hits like Blue Tango in 1951, A Christmas Festival in 1952 and the Typewriter in 1953. You can get all his hits on this comp. Anderson won two Tony Awards for his 1958 musical Goldilocks. But the show wasn't a hit and he returned to the Boston Pops in the early 60s and remained there until his death on May 18, 1975 at age 66. Leroy Anderson was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988. Here's a video of Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson.