SOURCE: ASCAP

November 24, 2008 09:00 ET

ASCAP Unwraps Top 25 Holiday Songs

"Winter Wonderland" Tops Most Performed Song List Covering Past Five Years

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - 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 kreynolds@cooperkatz.com.

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. Listen to all 25 songs on the ASCAP Network's Playback radio channel at http://www.ascap.com/network/.

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

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.   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

22.   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:

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.

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 330,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with over 90 similar foreign organizations so 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. www.ascap.com