"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting�)" Tops "Most Performed" Song List Covering Past Five Years

New York, NY, November 27, 2006: With holiday tunes already on the airwaves, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) - the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing over 260,000 music creators and copyright owners - today announced its Top 25 most performed holiday songs for the past five years, based on performance data tracked by radio airplay monitoring service Mediaguide.

Mediaguide, co-owned by ASCAP, was launched in 2002 to monitor radio broadcast music in real-time and facilitate the accurate distribution of royalty payments to composers, lyricists and publishers. Its proprietary technology and network of over 2,500 radio stations currently tracks more stations and total airplay than any other monitoring service in the U.S.

Members of the press who would like a custom week-to-week or local run of "real-time" 2006 Holiday song airplay may contact Kathleen Reynolds (CooperKatz for Mediaguide) at 212-455-8062 or

"Re-recorded and revived by each decade's most popular artists, these holiday favorites illustrate the vital connection between ASCAP music creators and the holiday spirit, which fills the airwaves each year," said ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman. "For Americans and many others around the world, these classic lyrics and melodies are inseparable from the celebration of the holiday season - brightening lives year after year, and serving as a cornerstone of the ASCAP repertory."

The most performed ASCAP Holiday song is "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)." Written by Robert Wells and the singing great, Mel Torm�, the song became a seasonal classic with the release of Nat "King" Cole's 1946 recording. The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Amy Grant and James Taylor, but Cole's version remains the most played on radio today.

Entering the Top 25 song list for the first time is "Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)" written by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof. Recorded in 1984 by Band Aid — an all-star band of British musicians — this benefit single assisted famine relief efforts in Ethiopia, and sold millions of copies over the '84 holiday season. Twenty years later, Band Aid 20 recorded a remake to aid famine relief efforts in Africa. The single featured over 50 artists and reached #1 on the U.K. charts.

The Top 25 most performed ASCAP holiday songs are listed below. Each song includes songwriter credits, and cites the most popular artist version played on radio.
  1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
    Written by: Mel Torm�, Robert Wells
    Performed by: Nat "King" Cole

  2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
    Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
    Performed by: The Pretenders

  3. Winter Wonderland
    Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
    Performed by: Eurythmics

  4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
    Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
    Performed by: Bruce Springsteen

  5. White Christmas
    Written by: Irving Berlin
    Performed by: Bing Crosby

  6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
    Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
    Performed by: Andy Williams

  7. Jingle Bell Rock
    Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
    Performed by: Bobby Helms

  8. Little Drummer Boy
    Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
    Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra

  9. Sleigh Ride
    Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
    Performed by: The Ronettes

  10. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Gene Autry

  11. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
    Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
    Performed by: Andy Williams

  12. I'll Be Home For Christmas
    Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
    Performed by: Vanessa Williams

  13. Silver Bells
    Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
    Performed by: Kenny G

  14. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Brenda Lee

  15. Feliz Navidad
    Written by: Jos� Feliciano
    Performed by: Jos� Feliciano

  16. Blue Christmas
    Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
    Performed by: Elvis Presley

  17. Frosty The Snowman
    Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
    Performed by: The Ronettes

  18. A Holly Jolly Christmas
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Burl Ives

  19. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
    Written by: Meredith Willson
    Performed by: Johnny Mathis

  20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
    Performed by: John Mellencamp

  21. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
    Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
    Performed by: Elvis Presley

  22. Carol Of The Bells
    Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
    Performed by: John Tesh and the Christmas Symphony Orchestra

  23. Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
    Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
    Performed by: Band Aid

  24. (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays
    Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
    Performed by: The Carpenters

  25. Santa Baby
    Written by: Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer
    Performed by: Madonna

Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:

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

Newest song:
"Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)" (1984)

Most recorded Holiday song:
"White Christmas" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.

Songs introduced in Film and Television:
"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)
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" in TV special 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"

"Sleigh Ride" is the only Holiday song written originally as an instrumental piece for a symphony orchestra. The Boston Pops Orchestra gave the first performance in a concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler at Symphony Hall in Boston, May 4, 1948. Mills Music published it that same year. The Boston Pops Orchestra recorded it in June of 1949. Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1949.

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 260,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with over 70 music rights organizations such that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American Performing Rights Organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.


Phil Crosland

Kathleen Reynolds
CooperKatz for Mediaguide