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News Archive: 2009

ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade; "Winter Wonderland" Tops Most Performed Song List
Posted December 2, 2009

Gene Autry's Christmas music is right at home in the 21st Century according to ASCAP's list of the Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade. The list is based on the most performed holiday songs from the past ten years. Gene Autry really is the Christmas Cowboy!

New York, NY, November 23, 2009: Even as the digital music generation embraces the latest technological innovations, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) reports that traditional favorites still rule the holiday airwaves -- and the iPod. Interpreted over the years by each decade's most popular artists, these Holiday favorites remain timeless classics appealing to young and old alike.

Topping ASCAP's holiday songs list of the decade is one of the oldest songs on the list: "Winter Wonderland." It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith, and 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. Recordings by the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como, in 1946, established the song as a Yuletide favorite. Versions by the Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply are frequently heard on radio today.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams knows something about holiday songs, having received an Emmy nomination this year for "I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus" from A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa, an original Christmas special with both story and songs by the renowned songwriter. He commented: "This is a tough list for any of us to break into. There's a sense that people tend to gravitate towards tradition, especially at the holidays, and our top 25 list confirms this. So, whether you're listening to holiday music on an iPod or a vintage record player, these time-honored favorites are sure to evoke the magic of the season and memories of holidays past."

The Top 25 most performed ASCAP holiday songs of the decade are listed below. Each song includes songwriter credits, and cites the most popular artist version played on radio today. The data was compiled with the help of Mediaguide, the most comprehensive digital audio performance tracking technology in the world.

  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. Sleigh Ride
    Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
    Performed by: The Ronettes
  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
    Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
    Performed by: The Pretenders
  5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
    Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
    Performed by: Bruce Springsteen
  6. White Christmas
    Written by: Irving Berlin
    Performed by: Bing Crosby
  7. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
    Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
    Performed by: Michael Bublé
  8. Jingle Bell Rock
    Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
    Performed by: Daryl Hall & John Oates
  9. 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. I'll Be Home For Christmas
    Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
    Performed by: Josh Groban
  13. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Brenda Lee
  14. Silver Bells
    Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
    Performed by: Anne Murray
  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 Beach Boys
  17. A Holly Jolly Christmas
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Burl Ives
  18. Blue Christmas
    Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
    Performed by: Elvis Presley
  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: Gene Autry
  22. (There's No Place Like)
    Home For The Holidays

    Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
    Performed by: Perry Como
  23. Carol Of The Bells
    Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
    Performed by: David Foster (instrumental version)
  24. Wonderful Christmastime
    Written by: Paul McCartney (PRS)
    Performed by: Paul McCartney
  25. Do They Know It's Christmas?
    (Feed the World)

    Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
    Performed by: Band Aid

Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:

"Sleigh Ride" is the only holiday song on the list 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.

Mediaguide, co-owned by ASCAP, monitors radio broadcast music in real-time and facilitates the accurate distribution of royalty payments to songwriters, composers 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.


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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