New York, NY , December 19, 2011: Nothing raises peoples' spirits - and inspires shoppers' zeal for finding the perfect gift - like holiday music . That's why radio stations around the country are eager to start playing America's most beloved holiday songs earlier and earlier each year. ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has just released its list of most-played songs of the holiday season. For the second year in a row, "Sleigh Ride" tops the list of songs, which were all written or co-written by members of ASCAP.
"ASCAP is home to America's greatest songwriters and composers," says ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams." So it is no wonder that the top holiday songs have been written by our members. This list reflects the enduring power of music. It's a beautiful thing to realize that a songwriter's work lives on in such a way, bringing happiness and meaning to millions of people's lives year after year."
Since October 1, 2011, "Sleigh Ride" has aired 154,327 times, making it the most-played holiday song on radio so far this holiday season. Although it depicts a wondrous winter scene, "Sleigh Ride" was written originally by Leroy Anderson on a hot summer day in 1946 in Woodbury, CT. Initially composed as an instrumental piece, The Boston Pops Orchestra gave the first performance in a concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler at Symphony Hall in Boston, May 4, 1948, and Mills Music published it that same year. The Boston Pops Orchestra recorded it in June of 1949. After Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1949, it has been recorded by perhaps the most eclectic range of performers than any other piece in western music, with Leroy Anderson's recording the most popular instrumental version and The Ronettes' recording as the most popular vocal version.
The top 10 most-played holiday songs so far this holiday season are listed below, all written or co-written by ASCAP songwriters and composers. Each song includes songwriter credits, and cites the most popular artist version played on radio to date.
1. "Sleigh Ride" – played 154,327 times
Written by Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
Most popular artist version performed by Leroy Anderson
2. "Winter Wonderland" – played 128,980 times
Written by Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Most popular artist version performed by Eurythmics
3. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" – played 126,032 times
Written by Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
Most popular artist version performed by Nat King Cole
4. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" – played 115,346 times
Written by Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Most popular artist version performed by Dean Martin
5. "Jingle Bell Rock" – played 114,529 times
Written by Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
Most popular artist version performed by Bobby Helms
6."It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" – played 109,938 times
Written by Edward Pola, George Wyle
Most popular artist version performed by Andy Williams
7."Do You Hear What I Hear?" – played 98,575 times
Written by Gloria Shayne Baker, Noël Regney
Most popular artist version performed by Whitney Houston
8. "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" – played 94,885 times
Written by Meredith Willson
Most popular artist version performed by Bing Crosby
9. "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" – played 91,451 times
Written by Johnny Marks
Most popular artist version performed by Gene Autry
10. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" – played 90,175 times
Written by Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
Most popular artist version performed by The Carpenters
Note: The list represents an aggregation of all different artist versions of each cited holiday song played on radio from 10/1/11 through 12/14/11. The holiday song data was tracked by radio airplay monitoring service, Mediaguide, from over 2,500 radio stations nationwide.