Billboard magazine annually publishes a separate Holiday Song chart, but this year,
following revised tabulation rules of singles charts, it appears that more vintage
Christmas-themed records than ever are also appearing on the actual Hot 100.
As of the December 15 Pop chart, the following nine singles are listed, some of which date back through the decades!
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU (Walter Afanasieff/Mariah Carey) by Mariah Carey
Pro & Arr: Walter Afanasieff & Mariah Carey (Columbia: 1994)
It proves yet again that this is the most successful contemporary holiday song.
There have been other versions by such as Michael Bublé,Fifth Harmony, the cast of 'Glee'
and even the duet by Justin Bieber & Mariah herself,
yet her 1994 original recording reigns supreme.
THE CHRISTMAS SONG (Merry Christmas To You) (Robert Wells/Mel Tormé) by Nat King Cole
Cond: Ralph Carmichael/Pro: Lee Gillette (Capitol: 1961).
Also sub-titled "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire", the song was written and in 1945
and was successfully released by The King Cole Trio on Capitol in 1946.
That was of course recorded only in mono but it’s the 1961 stereo version is the one that is most played today.
A revival by Christina Aguilera on RCA was a Top 20 Pop hit in 1999
and the duet by Justin Bieber Featuring Usher on Schoolboy hit the Hot 100 in 2011.
The song also charted R&B by Toni Braxton and by Brian McKnight
and Country by Reba McEntire, by Trace Adkins, by Martina McBride and by Joe Nichols.
In addition a version by Alexander O'Neal charted in the UK in 1988.
A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS (Johnny Marks) by Burl Ives
Pro: Milt Gabler (Decca: 1964)
Originally featured in the animated TV production "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".
Country versions charted in more recent years by Alan Jackson in '98 and by Lady Antebellum in 2013.
In the UK, a revival by Michael Bublé charted in 2015.
IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (George Wyle/Edward Pola) by Andy Williams
Arr: Johnny Mandel Pro: Robert Mersey (Columbia: 1963)
Originally a track on 'The Andy Williams Christmas Album' in ‘63, it was not initially issued as a single.
The recording has gained popularity in later years partly through it being featured on the soundbed of TV commercials.
Of versions recorded by other artists, it was Garth Brooks whose single was a Country charter in 2000.
Andy's original charted in the UK in '07.
JINGLE BELL ROCK (Joe Beal/Jim Boothe) by Bobby Helms
Pro: Owen Bradley (Decca: 1957).
In addition to its initial Hot 100 success, Bobby Helms' single also charted Country in '57.
Bobby's record often returned to the pop singles charts in later years as well as a 1961 duet version by
Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker on Cameo.
Additional Country hit versions were by George Strait in 2000, by Aaron Tippin in '02 and by Rascal Flatts in '09.
Two cover versions charted in the UK, one by Max Bygraves in 1959 and the Chubby Checker/Bobby Rydell single in '62, while Bobby Helms' original was a UK hit in 201
LAST CHRISTMAS (George Michael) by Wham!
Arr & Pro: George Michael (UK Epic: 1984)
This dates back to when George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley recorded together as Wham!
Their single "Last Christmas" first charted in the UK in 1984.
The record didn't hit the Hot 100 here until 1997.
The Cast of Glee on Fox took the song into the Hot 100 in 2009.
Subsequent UK charted versions were by Whigfield (in '95),
Alien Voices Featuring The Three Degrees ('98), Le Groove Featuring Gwen Dickey ('98),
BTH (2001), Crazy Frog (2006) and Ariana Grande in 2013.
LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) by Dean Martin
Orch cond: Gus Levene Pro: Lee Gillette (Capitol: 1959).
Dean's recording of LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! was a track on his 1959 album "A Winter Romance".
He re-recorded the song with Jimmy Bowen producing on his LP "The Dean Martin Christmas Album" on Reprise in '66. Billboard is listing the Capitol version but whichever one it is, this is the very first time that LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! by Dean Martin has appeared on the Billboard Hot 100!
Song was initially a hit in 1946 by four different artists:
Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra (Vocal by Vaughn Monroe & The Norton Sisters) on Victor,
Woody Herman & His Orchestra (Vocal by Woody) on Columbia,
Connee Boswell with Russ Morgan & His Orchestra on Decca
and Bob Crosby & His Orchestra (Vocal by Bob) on ARA.
Country hit versions have included Richochet in 1996 thru 2000,
Martina McBride (1999 & 2000), George Strait ('99), Joe Nichols ('05) and Toby Keith in '08.
Dean Martin's version charted in the UK in '07.
ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE (Johnny Marks) by Brenda Lee
Pro: Owen Bradley (Decca: 1958) Brenda Lee's single was first a hit in 1960.
In later years, the song provided Country sellers for Alabama in 2000,
LeAnn Rimes in '05 and Toby Keith in '07.
In the UK, Brenda Lee's record first charted in '62 followed by revivals by The Jets in '83 and Mel & Kim in '87.
RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (Johnny Marks) by Gene Autry & The Pinafore
Pro: Art Satherley (Columbia: 1949)
Re-recorded by Gene Autry in 1957.
The song also charted by Spike Jones & His City Slickers feat. Rudolph & The Reindeers (RCA Victor: 1950),
Bing Crosby with The Jud Conlon Rhythmaires and John Scott Trotter & His Orchestra (Decca: 1950),
David Seville & The Chipmunks (Liberty: 1960) and The Melodeers (Studio: 1960).
