The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers, announces the top ASCAP holiday songs of 2018. According to an ASCAP analysis of streaming and terrestrial radio data, the hit classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” written by ASCAP songwriter Walter Afanasieff and pop star Mariah Carey, holds the #1 song position for the second year in a row.
“At this time of year, it is always a joy to hear fresh interpretations of the classic holiday songs that have played such important roles in our lives,” said Paul Williams, award-winning songwriter and ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President. “It really is the most wonderful time of the year and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than by acknowledging the incredibly talented songwriters whose enduring works make the holiday that much more special and meaningful.”
Through its continued popularity, year after year, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has become a yuletide staple on par with the older classics that make up ASCAP’s Top Holiday Songs list, like “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
In the years since its 1994 release, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has topped international charts and been recorded by dozens of artists, and continues to be performed across the globe. “From the very beginning, Mariah and I wanted to create music that would make listeners feel the same sense of nostalgia we all feel around the holiday season. And what started as a simple rock and roll melody on the piano, I’m so pleased to say has topped this list once again and become a holiday classic,” remarks Afanasieff, while discussing the history and process he and Carey used to create the hit holiday single.
“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” an offbeat holiday favorite written by ASCAP members Theo Geisel(Dr. Seuss) and Albert Hague, lands on the ASCAP Top Holiday Songs list for the first time in many years at #15. A recent take on the classic, recorded by famed rapper Tyler, The Creator for the November release of the highly anticipated animated film The Grinch, is a reminder of how these classic songs continue to appeal to new generations.
“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was originally composed for the 1966 cartoon special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the children’s book of the same title by Dr. Seuss. In that broadcast, the song, performed by Thurl Ravenscroft, is the memorable soundtrack for the Grinch’s preparations to disguise himself as Santa, and with his dog, Max, sneak into Whoville to remove the Christmas presents and “stop Christmas from coming.”
This year’s list also shows the continued chart dominance of legendary Songwriters Hall Fame inductee, Johnny Marks. Of the top ten ASCAP holiday songs this year, three of them were written by Marks, whose first single “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was the first holiday song ever to hit the #1 spot on a pop chart in 1947. Marks’s undeniably classic songs are beloved by generations and remain steadfast on the holiday charts year after year.
Below are the top 25 most played holiday songs* for the 2018 season, all written or co-written by ASCAP songwriters and composers. Each song lists ASCAP songwriter credits and copyright date.
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Walter Afanasieff (1994)
- “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Meredith Willson (1951)
- “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Johnny Marks (1964)
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Johnny Marks (1958)
- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year” by Edward Pola and George Wyle (1958)
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Johnny Marks (1949)
- “Last Christmas” by George Michael (1984)
- “Jingle Bell Rock” by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe (1958)
- “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne (1945)
- “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish (1948)
- “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme and Robert Wells (1946)
- “Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)” by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman (1947)
- “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin (1941)
- “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie (1934)
- “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague (1966)
- “Home for the Holidays” by Robert Allen and Al Stillman (1954)
- “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano (1970)
- “Frosty the Snowman” by Steve Nelson and Walter E. Rollins (1950)
- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin (1944)
- “Santa Baby” by Joan Javits (1953)
- “Blue Christmas” by Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson (1949)
- “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24″ by Robert Kine, Paul O’Neill and John Oliva (1995)
- “Underneath the Tree” by Greg Kurstin and Kelly Clarkson (2013)
- “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (1984)
- “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney (1979)
- Based on an analysis of Nielsen streaming and terrestrial radio data from Aug. 6, 2018 to Nov. 18, 2018.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 680,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.