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Fun Facts About Jingle Bell Rock

Love it or hate, you can’t escape it. Every year at Christmas time, you’re going to hear “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms. It is unquestionably the most popular of all the rock-inspired holiday flavorings.

Here are some fun facts about this timeless little ditty:

The song was NOT written by Helms. It was actually composed by two marketing guys - Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe. They were not young guys either. Beal was in his 50s and Boothe was 40.

Helms has recorded the song on multiple occasions. The original was released on Decca Records in 1957. But Bobby also re-recorded other versions for Kapp, Little Darlin’, Certron, Gusto, Ashley Records and Black Rose Records.

The song has hit the Billboard Hot 100 many times, the most recent was 2016 when it reached #26.

Despite its title, the song has actually been just as popular on country stations. In 1957, it actually received its first airplay on country stations before crossing over to the Top 40 stations. It has also hit the country charts with versions by George Strait, Aaron Tippin, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert.

The most successful cover by a rock artist was Hall & Oates whose version hit #30 in 2005.

We guess once the Jingle Hop had begun, it just never ended!

They’re Good-Bad, But They’re Not Evil

The True Story of the Shangri Las

The early sixties saw the rise of what are now called “the girl groups.” These were usually trios or quartets of female singers, usually working in a R&B vein. The Shirelles are perhaps the prototype, but they were joined by groups like the Blossoms, the Crystals and the Ronettes.

But there was one girl group whose public image was a little more dangerous. They were the Shangri Las.

The girls were all students at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens when they started performing together at school dances and other functions. The act consisted of two pairs of sisters: Mary & Betty Weiss and Margie & Mary Ann Ganser (who were identical twins).

The girls caught the attention of recording entrepreneur Artie Ripp who signed them to the fledgling Kama Sutra label. It was only after being signed that the girls decided to name themselves the Shangri Las (reportedly after their favorite Queens restaurant). There first few recording sessions produced nothing memorable and their first attempt at a single was a flop.

At this point a gentleman named Shadow Morton enters the picture. Morton has once been the boyfriend of Ellie Greenwich, who by 1964, had become a hit songwriter with her new boyfriend, Jeff Barry. When Morton dropped in to Barry & Greenwich’s office on day, a rivalry between Barry and Morton was created in an instant. Morton told Barry that he, too, was a songwriter. Barry called his bluff and asked him to come back in a week with a song.

Read more: They’re Good-Bad, But They’re Not Evil

5 Fun Facts About the Rolling Stones

  1. The drummer at their very first gig was Mick Avory, who went on to become the drummer for the Kinks.
  1. Mick Jagger studied to become a ballet dancer.
  1. Bill Wyman was only invited to join the band because he owned an amplifier.
  1. The Stones played in front 1.5 million people at Rio De Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach in 2006, making it the largest rock concert ever.
  1. Mick Jagger contributed backing vocals and Brian Jones played the oboe on the Beatles song “Baby, You’re a Rich Man.” Paul & John returned the favor, singing back-up on the Stones’ “We Love You.”

Now It Can Be Told!

Sadly, still waiting for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...

 

Somebdy want to card that kid on the left. I don't think he's ol enough to be in the nightclub.

Marty Balin (1942-2018)

Marty Balin’s influence on rock & roll both in front of the mike and behind the scenes was enormous. He soared to fame during the summer of love as one of the main singer-songwriters for Jefferson Airplane. He passed away over the weekend in Tampa, FL, where had had made his home. The cause of death is, at this time, unknown

Born Martyn Buchwald in Cincinnati, Balin got interested in music at an early age. He recorded two singles in 1962 for the small Challenge Records label. It was that label that changed his name to Marty Balin.

Relocating to San Francisco, Balin hooked up with musicians Paul Kantner, Skip Spence, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen and Signe Anderson in 1965. That same year, he and some partners also opened the hugely influential Matrix nightclub that was a launch pad for many Bay Area groups including the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Steppenwolf.

Jefferson Airplane became the first of those San Francisco groups to land a contract with a major label, recording their first album for RCA in 1966. Ms. Anderson, one of the Airplane’s lead singers became pregnant and left the band. She was replaced by Grace Slick. Drummer Spence also left and was replaced by Spencer Dryden.

It was the Airplane’s second album, “Surrealistic Pillow,” that catapulted them to superstardom. While Balin was sharing most of the lead vocal duties with Slick, it was Slick’s songs that became the group’s first hits. From then on, the media tended to focus their attention on Slick and who could blame them? In addition to her powerhouse vocals, she was also an extremely good-looking young woman. Tensions within the band escalated until Balin left in 1971.

The band then renamed themselves Jefferson Starship and continued along. By 1975, Balin had rejoined his old group; and this time, it was his songs that led to their biggest chart successes – “Miracles” “Count on Me,” “Runaway” and “With Your Love.”

Balin left the group again in 1978 avoiding the band’s slide into corporate rock as simply Starship in the 80s.

Balin recorded some solo albums and appeared with his former bandmates in various aggregations, including a full-fledged Jefferson Airplane reunion tour in 1989 and with a reincarnation of Jefferson Starship in the 90’s.

He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and was still writing and singing right into this year.

Besides Diana Ross, what other two girls made up the original Supremes?

Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson
O'RyanCordes Marketing