There are a lot of popular and famous everlasting Christmas songs, and at this time of the year you always listen to them with joy and a cheerful state of mind. Take for instance “Silent Night” (German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) which is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria and it was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. The song has been recorded by a large number of singers from every music genre. The version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time.
The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song “Stille Nacht” in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region, where Joseph had worked as a co-adjutor. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass. Together they performed the new carol during the mass on the night of 24 December.
“Silent Night Holy Night All is calm All is bright Round yon virgin Mother and child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace Sleep in heavenly peace Silent Night Holy Night”
Originally “Christmas carols” referred to a piece of vocal music in carol form whose lyrics were based on the theme of Christmas or the Christmas season. Many traditional Christmas carols focus on the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, while others celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas that range from the 25 December to 5 January. As a result, many Christmas Carols can be related to St Stephen’s Day (26 December), St John’s Day (27 December), Feast of Holy Innocents (28 December), St Sylvester’s Day (31st December), and the Epiphany. Examples of this are We Three Kings (an Epiphany song), and Good King Wenceslas (a carol for St. Stephen’s Day).
Nonetheless, some Christmas Carols, both religious and secular, now regarded as Christmas songs have become associated with the Christmas season even though the lyrics may not specifically refer to Christmas – for example, Deck the Halls (a pagan Yuletide drinking song) and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (an Advent chant). Other Christmas songs focus on more secular Christmas themes, such as winter scenes, family gatherings, and Santa Claus (Jingle Bells, O Christmas Tree, Home for the Holidays, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, etc.).
Among carols one of the best is for sure “Carol of the Bells” which is a popular Christmas carol composed by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914 with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on a Ukrainian folk chant called “Shchedryk”. Wilhousky’s lyrics are copyrighted, although the original musical composition is not. The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif. It has been arranged many times for different genres, styles of singing and settings and has been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, metal, jazz, country music, rock, and pop. The piece has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.
But in more recent times a lot of new songs were born and they absolutely deserve to be remembered and sung, so you can find the most famous of them listed below. As far as I am concerned the one I prefer is – All I Want for Christmas Is You – by Mariah Carey because it is very moving, poetical and exciting and what’s more expresses one of our inner deepest emotional desire.
“I don’t want a lot for Christmas There’s just one thing I need I don’t care about presents Underneath the Christmas tree I just want you for my own More than you could ever know Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you.”
Another very nice and amusing Christmas song that is also a rock one is certainly “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit with orders for 500,000 copies of sheet music and more than 30,000 records sold within 24 hours. The song has been recorded by over 200 artists, including The Crystals, Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and The Jackson 5.
“You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town He’s making a list And checking it twice; Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice Santa Claus is coming to town”
Here are now a list of fifty very famous Christmas Songs:
1) “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl
2) “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
3) “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
4) “Last Christmas” – Wham!
5) “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Harry Reser
6) “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Bing Crosby
7) “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” – John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir
8) “Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney
9) “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Wizzard
10) “Merry Xmas Everybody” – Slade
11) “Merry Christmas Everyone” – Shakin’ Stevens
12) “Sleigh Ride” – Leroy Anderson
13) “Stay Another Day” – East 17
14)”Driving Home For Christmas” – Chris Rea
15) “Rockin Around The Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee
16) “Step Into Christmas” – Elton John
17) “2000 Miles” – The Pretenders
18) “I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter” – Connie Francis / Gabriella Cilmi
19) “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love
20) “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” – Vaughn Monroe/Dean Martin/Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
21) “Stop The Calvary” – Jona Lewie
22) “Frosty The Snowman” – Gene Autry & The Cass Country Boys/Perry Como /Johnny Mathis /Kimberley Locke
23) “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby
24) “I Believe In Father Christmas” – Greg Lake/Toyah Wilcox/Elaine Paige
25) “Christmas Lights” – Coldplay
26) “Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” – The Nat King Cole Trio
27) “Thank God It’s Christmas” – Queen
28) “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year” – Andy Williams
29) “Santa Baby” – Eartha Kitt
30) “Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses
31) “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Frank Sinatra
32) “Please Come Home For Christmas” – Charles Brown, The Eagles, Jon Bon Jovi
33) “Spaceman Came Travelling” – Chris de Burgh
34) “A Winter’s Tale” – David Essex
35) “Lonely This Christmas” – MUD
36) “Cold December Night” – Michael Bublé
37) “Mistletoe And Wine” – Cliff Richard
38) “Merry Christmas” – Bryan Adams
39) “Christmas Time” – Don’t Let The Bells End, The Darkness
40) “Mary’s Boy Child” – Oh My Lord, Boney M
41) “Power Of Love” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
42) “Blue Christmas” – Elvis Presley
43) “When A Child Is Born (Soleado)” – Johnny Mathis
44) “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” – Gene Autry
45) “Winter Wonderland” – Perry Como
46) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Jimmy Boyd
47) “Mary’s Boy Child” – Harry Belafonte
48) “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” – Perry Como & The Fontana Sisters
49) “The Little Drummer Boy” – Harry Simeone Chorale
50) “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” -16th century carol