Chicago‘s latest album Chicago Christmas is the band’s fourth collection of holiday tunes and features their new hit version of “Sleigh Ride.” But as founding member Lee Loughnane explains, the band never actually planned to make another Christmas album — it just kinda happened.
“Initially, it was going to be just a couple of bonus tracks to go along with, with Rhino [Records] re-releasing our previous Christmas stuff, which perennially does well for them,” Lee tells ABC Audio. “And when I asked the guys if they had [any material], they came in with 11 songs, eight of which were originals. So we just took one song at a time. And in three months, we had a record.”
This is actually the second time the band’s recorded “Sleigh Ride”; they also cut it in 2003. But with so many Christmas songs to choose from, why do it again?
“Our manager Peter…he kept asking me to do [it],” Lee says. It seems Peter has fond memories of The Ronettes’ version of “Sleigh Ride” that appears on Phil Spector‘s iconic holiday album A Christmas Gift for You. Specifically, he wanted Chicago to do what the Ronettes did and sing “ring a ling a ling, ding dong ding.”
“When I listened to it…they only did one portion of the song. They didn’t even do the bridge or anything else. They just did the verses,” Lee points out.
He laughs, “So I wanted to change it up a little bit and still give Peter his ring a ling a ling ding dong ding, so that’s how we formed it.”
As a result, both versions of “Sleigh Ride” are completely different. But if you’re looking to stream the current one, there’s one difference: The new version is called “Sleigh Ride 2019.”
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