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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Top 40 Best Christmas Songs of All Time

When I first wrote the "top Christmas songs of all time" theme in 2009, I had 30 of the best--at least according to my informed opinion. I remember at the time thinking to myself that eventually I would have to expand that list. There are just too many excellent Christmas songs that have come along to exclude from such a list.

So, this year "the top 30" has expanded to "the top 40 best Christmas songs of all time." You will thus find 10 songs on the list that I have never included before.

When it comes to Christmas music these are some 'must-haves' for your collection. I'm sure I am going to inadvertently leave out a few, but in my view this list contains the very best Christmas music ever recorded, most of which is still available from various retail and online sources.

So, let's get to it...the best Christmas music of all time.

1. (Tie) 'O Holy Night' by Andy Williams, recorded 1965.
'Ave Maria' (Schubert version) by Perry Como, recorded in 1957, updated version 1983.

2. Handel's 'Messiah' recorded by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 1970.

3. 'The Little Drummer Boy' original version, Harry Simeon Chorale, 1950s

4. 'Mary's Boy Child' by Evie Tournquist, 1976.

5. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' recorded a capella, The Cathedral Quartet, 1985.

6. (Tie) 'I'll Be Home For Christmas,' The Florida Boys, 2000
'I'll Be Home For Christmas' by Perry Como

7. (Tie) 'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby
'White Christmas' by the Florida Boys featuring baritone Glen Allred.

8. 'Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire' by Nat King Cole

9. 'Mary, Did You Know?' by the Gaither Vocal Band, featuring Mark Lowry.

10. 'Heaven's Child' by The Florida Boys, 2000.

11. (Tie) 'Sleigh Ride' by Amy Grant
'Sleigh Ride' by Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops

12. 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' by Frank Sinatra

13. 'Silent Night' recorded a capella, The Florida Boys, 2000

14. 'The Bells of St. Mary's' by Bing Crosby

15. 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' by Bing Crosby

16. 'There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays' by Perry Como

17. 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' by Re'Generation, 1975

18. 'Jesu Bambino' by Re'Generation, 1975

19. 'I Wonder as I Wander' by Perry Como

20. 'Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas' by Burl Ives

21. 'What Child Is This?' by the Harry Simeon Chorale

22. 'Jolly Old St. Nicholas' by the Ray Conniff Singers

23. 'Go Tell It On the Mountain' by the Harry Simeon Chorale

24. 'O Come All Ye Faithful' by Nat King Cole

25. 'Beautiful Star of Bethlehem' by Flatt and Scruggs

26. 'Frosty the Snowman' by Perry Como

27. 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' by Gene Autry

28. 'Christ is Born' by Perry Como

29. 'Happy Holidays/It's the Holiday Season'--Andy Williams

30. 'Winter Wonderland' by Johnny Mathis

31. 'Ave Maria' (Bach version) by Celtic Woman or Luciano Pavarotti

32. 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year' by Andy Williams

33. 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' by Brenda Lee

34. 'Blue Christmas' by Elvis Pressley

35. 'Christmas Without You' by Dolly Parton

36. 'The Holly and the Ivy' by the Norman Lugoff Choir

37. 'Away in a Manger' by Lawrence Welk Band and Chorus

38. 'Carol of the Bells' by the Robert Shaw Chorale

39. 'Coventry Carol' by the Robert Shaw Chorale

40. 'Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella' by the Robert Shaw Chorale

I will add that if you can find anything by the Robert Shaw Chorale, get it. This world-renown choral group, under the direction of the quintessential maestro Robert Shaw, produced some of the finest music ever recorded, most of it a capella. Several of his songs are listed above, but in reality every single thing ever recorded by Shaw is excellent.

Another note is that the album from which came a good many of the songs on the list, a Florida Boys Christmas from 2000, may be out of circulation. I know that it became very hard to find only a couple of years after its release due to its popularity. I don't think it is available new. But, you may find some used copies on eBay. It is worth having. In fact, it is worth the price of the entire recording just to have Glen Allred's rendition of 'White Christmas.'


nullobject said...

That would be "ROCKIN' around the Christmas tree. Not WALKING.

Welshman said...

Oh, my. Don't know why I would have done that, other than now I can only walk around it. Rockin' is a thing of a past. lol