Sleigh Ride

“Sleigh Ride” is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946 finished the work in February 1948. It was originally an instrumental piece; the lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The melody of the main strain of the tune was used (with no credit for Anderson) as the main theme of Victor Young’s score for the 1949 western Streets of Laredo; it is notable that Mitchell Parrish worked with Young around this time, having recently written lyrics for Young’s version of Hoagy Carmichael’s previously instrumental number Stardust. Sleigh Ride was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra. 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. Over the years, the song has become a Christmas standard.