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SHORT TAKES : ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ a Yule Classic

From Times Wire Services

Singer Bobby Helms says he was unsure about mixing rock ‘n’ roll and Christmas, but his “Jingle Bell Rock” has become a holiday classic.

“It’s made itself a part of Christmas,” said Helms, who recorded the song in 1957.

While many other holiday songs are mellow renditions dreaming of a white Christmas or chestnuts roasting on an open fire, “Jingle Bell Rock” is a snappy number that catches the excitement of the year.

“It lifts people up,” he said in a recent interview.

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Helms said the song--written by Joe Beal and Jim Boothe--was the first to tie in Christmas with rock ‘n’ roll, which was just emerging in 1957.

“I wasn’t sure about putting rock ‘n’ roll into Christmas,” says Helms, 53, who lives in Martinsville, Ind. “But it’s just one of those songs. You never know.”

Besides “Jingle Bell Rock,” Helms had two other hit records: “My Special Angel” and “Fraulein.” His recording career continued through the 1950s and 1960s. He later got into the nightclub business and also sponsored music festivals.


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