Carol Classics: Top Ten Christmas Carols/Songs

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Christmas songs, we all know them by heart and we all love them. There are literally thousands of them and every year more and more songs are being thrown our way. I’d like to think that the songs of the 20th and 21st century might be regarded as classics to our children  and our grandchildren. So we, at the Torch, sat down with a cup of tea and began to talk about the  carols and songs that we all know and regards as the classics while we were growing up, through that this list was born. This is our top ten Christmas Carols/Songs that we grew up with:

10. All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

It was written in 1944 by second grade music teacher Donald Yetter Gander. The song came around when  Gander asked his students what they wanted for Christmas and noticed that those who answered had a lisp due to them missing their baby teeth. It was written in 30 minutes and was originally recorded by Spike Jones & His City Slickers in 1947.

9. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

This was the musical adaptation of 1939 story of the same name, about a young reindeer who has an odd luminous red nose. He is teased by his fellow peers because of this but is given the chance to prove himself on Christmas Eve when Santa asks him to use his nose to lead his sleigh, to which Rudolph accepts. The story finishes with him being accepted by his peers. The song was written by Johnny Marks and was released in September 1949. It was first sung commercially by Harry Brannon before becoming Gene Antry’s number 1 hit on  Christmas 1949.

8. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Written by Randy Brook, it was originally sung by husband and wife duo Elmo and Patsy Tigsy Shropshire in 1979. The song speaks of a grandmother who gets drunk after drinking too much eggnog, and after forgetting to take her meds and despite warning from her family members, wonders out into a snowstorm, is run over by Santa Claus and is killed. The song ends saying that the family had Christmas dinner in mourning and warns listeners that Santa Claus is an unfit driver and shouldn’t have a driver’s license.

7. Jingle Bells

One of the best known and commonly sung Christmas carols, it was written by composer James Lord Pierpont in 1850. It is now in the public domain, there are two versions of the song, the one we know and the original lyrics from 1857.

6. Noel ( The First Noel)

This is a Traditional Christmas song that emerged from the 18th Century. The Word Noel is French for Christmas. It is said to be of  Cornish origin and was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern in 1823. It was also edited and published in Hymns and Carols  by British Author Davis Gilbert in 1830. There are different versions to the song, today we sing a four-part hymn that was created in 1871 by English composer John Stainer. There are three versions, New English (created by Stainer), Cornish and the American version.

5. Deck The Halls

Is a Welsh Carol that originated in the 16th Century. It first appeared in Welsh Melodies by John Thomas  and was written in Welsh and in English.

4. Here Come Santa Claus

Is a Christmas Song written by American performer  Gene Autry and composer  Oakley Haldeman. antry was inspired to make this song while riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade when a spectator began to yell  out ‘Here Come Santa Claus’. In 1957 Elvis  Presley Recorded his own version for his Christmas Album.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The earliest known recording was made by Harry Reser and his band in 1934. It was however first sung on radio on Eddie Cantor’s radio show earlier that year. The song was so popular that the very next day, over 100 000 copies of the sheet music was ordered and before Christmas that year, over 400 000 copies had been sold. It was the most popular song of the decade and held it’s record in sales numbers until the mid-40’s.

2. Away in a Manger

Is A Christmas carol that was first published in 1885, in Britain it is one of the most popular Carols. It first appeared as two verses in an Evangelical Sunday School Hymn book in 1885. It was mainly published in Church Hymns. It was said that the lyrics were created by German Protestant reformer Martin Luther but further research into that matter as said that was not true.

1.  Carol Of the Bells.

was originally a lyrical rewrite of the Ukrainian folk song Shchedryk, and was written by Peter J. Wilhousky from the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the 1930’s. There are two popular versions out there, a second one made popular by Minna Luice Hohman in 1947 with  a more nativity-inspired set of lyrics. The original was sung around New Years in Ukraine Pre-Christianity and was therefore sung around April, but since the Christianisation of Ukraine, they too sing it around Christmas time. Even though the lyrics are licensed under copyright laws, the musical composition is royalty and copyright free, which is the main reason it can be heard in an instrumental version in so many movies.

Like we said, there are thousands of Christmas songs and carols, If I  had it my way, ‘Holiday’s Coming’ from the Coca Cola Advert would be number one every time, alas it wasn’t. So, what are your favourite Christmas songs?

(Thanks to Cookie and Lekkie, for helping us out with this list!)

0 thoughts on “Carol Classics: Top Ten Christmas Carols/Songs

  1. If it was up to me, I’d substitute “Silent night” for “Grandma Got Run Over bu a Reindeer” and “Hark the Herald angels” for “All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”.

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