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I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

The story behind I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day & 9 amazing covers by Jimmie Rodgers, Harry Belafonte, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, The Carpenters, Rockapella, Sarah McLachlan, Jason Castro, & Johnny Reid.

 i heard the bells on christmas day, henry wadsworth longfellow, christmas bells, fanny longfellow, frances longfellow, charles longfellow, peace on earth, jimmie rodgers, harry belafonte, bing crosby, johnny cash, the carpenters, rockapella, sarah mcLachlan, jason castro, & johnny reid

When American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sat down on Christmas day 1863 to write the poem Christmas Bells (above lyrics; photo by Aaron Burden), the American Civil War had reached the mid-way point and fighting raged on. Longfellow was still mourning the loss two years earlier of his beloved second wife Frances (Fanny), and their oldest son Charles (a Union soldier), who had been gravely wounded in battle just 3 weeks earlier.

The Christmas Bells poem's powerful lyrics about hope, despair, the power of right over wrong, and the triumph of peace on earth, were first set to music in 1872 by John Baptiste Calkin. I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day has since become a haunting holiday favourite for generations before and after the baby boomers, with numerous versions and artists to choose from. Here are some of Senior City's picks for best versions of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day:

Yodeling country singer Jimmie Rodgers "The Father of Country Music" died young at age 35 in 1933. Seniors may remember hearing Jimmie Rodgers sing I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day.

Harry Belafonte included I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day on his 1958 album To Wish You A Merry Christmas.

Crooner to the baby boomer's, Bing Crosby's 12 Songs of Christmas (1964) included his cover of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day.

Johnny Cash and wife June Carter Cash singing I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day on television in 1977.

The Carpenters version of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day in 1984 on the album An Old Fashioned Christmas - featuring Karen Carpenter's amazing voice, a favourite with senior citizens, boomers, zoomers and younger generations.

Rockapella's Christmas (2004) album also included their version of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day.

Frank Sinatra sings the Johnny Marks version of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day (2004).

Sarah McLachlan, also singing the Johnny Marks arrangement of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day on her Stockings By The Fire (2007) album.

Jason Castro covers the Casting Crowns version of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day live, 2010.

Johnny Reid singing I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day on his second holiday album A Christmas Gift to You (2013).

Merry Christmas, Peace On Earth and Good Will to All Men, Women, and Children

Anita Hamilton

Baby boomer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family (complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions), keeps her busy.

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