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News Archive: 2008

ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs
"Winter Wonderland" Tops Most Performed Song List Covering Past Five Years

Posted November 25, 2008

Gene Autry is the Christmas Cowboy when it comes to holiday music and once again you’ll find his songs on the ASCAP most performed holiday song list for the past five years. Gene Autry's recording of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is number 9, up one position from last year. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) is number 22, last year it was Elvis Presley's version at number 21, but this year it is Gene Autry's version!

New York, NY, November 24, 2008 – As the countdown to the Holidays begins and seasonal music fills the airwaves, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) – the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing over 330,000 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 songwriters, composers and publishers. Its proprietary technology and network of over 2,700 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" 2008 holiday song airplay may contact Kathleen Reynolds at 917-595-3036 or

Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman, 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."

Topping the list for the second time is "Winter Wonderland" by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith. This perennial classic, written in 1934, was an instant hit for legendary bandleader Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians who took it to the #2 spot on the Billboard charts the same year. 1946 recordings by the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como established the song as a Yuletide favorite. Versions by the Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply are frequently heard on radio today.

Re-entering the Top 25 list after a brief hiatus is "This Christmas," written by Donny Hathaway and Nadine McKinnor. Featured on the 1968 Soulful Christmas compilation album, the song has been recorded by numerous artists including Gladys Knight, the Temptations, Peabo Bryson, Usher, Ruben Studdard and Gloria Estefan. It was also featured on the Soundtrack for the 2002 movie Friday After Next starring Ice Cube.

The Top 25 most performed ASCAP holiday songs of the past five years are listed below. Each song includes songwriter credits, and cites the most popular artist version played on radio. Click here to listen to all 25 songs on the ASCAP Network's Playback radio channel.

1. Winter Wonderland
Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Performed by: Eurythmics
2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Written by: Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
Performed by: Nat "King" Cole
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
Performed by: The Pretenders
4. Sleigh Ride
Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
Performed by: The Ronettes
5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
Performed by: Frank Sinatra
6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Performed by: Michael Bublé
7. White Christmas
Written by: Irving Berlin
Performed by: Bing Crosby
8. Jingle Bell Rock
Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
Performed by: Bobby Helms
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Gene Autry
10. Little Drummer Boy
Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra
11. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
Performed by: Andy Williams
12. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Brenda Lee
13. Silver Bells
Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
Performed by: Kenny G
14. I'll Be Home For Christmas
Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
Performed by: Amy Grant
15. Feliz Navidad
Written by: José Feliciano
Performed by: José Feliciano
16. Frosty The Snowman
Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
Performed by: The Ronettes
17. A Holly Jolly Christmas
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Burl Ives
18. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Written by: Meredith Willson
Performed by: Johnny Mathis
19. Blue Christmas
Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
Performed by: Elvis Presley
20. (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays
Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
Performed by: Perry Como
21. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
Performed by: John Mellencamp
Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
Performed by: Gene Autry
23. Carol Of The Bells
Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
Performed by: David Foster (instrumental version)
24. Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
Performed by: Band Aid
25. This Christmas
Written by Donny Hathaway, Nadine McKinnor
Performed by Gloria Estefan

Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:


Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 330,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with over 90 similar foreign 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 PRO owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.

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