As my look at the 15 greatest Christmas recordings of all-time continues, we start looking at some songs that not only have become holiday favorites, but also chart successes and popular radio hits during the Christmas season.
So, let’s take a look at the top 10.
10. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Perry Como
For many years, one of the highlights of the Christmas season was Perry Como’s annual television special. Como, a gifted vocalist and popular personality, recorded "It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" in 1951. Twenty years later, Johnny Mathis put his touch to the song. Later, it was used on the motion picture soundtrack to Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. However, Como’s version is tops.
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
As an actress, Judy Garland had the unbelievable ability to make each role look effortless while playing her part superbly. In the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis, she delivered the sentimental "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Due to the timely nature of the movie and the song, it served as a comfort to many American soldiers during World War II. Other performers who have recorded "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" include Frank Sinatra and James Taylor, but Garland’s original cut is an absolute gem.
8. Frosty the Snowman - Gene Autry
Known as the ‘The Singing Cowboy,’ Gene Autry was far more than just a star of the silver screen. He was an icon to many. His 1950 rendition of "Frosty the Snowman" is by far the most popular and most successful version of the childhood favorite. Additionally, the song reach #7 on the singles charts. Countless recordings of this song have followed. In 1969, Autry’s classic tune was made into an animated television special that remains a yearly favorite more than four decades later.
7. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
Andy Williams, who died earlier this year, was a very beloved vocalist. In all, Williams recorded eight Christmas albums. Plus, he was often seen on television during the Christmas season. With such a deep catalog of holiday tracks, it could be difficult selecting his best, but "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is always the one that first enters my mind.
6. The Little Drummer Boy - The Harry Simeone Chorale
Peaking at #13 on the singles charts in 1958, "The Little Drummer Boy" by the Harry Simeone Chorale is one of the smoothest arranged pieces of music of all time. Legend has it that the song’s origin goes back to Czechoslovakia. It was originally titled "The Carol of the Drum." In 1941, Katherine Davis translated it to English. The tune has been covered numerous times by many popular artists but the lush version by the Harry Simeone Chorale is the pick of the litter.
Next week, the list concludes with the unveiling of the top five greatest Christmas recordings.
Beebe writer Charles Haymes is a member of both the Country Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.