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Carol of the Bells facts for kids

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Mykola leontovych
Composer Mykola Leontovych

"Carol of the Bells" is a very popular song. It was composed by Mykola Leontovych, a Ukrainian composer. It is played during the Christmas season of every year. It has been featured in many movies, in parodies and in television programs. It has also been performed by many musicians, such as Johnny Mathis, The Carpenters, Destiny's Child and Jessica Simpson.

Notable performances


(In chronological order)

  • 1946 (1946): The Robert Shaw Chorale recorded it that year, and later re-recorded it in stereo. Both the Chorale and the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, which Robert Shaw conducted from 1967 until 1988, and on special occasions until his death in 1999, performed it many times in live concert.
  • 1955 (1955): The Voices of Christmas, a singing group featuring, among others, Margaret and Barbara Whiting, Sonny Burke and Gary Crosby, sang the song for a CBS radio broadcast transmitted on Christmas Eve, which was edited to be released the following year on the Bing Crosby album A Christmas Sing with Bing around the World.
  • 1978 (1978): Richard Carpenter played piano in an orchestral version arranged by Peter Knight on The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait album released in October.
  • 1988 (1988): Mannheim Steamroller recorded a prog-rock version on their second Christmas studio album A Fresh Aire Christmas, which has sold over 6 million copies in the U.S., making it one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time.
  • 1990 (1990): Wynton Marsalis recorded a syncopated, minor-key version on the album Crescent City Christmas Card with the role of the bells carried by brass.
  • 1995 (1995): Savatage recorded "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24", an instrumental, heavy-metal medley of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells". The song became the number 1 requested song on the influential New York station WPLJ, which led to the band gaining label support to form Trans-Siberian Orchestra and create a new album based on the song.
  • 1999 (1999): Al Di Meola recorded a Spanish guitar version on his album Winter Nights.
  • 2005 (2005): Nox Arcana performed this song on their album Winter's Knight that reached No. 8 on the Billboard Charts the following year.
  • 2012 (2012): Metal band August Burns Red's "breakdown-infused" version of the song was used in a Christmas-themed promotional ad for Frank Miller's film The Spirit, although the song did not appear in the film.
  • 2012 (2012): Pentatonix covered the song their album PTXmas, one of the highest selling Christmas albums of 2013.
  • 2013 (2013): Marillion released an extended version for charity.
  • 2014 (2014): LeAnn Rimes included her rendition of the song on her album One Christmas: Chapter 1 and also performed the song for CMA Country Christmas.

Film, television, parodies, and other media

  • The song appears in the 1990 20th Century Fox film Home Alone as arranged by John Williams.
  • A skit on the December 12, 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live included an advertisement for the musical album A Dysfunctional Family Christmas. "Carol of the Bells" was parodied by Dana Carvey with the lyrics "Leave me alone, please go away...".
  • The song appears in Disney's 1994 film The Santa Clause as a group of carolers are singing the song during the film's opening.
  • An a cappella rendition of the song, performed by the character Mr. Mackey, was featured on the episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" from South Park's third season.
  • In episode 10 of the second season of The West Wing, "Nöel", the song is performed by the US Air Force Band & Singing Sergeants at the end of the episode. West Wing director Thomas Schlamme won the 2000 Directors Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series for this episode.
  • The band Guster recorded "Carol of the Meows," a parody of the song that replaces all the lyrics with "meows." It was used in "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't," a season 2 episode of The O.C.
  • The Muppets' 2009 parody of the song climaxes with a large bell (set up by Animal) falling on the increasingly frenetic Beaker, which quickly became a viral video that Christmas season.
  • Community featured the song in the end tag of their 2011 Christmas special "Regional Holiday Music", with the heads of the Dean, Chang, Starburns, Magnitude and Leonard singing along.
  • The "Unholy Night" episode (originally aired on December 5, 2012) of the American Horror Story TV series includes a piano version, played by Michael Silverman.
  • The song serves as a theme of sorts for the Joker in the 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins.
  • The song is also used at the end of the last episode of the first season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.

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