All-Time Great Christmas Songs
One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to listen to Christmas music. Whether you’re singing carols to the neighbors, enjoying a Christmas CD while baking those delicious cookies, or tuning KNUE's holiday selection while wrapping presents, Christmas music is infectious. You just can’t help but to sing along.
“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
The story of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was written in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward department stores, as a promotional gift for the store’s customers. The stores had bought and distributed coloring books every Christmas and saw writing their own story as a way to save money.
“Please Come Home For Christmas”
Please Come Home for Christmas is a Christmas song, released in 1960, by the American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown. Hitting Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in December 1961, the tune Brown co-wrote with Gene Redd peaked at position number 76. It appeared on the Christmas Singles chart for nine seasons, hitting number 1 in 1972.
Wonderful Christmastime is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It is one of McCartney’s best known solo songs, and it enjoys significant Christmas time popularity in the UK and other English-speaking countries. The notable synthesizer riff was played on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, which was also used on Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” and the Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes.”
This rendition of White Christmas was recorded by Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters in 1953. Their recording of the song peaked at number 2 on Billboard’s R&B chart in December 1954. The Christmas song received a boost in the early 1990s, when it was prominently featured in the film Home Alone during a scene in which the lead character Kevin is applying his father’s aftershave while lip syncing the lyrics.
“Holly Jolly Christmas”
This song was written by songwriter Johnny Marks, who had already written the Christmas classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, a song that proved so popular the stop-motion animators at Rankin-Bass created a half-hour TV special to expand on the song. Ives was brought in for star power, to play the banjo-playing host and narrator, Sam the Snowman, and take over several songs originally slated for the character of Yukon Cornelius.
“The Christmas Song”
Mel Torme and Bob Wells were songwriting partners, and used to take turns going over to each others homes to write songs. One particularly hot July day, Mel drove over to Bob’s house in Teluca Lake, Ca., and when he got there he walked into the house, couldn’t find Bob, but found a spiral note pad of paper with some words on it-
“All I Want For Christmas Is You”
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” was featured on Mariah Carey’s hit 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas. In the past decade the song has quickly become a contemporary holiday standard selling over 4 million copies around the world.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is a popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Eddie Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album.
“Winter Wonderland” is a Christmas time pop standard written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (composer) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Ray Charles recorded this version of “Winter Wonderland” in 1985 and is featured on The Spirit of Christmas album.
“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, also known as “Let It Snow”, is a song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in 1945. It was written in July 1945 in Hollywood, California during one of the hottest days on record.
Originally written in German as Stille Nacht by Josef Mohr (1792-1848), an Austrian priest. The tune was composed by Franz X. Gruber (1787-1863), an organist and school teacher. This Christmas carol was first performed at the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria on Christmas day 1818.
Originally recorded in 1950 by Ernest Tubb, Elvis Presley recorded this song in 1957 for his Elvis’ Christmas Album. It wasn’t released as a single until 1964, when in the US it was backed with “Wooden Heart” from Elvis’ soundtrack to his film G.I. Blues, but from 1965 and on, it was backed with “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”