NEW YORK (ASCAP/ www.ascap.com) - As the year 2004 draws to a close and seasonal music fills the air, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the world's largest performing rights organization, today announced an update of its Top 25 most-performed Holiday songs based on the Society's most recent performance data.
Topping the list is "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" written by Robert Wells and the singing great, Mel Torme. The song, written when Torme was 19 and Wells was 22, became a seasonal classic with the release of Nat "King" Cole's 1946 recording.
Entering the Top 25 song list for the first time this year 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, Ashanti and Ruben Studdard. It was also featured on the Soundtrack for the 2002 movie Friday After Next starring Ice Cube.
Two songs on ASCAP's Holiday list also ranked among the top 100 movie songs of all time announced by the American Film Institute earlier this year -- Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn (1942) and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin's from "Meet Me In St. Louis" (1944).
Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board said: "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 all over the world, yet each song retains the original stamp of its creators."
1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) (Mel Torme, Robert Wells)
2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
3. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)
4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
5. White Christmas (Irving Berlin)
6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
7. I'll Be Home For Christmas (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)
8. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks)
9. Little Drummer Boy (Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone)
10. Jingle Bell Rock (Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe)
11. Silver Bells (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)
12. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
13. Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)
14. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (Edward Pola, George Wyle)
15. Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson)
16. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree (Johnny Marks)
17. Frosty The Snowman (Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins)
18. A Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks)
19. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Tommie Connor)
20. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Meredith Willson)
21. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) (Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman)
22. Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)
23. Carol Of The Bells (Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich)
24. Santa Baby (Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer)
25. This Christmas (Donny Hathaway, Nadine McKinnor)
Some facts about the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs:
Oldest songs: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" (both 1934)
Newest Song: "Wonderful Christmastime" (1979)
Songs introduced in motion pictures:
"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)
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."
Most recorded Holiday Song:
"White Christmas" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.
Established in 1914, ASCAP is the world's largest Performing Rights Organization, with nearly 200,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members representing all genres of music. ASCAP is committed to protecting the rights of its members by licensing and collecting royalties for the public performance of their copyrighted works, and then distributing these fees to the Society's members based on performances. ASCAP's Board of Directors is made up solely of writers and publishers, elected by the membership every two years.