by Kev Lewin
We all have a favourite Christmas tune, but have you ever wondered which classic pop ditty is the most successful at this special time of year?
Over the past five years, the American Society Of Composers, Authors And Publishers (ASCAP) has tapped into Santa's iPod in an effort to find out just what songs really make Christmas special.
ASCAP experts monitor the popularity of holiday songs using performance data tracked by radio airplay monitoring service Mediaguide and they know when a Christmas classic is re-recorded.
Just released, here's the 2006 top 25 list of bona-fide Christmas classics. Just throw another log on the fire, pour yourself a glass of egg-nog and read on.
The new 2006 list catalogues the most-recorded and most-played festive favourites, from tunes like SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN and WINTER WONDERLAND, which were both written in 1934, to Live Aid anthem DON'T THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? (FEED THE WORLD), which makes the ASCAP list for the first time.
By far the most recorded holiday song on the list is IRVING BERLIN's White Christmas, which has been recorded more than 500 times and Bing Crosby's hit version remains one of the world's top-selling records of all-time.
Meanwhile, songwriter JOHNNY MARKS can claim to be the musical Father Christmas - he has three tunes on the new list; RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE and A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS.
Here's the top 25:
1. THE CHRISTMAS SONG (CHESTNUT'S ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE)
Written by ROBERT WELLS + MEL TORME
Recorded by NAT 'KING' COLE, Celine Dion, James Taylor, Luther Vandross...
2. HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
Written by RALPH BLANE + HUGH MARTIN
Recorded by THE Pretenders, Bette Midler, Rosemary Clooney...
3. WINTER WONDERLAND
Written by FELIX BERNARD + RICHARD B SMITH
Recorded by Perry Como, Eurythmics...
4. SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
Written by FRED COOTS + HAVEN GILLESPIE
Recorded by Bruce Springsteen, ROSEMARY CLOONEY, Dean Martin...
5. WHITE CHRISTMAS
Written by IRVING BERLIN
Recorded by BING CROSBY, Frank Sinatra...
6. LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!
Written by SAMMY CAHN + JULE STYNE
Recorded by DEAN MARTIN, Andy Williams...
7. JINGLE BELL ROCK
Written by JOSEPH CARLETON BEAL + JAMES ROSS BOOTHE
Recorded by BOBBY HELMS, Natalie Cole...
8. LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
Written by KATHERINE K DAVIS, HENRY V ONORATI, HARRY SIMEONE
Recorded by THE HARRY SIMEONE CHORALE + ORCHESTRA, BING CROSBY + David Bowie, SYD DALE...
9. SLEIGH RIDE
Written by LEROY ANDERSON + MITCHELL PARISH
Recorded by THE RONETTES, ANDY WILLIAMS...
10. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Written by JOHNNY MARKS
Recorded by GENE AUTRY, Harry Connick Jr...
11. IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
Written by EDWARD POLA + George Wyle
Recorded by ANDY WILLIAMS, Toni Braxton, Garth Brooks...
12. I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Written by WALTER KENT, KIM GANNON and BUCK RAM
Recorded by Vanessa Williams, MARION WRIGHT...
13. SILVER BELLS
Written by JAY LIVINGSTON + RAY EVANS
Recorded by Doris Day, BING CROSBY, KENNY G...
14. ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Written by JOHNNY MARKS
Recorded by BRENDA LEE, Kim Wilde + Mel Smith...
15. FELIZ NAVIDAD
Written by Jose Feliciano
Recorded by JOSE FELICIANO, Asleep At The Wheel, CELINE DION...
16. BLUE CHRISTMAS
Written by BILLY HAYES, JAT W JOHNSON
Recorded by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson...
17. FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
Written by STEVE NELSON + WALTER E ROLLINS
Recorded by THE RONETTES, THE Beach Boys, Fiona Apple...
18. A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS
Written by JOHNNY MARKS
Recorded by Burl Ives, Alan Jackson...
19. IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
Written by MEREDITH WILLSON
Performed by Johnny Mathis, BING CROSBY, PERRY COMO...
20. I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS
Written by TOMMIE CONNOR
Recorded by John Mellencamp, LYNN ANDERSON, The Drifters...
21. HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS (RIGHT DOWN SANTA CLAUS LANE)
Written by GENE AUTRY + OAKLEY HALDEMAN
Recorded by ELVIS PRESLEY, GENE AUTRY, RAY CONIFF...
22. CAROL OF THE BELLS
Written by PETER J WILHOUSKY + MYKOLA LEONTOVICH
Recorded by JOHN TESH, NATALIE COLE, The Four Seasons...
23. DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? (FEED THE WORLD)
Written by MIDGE URE + Bob Geldof
Recorded by Band Aid, Pete Yorn, Barenaked Ladies...
24. (THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Written by BOB ALLEN + AL STILLMAN
Recorded by The Carpenters, Robert Goulet, PERRY COMO...
25. Santa Baby
Written by JOAN ELLEN JAVITS, PHILIP SPRINGER + TONY SPRINGER
Recorded by Eartha Kitt, Madonna...
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