Here are nine back stories from a series of videos he has begun to post on christmasclassics.com.
In the Deep South, of all places, Clancy visited a site tightly hitched to the legendary carol verse:
The composer of the carol, James Pierpont, was serving as an organist and music teacher at Savannah's Unitarian Church in Georgia, now known as the Jingle Bells Church, when in 1857 he copyrighted the song "One Horse Open Sleigh." But it's not clear when the New England-born Pierpont wrote the song. His hometown of Medford, Mass., also lays claim to the carol. What is clear, however, is that Pierpont made little money from the classic carol and died impoverished, despite the fact that he was the uncle of the wealthy financier J.P. Morgan. [Editor's note: The original misidentified the Jingle Bells church.]
Before visiting the Concord, Mass., grave of Katherine Davis, a Wellesley-educated music teacher, Clancy read the transcript of an interview in which Davis spoke about a tune she had running through her head "that practically wrote itself" in 1941 and that she titled "The Carol of the Drum." Eighteen years later, Davis was as surprised as the friend of hers who called to say: