December 03, 2003

ASCAP Announces the Top 25 Holiday Songs "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" Tops List

As the year 2003 draws to a close and seasonal music fills the air, ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the world's largest performing rights organization, today announced a list of its 25 most-performed Holiday songs based on their most recent performance data for the first three years of the 21st Century. The new ranking, when compared with the list issued by ASCAP at the end of the 20th Century, indicates changes and interesting trends.

The most performed ASCAP Holiday song of the past three years is “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. This perennial, originally written in 1934, was recorded the same year by orchestra leader George Hall, and is frequently heard today in versions by Bruce Springsteen and the Crystals. Another song on the move is “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year," by Edward Pola and George Wyle, written in 1963 and first recorded by Andy Williams. Two songs have entered the ASCAP Holiday list for the first time -- “Santa Baby,” written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Tony Springer, and Paul McCartney’s “Having a Wonderful Christmastime.” “Santa Baby,” originally a hit for Eartha Kitt in 1953, has been given new interest via a popular recent recording by Madonna. McCartney’s Holiday classic is of comparatively recent vintage, first recorded back in 1979.

Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board said: “More than anything else, 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, yet each song retains the original stamp of its creators.”

1. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells)
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
4. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)
5. White Christmas (Irving Berlin)
6. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
7. I'll Be Home for Christmas (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)
8. Jingle Bell Rock (Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe)
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks)
10. Little Drummer Boy (Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone)
11. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
12. Silver Bells (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)
13. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Edward Pola, George Wyle)
14. Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)
15. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Johnny Marks)
16. Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson)
17. Frosty The Snow Man (Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins)
18. A Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks)
19. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Tommie Connor)
20. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) (Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman)
21. (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays (Bob Allen, Al Stillman)
22. Santa Baby (Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer)
23. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Meredith Willson)
24. Carol of the Bells (Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich)
25. Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)

Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:

Oldest songs:
        "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" (both 1934)
Newest Song:
       "Wonderful Christmastime" (1979)
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)
Writer with most Top Holiday Songs:
       Johnny Marks with three -
             "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"
            "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
            “A Holly Jolly Christmas”
Most recorded Holiday Song:
       "White Christmas" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.

February 2004 marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of ASCAP. As the world’s largest performing rights organization, ASCAP has over 170,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members representing all genres of music. ASCAP is committed to protecting the rights of its members by licensing and collecting royalties for the public performance of their copyrighted works, and then distributing these fees to the Society’s members based on performances. ASCAP’s Board of Directors is made up solely of writers and publishers, elected by the membership every two years.