In 1988 the American composer Leroy Anderson was inducted in to the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame as a tribute to the popular composer who had first topped the charts in 1951 when his piece 'Blue Tango' became the first instrumental to sell over a million copies. His most famous composition is 'Sleigh Ride' which was first recorded in instrumental form in 1949 by the Boston Pops Orchestra. A year later Mitchell Parish wrote some accompanying lyrics and the song went on to become one of the most widely-recorded Christmas songs ever and has been performed by many different artists over the decades including Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, The Carpenters and Amy Grant. Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1908 and during his career his compositions became embedded in American popular music and he is regarded as being one of the most successful composers of his generation. As well as his work in music Anderson also had a distinguished military career serving in the US Counter Intelligence corps in WW2 and was later recalled to serve in Korea. He died of cancer in 1975 at the age of 66.