The Spike Jones version contained an additional lyrical credit to Eddie Maxwell.
The song was also an R&B hit in 1956 by The Cadillacs on Josie.
In the UK, both Bing Crosby's version and a recording by local singer Donald Peers were big sellers in 1950.
Alan Jackson scored a minor Country hit with the song in '9
Suddenly this year, Frank Loesser's 1944 composition BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE has been banned by certain radio stations here after some folks deemed that the lyric about a flirting couple is inappropriate in today's #MeToo world.
Here's a link:
to how the song was originally featured from two different points of view in MGM's 1949 film "Neptune's Daughter"
...the first couple you see and hear is Richardo Montalban and Esther Williams
and the second twosome is Betty Garrett and Red Skelton.
BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE won the Best Song Oscar in 1949.
That year, three separate duet recordings of the song were major successes on the hit parade,
by Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting on Capitol, Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark on Columbia
and Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan on Decca.
Ray Charles & Betty Carter revived the song on ABC-Paramount in '62 as did The cast of 'Glee' on Fox in 2010.
Country versions included Dean Martin & Martina McBride on a doctored recording on Capitol in 2006
and also Willie Nelson & Norah Jones on Blue Note three years later.
In addition, a 1999 revival by Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews was a UK hit. The version that is currently on Billboard's Holiday 100 is by Dean Martin, released in 1959 on Capitol.
The legendary Ohio-born jazz and pop song stylist Nancy Wilson died in California on Thursday, aged 81.
She is particularly remembered for her Grammy-winning R&B recording of the song
(You Don't Know) HOW GLAD I AM which reached #11 on Billboard's Hot 100 in mid-August, 1964.
With Orchestra arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson, the record on Capitol was produced by Dave Cavanaugh,
who also helmed not only Nancy's "How Glad I Am" album but also two other of her major selling LP's,
"Today, Tomorrow, Forever" and "Today My Way".
Her first charted LP "Nancy Wilson/Cannoball Adderley" in '62 was produced by Tom Morgan
who was also her recording manager for her memorable albums "Broadway My Way", "Hollywood My Way"
and "Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues".
Another standout LP was Nancy's collaboration with George Shearing titled "The Swingin's Mutual!"
issued on Capitol in '61.
Among her other standout singles were I WANNA BE WITH YOU (Lee Adams/Charles Strouse)
from the Broadway show "Golden Boy" (Capitol: '64),
her version of Stevie Wonder's UPTIGHT (Everything's Alright)
(co-written by Stevie with Henry Cosby and Sylvia Moy) (Capitol: '65)
and the Thom Bell/Linda Creed ballad YOU'RE AS RIGHT AS RAIN on Capitol in '74.
In concert and on her albums, Nancy styled both standard and contemporary compositions
with her sensual, passionate and jazz-influenced vocals.
(You Don't Know) HOW GLAD I AM was written by Jimmy Williams and Larry Harrison
who also wrote SITTING IN THE PARK, a major #4 R&B hit for Billy Stewart on Chess in '65.
Their other songs included I CAN'T BREAK THE NEWS TO MYSELF recorded by Ben E. King on Atco in '65
and LOST LOVE by The Shirelles on Scepter in '64.
Here’s a small group of lesser known holiday-themed records from yesteryear
that might also put you in the Christmas spirit…
So click on the links and I hope you enjoy…
IT DOESN'T OFTEN SNOW AT CHRISTMAS (Neil Tennant/Chris Lowe) by Pet Shop Boys
Pro: Pet Shop Boys (UK Parlophone: 1997)
This track was a fan club single in ’97 and a revised version was included two years later on their “Christmas” EP.
'ZAT YOU, SANTA CLAUS? (Jack Fox) by Louis Armstrong & The Commanders
Arr & Cond: Toots Camarata (Decca: 1953)
Among The Commanders were trumpeter Billy Butterfield and pianist Bernie Leighton.
SWINGIN' THEM JINGLE BELLS (John Hancock) by Fats Waller & His Rhythm (Victor: 1936) https://youtu.be/3CsbSSB1IDw
Recorded in Chicago in November '36, keyboard meister Fats Waller actually cut two versions of this song,
one vocal (as attached) and the other was totally instrumental.
CHRISTMAS DATE BOOGIE (Joe Turner)
by Joe Turner's Orchestra w/Pete Johnson at the '88' (Down Beat: 1948)
Blues singer Joe Turner together with the outstanding boogie woogie pianist Pete Johnson.
WHAT WILL SANTA CLAUS SAY (When He Finds Everybody Swingin')
(Louis Prima) by Louis Prima (Vocalion: 1936)
When Louis recorded this, he'd had two big hits with THE LADY IN RED (Mort Dixon/Allie Wrubel)
and IN A LITTLE GYPSY TEA ROOM (Edgar Leslie/Joe Burke).
SNOWBOUND (Joan Eddy/Carl Stevens) by The Del Vikings w/Carl Stevens & His Orchestra (Mercury: 1957)
As The Dell-Vikings, they'd scored with the doo-wop classic COME GO WITH ME
(written by group member Clarence Quick) on Dot earlier in '57
and this track featured the same lead singer, Norman Wright.
And here's one to make you smile...
CHRISTMAS IN JAIL (Jack Hoffman/Bebe Blake) by The Youngsters (Empire: 1956)
"If you enjoyed this week's edition of The Door To Yesterday,
there's more where that came from!"