ASCAP lists most-performed holiday songs

'Winter Wonderland' leads the pack for second time

The most wonderful time of the year is almost here, and ASCAP has a little stocking stuffer for fans of the season's timeless music.

The performing rights group Monday unwrapped its list of the 25 most performed holiday songs of the past five years, based on radio airplay data tracked by Mediaguide. The list spans a half-century, ranging from 1934's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" to the African famine-relief anthem "Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)" in 1984.

Topping the list for the second time is "Winter Wonderland." The perennial classic was an instant hit for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. Recordings by the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como in 1946 established the song as a yuletide favorite. Versions by the Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply are frequently heard on radio today.

Re-entering the top 25 list is "This Christmas." The original version by Donny Hathaway, who co-wrote it with Nadine McKinnor, was featured on the 1968 compilation album "Soulful Christmas." The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Gladys Knight, the Temptations, Peabo Bryson, Usher and Gloria Estefan.

"White Christmas" is the most-recording holiday song, with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.

Johnny Marks leads songwriters with three in the top 25: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas."

"Sleigh Ride" is the only holiday song on the list originally written as an instrumental piece for a symphony orchestra. The Boston Pops Orchestra gave the first performance in a concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler in 1948. Mitchell Parish added lyrics the next year.

Four of the songs were introduced in movies or television: "White Christmas," from "Holiday Inn" (1942); "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," from "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944); "Silver Bells," from "The Lemon Drop Kid" (1950); and "A Holly Jolly Christmas," from the 1962 TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The top 25 follows on the next page.



The list includes songwriter credits and cites the most popular artist version played on radio during the past five years:

1. "Winter Wonderland," written by Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith (performed by Eurythmics)
2. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," by Mel Torme and Robert Wells (Nat "King" Cole)
3. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin (the Pretenders)
4. "Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish; (the Ronettes)
5. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie (Frank Sinatra)
6. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne (Michael Buble)
7. "White Christmas," by Irving Berlin (Bing Crosby)
8. "Jingle Bell Rock," by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe (Bobby Helms)
9. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," by Johnny Marks (Gene Autry)
10. "Little Drummer Boy," by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati and Harry Simeone (The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra)
11. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," by Edward Pola, George Wyle (Andy Williams)
12 "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," Johnny Marks (Brenda Lee)
13. "Silver Bells," by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (Kenny G)
14. "I'll Be Home For Christmas," by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon and Buck Ram (Amy Grant)
15. "Feliz Navidad," by Jose Feliciano (Jose Feliciano)
16. "Frosty the Snowman," by Steve Nelson and Walter E. Rollins (the Ronettes)
17. "A Holly Jolly Christmas," by Johnny Marks (Burl Ives)
18. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," by Meredith Willson (Johnny Mathis)
19. "Blue Christmas," by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson (Elvis Presley)
20. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays," by Bob Allen and Al Stillman (Perry Como)
21. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," by Tommie Connor (John Mellencamp)
22. "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)," by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman (Gene Autry)
23. "Carol of the Bells," by Peter J. Wilhousky and Mykola Leontovich (David Foster [instrumental version])
24. "Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)," by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof (Band Aid)
25. "This Christmas," Donny Hathaway and Nadine McKinnor (Gloria Estefan)
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