Christmas Tips & Fun

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Music of Christmas

What are the most popular Christmas songs?

W

e thought this would be a simple assignment – look up the most popular Christmas songs. It turns out that there are a lot of lists of popular Christmas music – some of which agree and some of which are totally out there.

One way to determine popularity is by measuring the number of sales of recordings. Billboard magazine has been doing that since the 1940s when Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas album (0f 78s, remember) was the best seller from 1945 through 1950. After that the list becomes reflective of popular culture and ranges from Mitch Miller’s Christmas Sing Along With Mitch which topped the charts in the late 50s and early 60s to Andy Williams, Barbara Streisand, The Harry Simeone Chorale (The Little Drummer Boy was a hit in 1966), John Denver, The Partridge Family, Dolly Parton, the Muppets (and John Denver again) – all the way to Susan Boyle.

WCBS FM did a list a few years ago that it based on music that was created "pre-rock" and it seems to track pretty closely with lists compiled by a bunch of other "experts". It starts with Bing Crosby’s White Christmas then goes on to The Chipmunk Song, Gene Autry’s Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jimmy Boyd’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock, Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…), The Royal Guardsmen’s Snoopy’s Christmas, Gene Autry again with Here Comes Santa Claus (only he pronounced it Santy Claus), The Harry Simeone Chorale’s Little Drummer Boy (as mentioned earlier) and finally, something called Donde Esta Santa Claus by Augie Rios (who was apparently a child actor who had a ‘one-hit-wonder’ in 1958 – who knew?)

Things that are missing, though, are classics like Perry Como’s There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays and Earth Kitt’s Santa Baby or Frank Sinatra’s Mistletoe and Holly or – ready for it to get stuck in your head? – Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad.

It looks like the answer to this particular conundrum is for you to make up your own list.

Written by Dianne Weller
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