Most well-known singers discovered early in their careers that you need to record several Christmas albums (or singles). That's because your songs are guaranteed to be played regularly during the holidays — no questions asked.
What's your favorite holiday hit? If you stop and think about all the great Christmas releases, there are a lot to choose from. One of the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) hits is "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby. It was first released in 1942. While it was never No. 1 on the earliest Billboard charts, it did make it to No. 7 in 1955, following the release of the movie of the same title the year before.
It was a Top 40 hit again finishing at No. 34 in 1957, No. 26 in 1960, No. 12 in 1961, and No. 38 in 1962. I can't find another song where the same artist hit the charts that many times. But that's the magic of having a great Christmas song during the holidays.
One of my all-time favorites is "I'll Be Home For Christmas." It was written from the perspective of a soldier in World War II. After listing his wishes for his trip home for the holidays, the song ends on a melancholy note with the line, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." It always makes me feel like I'm right there with the soldier.
Another hit regularly heard during the holidays is pure rock 'n' roll...by Brenda Lee. The year was 1960 and the song was "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." This holiday favorite made it to No. 14 in 1960 on the Billboard Top 40 pop chart. It was co-written with Dub Albritton, who collaborated with Brenda Lee on many on her long list of hits from the early '60s.
The Ronnettes, The Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans released a classic Christmas rock album, "A Christmas Gift For You — from Phil Spector," the album's producer who also created the "wall of sound." The three groups recorded "Sleigh Ride," "Frosty the Snowman," "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and many more. Your favorite oldies station and streaming service will have these hits for sure. Check 'em out this year. They'll get your foot tapping.
There were some excellent Christmas tunes that were not traditional holiday hits. Take, for instance, the Carpenters song, "Merry Christmas, Darling." The melody is soft and the harmonies are terrific — as only Richard and Karen Carpenter could have created.
As you continue to listen to great holiday tunes you may find yourself in the presence of the smooth stylings of the king, Elvis Presley. For this hit you'll have to go way back in the list of great Christmas songs: "Blue Christmas." It was on the "Elvis' Christmas Album" in 1957. If you're one of the folks who have pulled out the turntable and are again enjoying the soft, full sound of LPs, you can pick up the Elvis Christmas album online with prices ranging from $17.38 to $149.99 depending on how badly you dig Elvis. That last price ($149.99) means you dig Elvis the most.
Probably the biggest novelty Christmas hit was released in 1979. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is one of the most popular seasonal songs ever released. It was written by Randy Brooks and recorded by a Texas veterinarian Dr. Elmo Shropshire and his wife Patsy. The song lays out the sad tale of how grandma had one too many eggnogs and had a fatal encounter with Santa and his reindeer. In case you were wondering, the song made it to No. 1 on the 1985 Billboard's Christmas Singles chart and again in 2012.
Do you remember the Chipmunks with David Seville? Simon, Theodore and the irrepressible Alvin — they were all constantly getting into trouble with their friend David. They were huge hits back in the '60s with records and their own TV show. Just like so many of the old recordings, Alvin and his buddies are now available on vinyl LPs. "Christmas With The Chipmunks" sells for $18.99 (or thereabouts) at several websites.
And finally, I would be remiss in this roundup of some of the most popular Christmas songs, if I did not include the song that is promoted as being the biggest selling song of all time (BSOAT). Know which holiday tune I'm referring to? It was released in 1994 and is on track to go to No.1 on the Billboard chart this year! It's Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" co-written with Walter Afanasieff, who has a long list of hits with Carey.
Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas with your favorite radio station! They only come around once a year, so enjoy them while you can!