SOURCE: ASCAP

ASCAP

November 23, 2009 10:48 ET

ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade; "Winter Wonderland" Tops Most Performed Song List

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - 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:

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 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.

About ASCAP

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 365,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with similar foreign organizations so that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world where copyright law exists. 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. www.ascap.com