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A beloved 1987 Christmas special on TNN featuring The Judds is remembered by many. Viewers loved watching the pair sing “Away In a Manger” and “Silver Bells.” The mother-daughter country music duo have always been known for putting on a great show, and their RCA holiday special didn’t disappoint. Let’s take a look at the history behind the two Christmas classics the pair wowed the crowd with two and a half decades ago.
While it can be tough to figure out exactly where common songs come from, it’s likely that “Away In a Manger” has American roots. While works from Martin Luther were likely the inspiration for the song, history suggests that the song came into play in the late 1800s. It first appeared as an unattributed work in a book of songs by Charles Gabriel.
We’re all familiar with the Salvation Army charity bells that we hear during the holidays, and that’s exactly where Jay Livingston and Ray Evans got their inspiration for the Christmas classic, “Silver Bells.” First performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, the song has become a holiday standard for many.
Alabama’s Randy Owen introduced The Judds in this 35-year-old clip. The two ladies brought out a group of children who began singing “Away In a Manger” first until the two country singers joined in. The performed “Silver Bells” later on in the special.
You can check it out in the video below.