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It’s Music Friday, and with Christmas only two days away, we’re excited to bring you one of YouTube’s most popular holiday-season songs of all time — Straight No Chaser’s witty and masterfully arranged rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
As most of us know, the jewelry reference in this sing-along classic comes on the fifth day of Christmas when “my true love gave to me, five golden rings.”
Straight No Chaser’s “12 Days” is famous for its comic infusions of other songs, such as “I Have a Little Dreidel” and Toto’s “Africa.” SNC’s version was inspired by a 1968 comic arrangement of the song by Richard C. Gregory, a faculty member of The Williston Northampton School, a boarding school in western Massachusetts.
Originated on the campus of Indiana University in 1996, Straight No Chaser owes its worldwide fame to a video of a 1998 “12 Days” performance that was first posted to YouTube in 2006. That video went viral and caught the attention of Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman, who signed the group to a five-album deal in 2008. To date, the original version of the a cappella group’s “12 Days” has been viewed in YouTube more than 25 million times.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” appeared as the eighth track from the group’s 2008 debut studio album, Holiday Spirits, which peaked at #46 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.
The classic version of the song can be traced to England in 1780, when is was published as a chant or rhyme. The standard tune associated with it is derived from an arrangement credited to English composer Frederic Austin in 1909. Interestingly, he’s the one who came up with the idea of prolonging the phrase “five… golden… rings…”
Straight No Chaser is currently on the final leg of a 61-city “25th Anniversary Celebration” tour that started in Kitchener, Ontario, at the beginning of June and ends in Portland, OR, on New Year’s Eve.
Please check out the video of Straight No Chaser performing “The 12 Days of Christmas” during the group’s reunion tour in 2008.
Credit: Promotional photo via sncmusic.com.