Forgotten Hits Of The Past: “Jingle Jangle Jingle”

Forgotten Hits Of The Past:

Paolo Reyes, Staff Writer

Have you ever watched those old stage recordings recorded for black and white television? Aspiring singers, bands, and personalities performing live on stage, with their every move and action being recorded by a slew of antique microphones and cameras and as the stage audience is either bursting with laughter or silenced by the overwhelming fantastical music. This “Romantic Period” of live broadcasted media is a landmark in the evolution of entertainment worldwide, especially the United States. Compared to more modern media broadcasts, like early 2010s MTV content, one can definitely make the connection between the dull, monochrome recorded-live content from the 40-60s and the flashy, energetic music videos by popstars. One of the most renowned classics to emerge from this period of American media history was “Jingle Jangle Jingle”,  most famously covered by Kay Kyser.

“Jingle Jangle Jingle” was written in 1942 by Joseph Lilley and Frank Loesser. The song first appeared in the action-drama film known as The Forest Rangers, a movie about romance and detective work. After appearing in the film, the song was then picked up by Kay Kyser, who is responsible for its most successful and popular rendition. His recording of the song held the top spot on Billboard from July 18th to July 25th of 1942. The song was so popular that it was even nominated to be listed as one of the top 100 western songs by the organization known as the Western Writers of America. Although Kay Kyser is the name most commonly affiliated with the song, he only played the role of band director. The vocals in his rendition of the song were performed by Harry Babbitt and Julie Conway.

Kay Kyser was born on June 18, 1905 in North Carolina. In his lifetime, he was an extremely successful radio personality and band director. Many of his works would become national hits and he was soon dubbed the “Ol’ Professor”, after the character he plays when performing. When the Second World War was declared, Kay Kyser devoted much of his spare time to supporting the war effort. He even made history, leading the first band performance dedicated to the military in a military base. 

The song does not really have any narrative or plot. It just follows a cowboy or some western man as he joyfully wanders around as the spurs on his boots “jingle, jangle, jingle”. For those who may not know, “spurs” are the metallic stabilizer-ish things that are commonly found by the heels of cowboy boots. Fun fact, the spurs on boots are used to help cowboys and people who ride horses better control the horse. As the cowboy wanders around, he sings of having no regrets and how doing as he pleases without looking back makes him feel content. Furthermore, he rejoices in the fact that he’s single and able to do whatever he likes. The song pushes a strong sense of independence and pride in one’s ability to be self-sufficient.  This begs the question, do people find true happiness in the binds of companionship, or in the uncontrolled freedom of isolation?