Biography
Mitchell Parish
Leroy Anderson recounts his involvement with lyricist Mitchell Parish and Sleigh Ride: "I always work with Mitchell Parish, he has written lyrics to six or seven of the things that I've done, and when there was so many demands for say choral editions and things like that of "Sleigh Ride" after it had become popular, then we decided to get together and write a lyric to it. Mitchell Parish is unusually good at this because he has the ability, he's written many lyrics to instrumental numbers, and this is quite a knack because you see when you write a song, the lyric writer has free rein; he's usually the one who contributes the title and other things. But here, he was stuck with the title, he had the title already, and that was not only the' subject, but he had to get the word "Sleigh Ride" in somewhere, he had to fit that word in and he had to build the lyrics around it. And this takes a very skilled writer, a very skilled lyricist; he has to know lyric poetry and, of course, he is a student of lyric poetry, he can quote Keats and Shelley, he knows them all. I asked him once if he didn't have a rhyming dictionary, he said, Oh no, I know all the rhymes. This is all rather interesting, it's all a part of his technique and part of his background. At the same time when we're working, I would suggest a couple, something with a certain rhyme, but he said I don't want to do that because so and so in his song, he used that rhyme, and that particular thing, he knows all these other lyrics so he tries to avoid what other people have done and get something that is new. So, that is how the lyric to "Sleigh Ride" came to be written."

Mitchell Parish added lyrics to 7 Anderson compositions: Sleigh Ride, Blue Tango, Forgotten Dreams, The Syncopated Clock, Serenata, The Waltzing Cat and Belle of the Ball.

Mitchell Parish also contributed lyrics to many other songs by other composers, including "Star Dust", "Sweet Lorraine," "Sophisticated Lady," "Stars Fell On Alabama," "Deep Purple," "Stairway to the Stars," "Moonlight Serenade," "Ruby," and "Volare." In addition to Leroy Anderson he also worked with Hoagy Carmichael, Sammy Fain, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Peter DeRose.

Mitchell Parish tended to write his lyrics to completed melodies, hits that originated in other languages, or adaptations of classical music. Mitchell Parish was born in Lithuania on July 10, 1900. He came to the United States as an infant and grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He planned to study medicine but changed careers after a doctor gave some of his verses to a music publisher. His first steady employer was the music publisher Jack Mills, who signed him for $12 a week to write comedy lyrics for vaudeville acts in 1922. In 1928 he had his first hit with "Sweet Lorraine." He followed this in 1929 with his most famous song, the lyric for Hoagy Carmichael's instrumental "Star Dust."

Mitchell Parish died in New York City on March 31, 1993.