December 20, 2002

"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)" TOPS LIST

As the year 2002 draws to a close and seasonal music fills the air, ASCAP, the worldís largest performing rights organization, today announced an update of its 25 all-time most-performed Holiday songs based on the Societyís most recent performance data.

Topping the list, based on ASCAPís comprehensive survey tracking, is ìThe Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)î written by Robert Wells and the singing great, Mel Torme. The song, written when Torme was 19 and Wells was 22, became a seasonal classic with the release of Nat ìKingî Coleís 1946 recording. Irving Berlinís ìWhite Christmasî was a close second, with over 500 recorded versions of the song in dozens of languages. Berlin (1888 ‚ 1989) was one of the founding members of ASCAP and is one of Americaís most beloved and productive songwriters. Among the 1,500 songs to his credit are "Thereís No Business Like Show Business," "Easter Parade," "Puttiní on the Ritz," "Alexanderís Ragtime Band" and "God Bless America.

Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board said: "Music sets the mood for the holidays, evoking the magic of the season and memories of holidays past. These timeless classics have been recorded by artists in every genre all over the world, yet each song retains the original stamp of its creators."

1. Christmas Song (Robert Wells, Mel Tormè)
2. White Christmas (Irving Berlin)
3. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town ( J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
4. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
6. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks)
8. Little Drummer Boy (Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone)
9. I'll Be Home for Christmas (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)
10. Silver Bells (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)
11. Jingle Bell Rock (Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe)
12. Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson)
13. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
14. Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)
15. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree (Johnny Marks)
16. Frosty the Snowman (Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins)
17. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Tommie Connor)
18. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Edward Pola, George Wyle)
19. A Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks)
20. Here Comes Santa Claus (Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman)
21. Carol of the Bells (Peter J. Wilhousky, M. Leontovich)
22. It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Meredith Willson)
23. Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville)
24. Santa Baby (Joan Ellen Javits, Phillip Springer)
25. We Need A Little Christmas (Jerry Herman)

Some facts about the 25 Most Performed Holiday songs...

Oldest songs:
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" (both 1934)

Newest Song:
"Feliz Navidad" (1970)

Songs introduced in motion pictures:
"White Christmas" in Holiday Inn (1942)
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
"Silver Bells" in The Lemon Drop Kid (1950)

Songs introduced in Broadway musicals:
"We Need a Little Christmas" in Mame (1966)

Songs introduced in television specials:
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1962)

Writer with most Top Holiday Songs:
Johnny Marks with three ("Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas")

ASCAP is the world's oldest and foremost performing rights organization, with over 145,000 active composer, lyricist and music publisher members in the United States, representing music of every variety and style. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization governed by and for its members.